The Asian Institute of Management won the Technological Innovation of the Year trophy during the awarding of the Times Higher Education’s (THE) inaugural THE Awards Asia on Wednesday, May 1 at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Times Higher Education releases the THE World University Rankings and is widely recognized as the “Oscars of higher education” in the UK.

The award for Technological Innovation of the Year goes to a project hailed as “exemplary” by the judges for its multifaceted approach to engagement within research. AIM was cited for the Analytics, Computing, and Complex Systems (ACCeSs@aIM) laboratory. Set up in March, 2018 to complement its existing academic programs, ACCeSs@AIM seeks to bridge the gap between theory and practice for research-led teaching in higher education.


“I am a big believer in academe-industry-government partnerships in accelerating nation building. ACCeSs@AIM is AIM’s concrete step in improving the economy of developing countries in the ASEAN and promoting partnerships that will directly impact businesses, society, and communities. Its aim is to lead, inspire, and transform the use of data science, artificial intelligence, and computational models to help industries, government agencies, and other sectors innovate,” said Professor Christopher Monterola, Executive Managing Director of ACCeSs@AIM.

ACCeSs@AIM boasts a multidisciplinary team of experienced scientists working with a 500-teraflop supercomputer – optimised for artificial intelligence technology and said to be the fastest in the Philippines.

The impressive resources provided through the laboratory extend to support the teaching of 106 Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) students, providing them with “real-world” scenarios and direct links with industry partners.

“It is certainly not easy to find properly trained data scientists, in the Philippines or elsewhere. ACCeSs@AIM and the MSDS program hope to provide the region with well-trained, proactive data science leaders who will create practical solutions to the multi-faceted challenges faced by industries and governments,” said Monterola.

Above all, ACCeSs@AIM has opened the doors to more collaborations across private industry, government agencies and other third-party research organisations.

“Our goal is to empower business leaders and managers, government officials, and policymakers to make data-driven decisions,” emphasized AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang.

Professor Erika Legara, Academic Program Director of the MSDS Program and Deputy Managing Director at ACCeSs@AIM, said “We are honored and grateful for this recognition from THE Awards Asia. In less than a year, ACCeSs@AIM has already produced relevant research for select industries and has deployed decision-support platforms for our stakeholders. Building the platforms demanded implementation of advanced-level analytics and formulation of mathematical and mechanism-based models; not to mention true understanding of business needs. I am happy that we’re helping build this culture of R&D and academia-industry partnership here, at home. Thank you, Jikyeong, Chris, and AIM, for the enabling environment! Thanks, too, to our industry partners who believe in R&D and our group’s capability to deliver.”

What the global community say about ACCeSs@AIM

The judges were impressed by the scale of ambition and the impact already achieved by AIM, and they praised the project for its support of the national development of the Philippines.

ACCeSs@AIM “has given students a vital ability to learn with leading-edge technology that they can take into their future employment”, the judges said, adding that the project was an “exemplary initiative that perfectly illustrates strategic vision and technical innovation, creating positive opportunities for advancement”.

Professor Michael Purugganan, a Filipino-American biologist and Dean for Science at New York University, commended AIM. “To anyone who says the Philippines is lagging behind in STEM education, this is a great counterexample. It shows what dedicated and brilliant faculty, resources, and vision can do to propel us forward. Congratulations! Well-deserved. An inspiration and, hopefully, a model.”

AIM was also recognized by AACSB International (AACSB) —the world’s largest business education network— among 21 top business schools worldwide as highlights of its 2019 Innovations That Inspire challenge.

About THE Asia Awards

THE editor John Gill said “The THE Asia Awards have shone a light on the exceptional achievements of universities across the continent. The winners include institutions from China, Singapore, Iraq, South Korea and the Philippines; they include names that will be known to all as among the best in the world, and others that have performed near-miracles in times of great hardship. All demonstrate what transformational work universities do, whether in teaching or research, supporting students or building bridges and partnerships across borders. All are worthy winners of these prestigious awards.”

The full list of this year’s winners is below, and profiles of their winning entries can be viewed here.

Outstanding Support for Students
University of Kirkuk
International Strategy of the Year
Zhejiang University
Technological Innovation of the Year
Asian Institute of Management
Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year
Yonsei University
Leadership and Management Team of the Year
National University of Singapore
For more coverage of the awards, including photos from the ceremony, please visit Details are also online at Times Higher Education.

words by Aya Carino-Valdez