Winner of ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2020 Announced


JAKARTA, 31 August 2020 – The ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI), the U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Underwriters Laboratories, proudly announced Dr. Chan Yoke Fun from Malaysia as the winner of the ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women 2020 and Dr. Shefaly Shorey of Singapore as honourable mention.  Dr. Chan received an award of USD 20,000, whereas honourable mention Dr. Shorey, received a USD 5,000 award.

Dr. Chan, the Head of Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaya, focused her research on developing a vaccine to combat a virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease, and brain infection diseases in children. Furthermore, she has worked with local experts to raise awareness about the dangers and prevention of the virus in her community and beyond.

“This award is timely in demonstrating the active role of women in preventive healthcare. It is a recognition for work well done, and signifies the opportunity for my team to do more. It has also empowered all ASEAN women scientists,” said Dr. Chan. “Passion, perseverance and positive thinking help us to achieve greater heights.”

Dr. Shefaly Shorey, a nursing professional who focused her research on preventing depression in pregnancy and motherhood, has sought to influence policy-makers through her research to mandate support for maternal and child health in the region.

From her research findings, she developed a free educational app called ‘Home but Not Alone’ to support new parents manage stress and deter post-natal depression.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to represent my country and profession and share my research on promoting women’s health at this International Platform. Participating in this competition and reaching this far has firmed my belief that hard work does pay off. I will continue to do my best to inspire budding women scientists and lead by example to never give up. I wish and hope that one day one of my students will win this award,” expressed Dr. Shorey, who is also an Assistant Professor at Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, at NUS.

“Thank you very much to the ASEAN-US Prize Committee and the organizers for their wonderful support for making this year’s competition possible despite the ongoing pandemic,” she stated.

Both Chan and Shorey presented their research to a panel of judges through a head-to-head pitch competition held in a virtual judging session on 13 August. The panel consisted of COSTI members, representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, USAID and Underwriters Laboratories. The two finalists had been selected from a pool of ten national finalists, who each represented the brightest women scientists working in the field of Preventive Healthcare, this year’s prize theme.

ASEAN COSTI Chair Professor Andy Hor congratulated both recipients for their scientific achievements and contributions to the advancement of preventive healthcare in ASEAN and beyond.

Professor Hor said, “since its inception in 2014, the ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women has continued to showcase the many talented scientists in ASEAN. We offer our best wishes to all the national finalists and trust that they would inspire the next generation of woman scientists to scale new heights in their scientific journey.”

“Congratulations to Dr. Chan Yoke Fun and Dr. Shefaly Shorey for their extraordinary contributions in the field of preventive healthcare,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, vice president and senior technical advisor at Underwriters Laboratories. “We live in a time of rapidly expanding healthcare knowledge, but we are challenged with its application to large global societies as we confront a wide range of medical issues including new infectious diseases to maternal mortality. We are proud to support an award recognizing women scientists for their contributions in improving health outcomes for the betterment of societal well-being and prosperity.”

“In partnership with ASEAN-COSTI and Underwriters Laboratories, we congratulate the winner and honorable mention honorees of the 2020 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women competition for their outstanding achievements to address the pressing needs of preventive healthcare in their communities,” said Melissa A. Brown, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. “The work of the Prize recipients is nothing short of remarkable. The United States is proud to join the citizens of ASEAN to promote innovative scientific achievements in global health.”

The ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women is organised by ASEAN through COSTI, the U.S. Government through USAID and Underwriters Laboratories, a nonprofit organization, to recognise promising, early- to mid-career female scientists for their academic and professional achievements. The competition will continue in 2021 with the theme ‘’Clear Air and Clean Water.’


For additional information, contact USAID/ASEAN Communications Specialist, Samara Sanders at:

Detailed information on this year’s winner, each national finalists and next year’s competition can be found at:


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brings together Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam in a community united by a common desire and collective will to live in a region of lasting peace, security and stability, sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and social progress, and to promote ASEAN vital interests, ideals and aspirations.


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to promote and demonstrate democratic values and advance a free, peaceful and prosperous world. Through international development programs and disaster assistance, USAID partners to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people emerge from humanitarian crises, progress beyond assistance and attain self-reliance.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide the safe, sustainable commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods, to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. To learn more, visit