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

Registrations are now open for the Social Science Research Funding and Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific Regional Summit from 9-10 May 2024 in Bangkok Thailand.


The Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils (AASSREC) is an organisation of national social science research councils, academies, and institutes committed to the promotion of regional cooperation in the field of social sciences among Asia-Pacific countries. Set up in 1973 to help promote the social sciences in the region and to create an Asian identity for the social sciences, AASSREC seeks to promote: collaborative research among scholars in the region; the exchange of scholarly publications and information among Asian social science institutions and individuals, and exchange visits among researchers and scholars from its member-countries.

AASSREC’s activities include: the conduct of biennial general conferences, the conduct of collaborative research programs on specific problems of common interest to Asia-Pacific countries, and the assessment of trends in social science research in the Asia-Pacific region.

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

The meeting is co-hosted by AASSREC and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and will focus 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 is being convened by AASSREC through its ‘Boosting Social Sciences and their Contribution to Better Lives across the Indo-Pacific’ program, in partnership with the Global Development Network (GDN) and supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The meeting will feature keynote speakers, workshop and panel sessions, a networking dinner, and opportunities for participants to share their own experiences and practices with stakeholder organisations across the region. Between 60 and 80 representatives from over 20 countries are expected to attend.

Why is this summit being called?

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 a significant growth over the past two decades in R&D 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 for sharing of 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 will bring 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 should attend?

• 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 will feature an array of international speakers and provide opportunities for small group discussion and networking.

Day one: Thursday 9 May

Plenary Welcome address
Overview of the Boosting Social Sciences across the Indo-Pacific program
Decoding Social Science Systems: Learning and Supporting Transformative Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific. Chaired by Francesco Obino, GDN Director of Programs. Speakers will explore:


  • Funding diverse collaboration in an evolving research landscape
  • Gaps in evidence and data affecting funding work.
  • The role of funders in debates about research
Panel session one Innovation, impact and translation
This session will tackle the growing pressure on research funders to fund ‘more than just research’, and its implications for social sciences in the Asia-Pacific. Speakers will explore:


  • Evaluating research outcomes and impacts
  • Balancing blue-sky and mission-led research
  • Supporting capacity building
  • Policy impact by design 
  • Non-research roles in research projects
Small group discussion Best practice innovation, impact and translation
Panel session two Funding Social Science Research in the Indo-Pacific
The session will explore the impact of changing demands and research practices on funders internal processes. Discussion points include:


  • Research ethics
  • Managing use and uptake of ChatGPT and other AI tools
  • Supporting open access/open research
  • Peer review
Small group discussion Funding challenges and innovation in funding processes and tools
Plenary Research funding for impact – global experiences
Networking Summit Dinner

Day two: Friday 10 May

Plenary Welcome address
Funder-to-funder collaborations in an uneven world: lessons learned from global experiments
Participant Survey

Social science research priorities for the Indo-Pacific

Participant survey

Panel session three

Collaborating with impact
This session will explore:

  • Models of successful collaboration
  • Public-private and philanthropic partnerships
  • Bi-lateral and multi-lateral joint action programs
  • Research and policy forums
Small group discussion

Best practice and new opportunities for collaboration

Panel session four

Building a community of practice through AASSREC
Speakers will reflect on the discussions had during the summit including:

  • Country-level experiments and initiatives that have emerged during the summit as desirable and scalable
  • Thematic priorities that have gathered consensus (also based on on-site survey results)
  • Common aspirations for social science research funding in the region
Small group discussion Small groups discuss topics above to validate a common position on each
Plenary Next steps for social sciences in Asia
Closing address


Invitations to attend

Note that this summit is invitation only, with identified organisations invited to nominate up to three representatives to attend. AASSREC also welcomes suggestions for other invitees with an interest in social science research funding in the Indo-Pacific region. To discuss potential additional invitations, please contact

Visa support and bursaries

AASSREC and NRCT will assist with invitation letters for visa purposes for any registered attendee. While there is no cost to attend the summit or the networking dinner, invited delegates are requested to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. AASSREC has a limited number of bursaries (flights, accommodation, and airport transfers) available to enable the participation of delegates who require financial support. Priority for bursaries will be given to representatives of organisations in low-income countries. Individuals seeking a bursary to support attendance should complete the respective section of the online registration form by 8 March 2024.


The Regional Summit will be held in Siam Hall at the Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai, Bangkok, Thailand. The Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai will provide a special accommodation rate, subject to availability, for registered attendees who book accommodation on or before 8 April 2024 (THB 4900 per night for single occupancy for a Superior Panorama room and THB 5100 per night for double occupancy).  A link to access the discounted rate will be provided to registered attendees.  Accommodation can also be booked directly via the Eastin Grand Hotel Phayathai website. Attendees are also welcome to book accommodation at another hotel in Bangkok.


Thanks to generous funding from the IDRC, registration for this event is free of charge. Complimentary registration includes all catering for attendees, as well as an invitation to a networking dinner on Thursday 9 May 2024. However, please be aware that attendees are responsible for covering their own travel and accommodation expenses.

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

Delegate registrations from invited organisations must be received by 18 April 2024.
Individuals seeking a bursary to support attendance must register and apply by 8 March 2024.


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