Discussion session on the links between policy and research communities

International Research Group on Fuel Economy Established under Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) with Support by GIZ

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Vietnam, 19 September 2017. As supported by TCC, a proposal on the establishment of an International Research Group on Fuel Economy (FE IRG) has been submitted and approved by the EASTS Board at the 12th EASTS conference. Since its establishment in 1994, EASTS has been one of the most prestigious science research organizations which has tremendous valuable contribution to both research and practice to transportation sector. The 12th EASTS took place from 18th – 21st September 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and gathered more than 700 participants come from a variety of stakeholder groups including academia, policymakers, non-governmental organisations, and industry.

The establishment and operationalisation of the FE IRG is proposed to serve as a platform for collaboration, networking, and partnership in the region between academia and policymakers. In the meantime, the IRG is expected to pool existing academic capacities available on sustainable transport and fuel economy in particular, drawing from the research institutions, and academic and expert societies to build on existing research and promote collaboration.

During the 12th EASTS conference, TCC in cooperation with the EASTS’s local organising committee organised a special session on implementing fuel efficiency policies in the ASEAN region with the aim to better connect research institutions and universities with policymakers, and to discuss how to better bring academics and research into policy work.

Mr. Tali Trigg, TCC Project Director, started the session with an overview of FE policies around the world and the links with the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP) 2016-2025 and the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025. He also pointed out the barriers for designing effective FE policies in ASEAN with an emphasis on a lack of expert knowledge and data. Initial results from GIZ’s study in Thailand were shared with the participants in order to discuss how to advance FE policies in the region. In the conclusions, he pointed out that a regional FE Roadmap is vital for accelerating progress in the development of policies and for facilitating a coherent approach among countries. In the meantime, strong collaboration between academia and government is crucial in order to effectively improve vehicle efficiency.

The session continued with two presentations: the first delivered by Dr. Horizon Gitano-Briggs (Malaysia), sharing the experiences in collecting and analysing data in Malaysia with an emphasis on top-down and bottom-up measurements. Mr. Nguyen Huu Tien (Ministry of Transport of Vietnam), followed this speech by speaking about FE policies in the transport sector in Vietnam. The last presentation of the session was held by Dr. Karl Vergel who gave an introductory overview of the FE IRG.

The session closed with a panel discussion, bringing together representatives of academia and the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport to discuss how to stimulate the research communities to work in synergy with policymakers, e.g. to help the government get data in order to identify and prioritise policymaking and programmes.