The ASEAN Science and Technology Network (ASTNET) was identified as a flagship project of the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) at its 33rd Meeting held in Bandung, Indonesia, on 23-27 July 1997. The ASTNET aims to create an ASEAN-wide electronic based technology information network. It will also be a gateway to interconnect ASEAN S&T information resources to internal S&T and industrial databases. It is expected to support administration, monitoring and coordination of plans and programs of ASEAN COST so as to improve the efficiency of cooperation and coordination among ASEAN member countries. The Sub-committee on S&T Infrastructure and Resources Development (SCIRD) is responsible in the implementation of ASTNET.
The development of its initial content and establishment of its website were done in the period of 1997-1998. Its URL address at www.astnet.org was announced and a demonstration ot its content was presented during the 7th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology on 12-13 October 1998 in Hanoi. The Ministers supported the establishment of ASTNET. The 42nd Meeting of COST held in Brunei Darussalam held on 14-15 September 2001 supported the suggestion of SCIRD that the ASTNET Website be set up on a sustainable basis and that the ASEAN Secretariat be requested to allocate the space in its web server for ASTNET. This decision received further approval from the ASEAN Standing Committee (ASC) at the ASC 2/35 held on 18-20 March 2002 in Jakarta.
With support from the ASEAN Science Fund (ASF) and also the Ministry of Research and Technology of Indonesia, an ASTNET Website, hosted by the ASEAN Secretariat, was established towards the end of 2005. The support from ASEAN-EU Program for Regional Integration Support (APPRIS) was also provided on the redesigning of ASTNET to improve its performance and services.
The ASEAN Science and Technology Network (ASTNET) is expected to be a comprehensive, information-rich and vibrant infrastructure set up by the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) that is envisioned to underpin:
- Good governance, wise policy and proactive planning for its regional cooperation programmes;
- Competitive basic and applied research and development;
- Widespread basic, tertiary and continuing education;
- Human resource development, and
- Technology transfer.