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An inspiring young scientist who specializes in connecting agriculture and food systems to sustainability and nutrition for better human health and wellbeing has won this year’s APEC Science Award for Innovation, Research and Education, known as STRIVE.

Dr. Jessica Bogard, a public health nutritionist and nutritionist based in Australia, claimed victory with her research that focused on increasing the potential of underutilized local and indigenous foods to reduce malnutrition, particularly in pregnant women and young children.

“One in five deaths around the world can be prevented simply by eating a healthier diet, that is about 11 million lives each year. It affects almost every economy in the world, and not exclusively low- and middle-income economies, ”said Dr. Bogard. “Agriculture and food systems face the complex challenge of not only feeding the world, but also feeding people, and my research aims to fill that void.”

Dr. Bogard pioneered a database on the nutritional quality of more than 50 species of fish and aquatic foods, noting that certain native fish species are rich sources of a variety of micronutrients, but their availability is decreasing.

She has worked with local communities and research partners to improve the production of these nutritious food sources and empower communities to produce healthy foods based entirely on local ingredients. This led to the successful development of products with the same or better nutritional quality, which at the same time secure a livelihood by building local supply chains and promoting traditional food culture.

“By improving women’s access to inexpensive and simple fishing methods, we can increase the frequency and amount of fish consumption in vulnerable households.”

“I hope that I can create more awareness and visibility of the importance of nutrition so that we can expand approaches in agriculture and sustainable food systems to reduce malnutrition around the world,” she added. “I also want to motivate more women and girls to pursue a career in science where we can help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.”

Dr. Bogard was selected from a group of 12 finalists, each nominated by one of the APEC member countries under the ASPIRE theme 2021 “Diverse knowledge for a sustainable future”. The nominees, all under 40 years of age, were recognized for their commitment to excellence in scientific research as evidenced by scientific publications and collaboration with scientists from the APEC economies.

“The scope of research by Dr. Bogard is far-reaching and offers practical solutions to improve human health through research, improve the agricultural and food systems and respect local knowledge, ”said Daniel Dufour, chairman of the APEC Political Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovationwho monitors the price. “The work of all ASPIRE nominees this year has been inspiring and valuable to APEC as we strive for sustainable and inclusive recovery and improve the resilience of the region.”

The winner was announced during the APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation meeting hosted by New Zealand last week. Dr. Bogard was awarded a $ 25,000 award, supported by Wiley and Elsevier.

“We continue to see excellence, innovation and a commitment to knowledge from talented scientists in the APEC region,” said Judy Verses, executive vice president of Wiley Research. “The work of Dr. Bogard is a remarkable achievement in public health and shows the strong impact of scientific research on society. “

“Through her research, Dr. Bogard’s dedication, scientific talent and practical knowledge in solving the current problem of malnutrition and developing sustainable solutions to public health and challenges, especially when working with vulnerable communities in low and middle income economies, ”concluded YoungSuk Chi, Chairman of Elsevier.

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