Dr Nofri: Opening New Doors of Opportunities Through ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellowship Programme

It has been 3 years since Dr Nofri Yenita Dahlan became one of the fellows of 2015/2016 ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Programme from Malaysia. Her appointment as a fellow focusing on Energy Security was an inspired choice as at that time she played key role in Malaysia Energy Efficiency and Solar Thermal Application, a national initiative that aims to reduce fossil CO2 emissions by promoting and demonstrating energy efficiency improvements and solar thermal technology utilisation in industry.

 

Known as a very active and passionate fellow, she coordinated the first national stakeholder workshop for Malaysia Energy Efficiency and Solar Thermal Application (MAEESTA) project in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia and reviewed the existing national policies to identify solar thermal industry gap and develop a policy brief. Besides that, she was also involved in a series of awareness programmes and published a journal of “A Review of Solar Thermal Technology and its Application in Industrial Process Heating” in a journal produced by Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM). “It is my belief that the vast potential thermal energy savings can be achieved as the industrial sector uses 30% of the total energy consumption in Malaysia, with more than 60% of this industrial energy from fossil fuel is used for heating requirement,” said Dr. Nofri.

 

The Benefits of the Fellowship

The 1-year fellowship programme opened doors to countless competency building opportunities for Dr Nofri. The training in science communication and journalistic writing skills was especially memorable as it taught her how to use soundbite language in promoting energy efficiency, clean energy and other energy related topics to public through mass media such as newspaper, magazine and television.

 

Another training she received was the training in policy pitch and brief which enabled her to provide effective solar thermal roadmap deployment recommendation to policy makers. She also had the chance to observe ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology Meeting and attend AAAS Science Diplomacy Workshop in Washington DC back in 2016. All of these opportunities have been significantly contributing towards her professional development and career enhancement today. “The fellowship programme has given me a lot of invaluable skills and experience,” said Dr Nofri, who is currently working as a United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) policy consultant for conducting Malaysia Solar Thermal Roadmap Deployment Plan activities under the MAEESTA project.

 

Another privilege that she is benefiting from is the fact that she is now part of the programme alumni regional network. Dr Nofri said: “I firmly believe that such network will help create more understanding to discuss similar issues as well as to build general agreement and use science diplomacy pertaining to the common priority areas as the ten ASEAN member states have a common economics, political, geographical, and socio-cultural background.”

 

The existence of such network is crucial as it can help to provide the much-needed platform to discuss and develop a regional renewable energy and energy efficiency policy to strengthen energy security within the ASEAN as well as mitigate the climate change and reduce carbon emission in the region. Not only that, fellow scientists can also share knowledge, experience,

best practices and ideas on how the other countries show up and deal with energy security issues.

 

This will increase the capacity-building of scientists in ASEAN to take a prominent role in science-based policy making and therefore will be able to contribute to ASEAN agenda towards regional integration and establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2025. “I hope to see a sustainable, reliable and resilient energy interconnection in ASEAN by increasing the share of clean energy in producing electricity in the region and integration of demand side participation in meeting the rising energy demand at an affordable electricity cost,” said Dr Nofri.

Presenting UNIDO Solar Thermal Roadmap Deployment Plan activities at Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC)

Plenary Speaker for Policy and Governance Session in Climate Smart and Disaster Resilient ASEAN International Conference in Manila, April 2019

 

Recipient of 2018 Outstanding ASEAN Science Diplomats, Davao City Philippines, April 2018

 

Article by Ashila Nafisaputri, a Communication Intern at the ASEAN Foundation. She is currently a Public Relations student at Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia.

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