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On 25 October 2016, APFNet held a parallel session of “supporting early career researchers, improving forestry research capacity” during the International Union for Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania 2016 in Beijing, China. The session introduced the initial design of Early Career Academics Programme (ECAP) proposed by APFNet, and consulted professionals from forestry research institutes in the Asia-Pacific region on the concept note of ECAP.

ECAP intends to improve the research capacity of early career forestry researchers in the Asia-Pacific region through three components, including Early Career Research Grant, Early Career Forestry Researchers Fellowship and Forestry Science Forum, according to APFNet Secretariat.

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Participants at the APFNet parallel session

Dr. Michael Kleine, Deputy Executive Director of IUFRO, was invited to share IUFRO’s experience with its Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC), which aims to expand and foster forest research capacity in developing and economically disadvantaged economies. He pointed out that the core of research lies in their application in reality and it was important for researchers to learn how to communicate their research results to the policy makers and the public.

Dr. Louis Putzel, Senior Scientist of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), introduced the opportunities CIFOR provided for researchers and gave suggestions on how to develop research fellowship. He mentioned that the fellowship could be combined with ongoing research projects of partners.

Mr. Nyein Chan from University of Forestry in Myanmar restated that given limited resources for forestry researchers, therefore ECAP opens a new window. He also suggested that the programme promote joint researches among forestry research institutes and include targeted trainings. Suggestions from other representatives include reflecting the link between research and industry, focusing more on mentoring and combining both short-term trainings and long-term assistance.

APFNet Secretariat staff expressed that ECAP would be further improved and they welcomed interested partners to join to together shape the programme.