Regional Summit: Social Science Funding and Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific

From 9-10 May 2024, the Regional Summit for Social Science Funding and Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific Regional Summit was held at the Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai, Bangkok Thailand.

Regional Summit for Social Science Funding and Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific

The meeting was co-hosted by AASSREC and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and focused on three key themes:

1. Identifying opportunities for bilateral and multilateral collaboration and funding calls, including discussion of innovation in program design, and shared research assessment, funding and impact evaluation challenges.

2. Discussing opportunities to leverage social science research funding and expertise to achieve better outcomes through policy engagement and research translation.

3. Determining priorities for AASSREC’s new Indo-Pacific social science funding program.

This meeting was being convened by AASSREC through its ‘Boosting Social Sciences and their Contribution to Better Lives across the Indo-Pacific’ program, in partnership UNESCO and the Global Development Network (GDN), and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The meeting featured keynote speakers, workshop and panel sessions, a networking dinner and opportunities for participants to share their experiences and practices with stakeholder organisations across the region. Over 90 representatives from more than 20 countries attended.

Why was this summit convened?

The Indo-Pacific is home to 60% of the world’s population and a growing percentage of global economic activity. It has the greatest linguistic, political, and religious diversity on Earth; two-thirds of the world’s Indigenous peoples, and it faces significant social challenges relating to climate change, security, migration, health, rights and equality.

With rapidly developing regional economies and increasing integration into global knowledge networks, the Indo-Pacific has seen significant growth over the past two decades in research and development activity. Thousands of new and expanded research centres and institutions have been developed or re-formed around national priorities, and tens of thousands of new publication outlets have been created to share scholarly work. However, development of social science research systems has been marginal in this process and has lacked uniformity and coordination across the region.

This regional summit brought together key social science stakeholders–researchers, research funders, research councils and policy makers–for a future-focused discussion about promoting collaboration, increasing investment and targeting resources to boost social science research capacity and enhance research impact.

Who attended?

• Senior representatives of general and social science research funding bodies with a focus or interest in the Indo-Pacific region

• Senior executives of regional research organisations (universities, private-sector agencies, public policy think-tanks, regional development organisations and other non-profits)

• Senior representatives of general and social science academies and councils

• Policy makers with an interest in accessing and optimising evidence to inform public policy.

Program Overview

Each day featured an array of international speakers and provided opportunities for small group discussion and networking.

Invitations to attend

This summit was by invitation only, with identified organisations invited to nominate up to three representatives to attend. AASSREC also welcomed suggestions for other invitees with an interest in social science research funding in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Visa support and bursaries

AASSREC and NRCT assisted with invitation letters for visa purposes for registered attendees. While there was no cost to attend the summit or the networking dinner, invited delegates were requested to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. AASSREC had a limited number of bursaries (flights, accommodation, and airport transfers) available to enable the participation of delegates who required financial support. Priority for bursaries was given to representatives of organisations in low-income countries.


The Regional Summit was held in Siam Hall at the Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai, Bangkok, Thailand. 


Thanks to generous funding from the IDRC, registration for this event was free of charge. Complimentary registration included all catering for attendees and an invitation to a networking dinner on Thursday 9 May 2024. 

Limited bursaries were available to selected attendees to assist with travel and accommodation costs. 


For further information about the Regional Summit please contact the AASSREC Secretariat via email: or phone: +61 2 6249 1788.