The mission of STEPAN is to assist member countries to target and utilize their scarce SETI resources most effectively towards national development goals.

STEPAN therefore focuses on activities that will make the maximum difference: providing SETI management information to enhance the quality of national decision making, and contributing to the understanding of policies and practices that will allow national and regional benefits from public investments in SETI to be maximized through effective and informed management practice. Thus the ‘policy’ focus of STEPAN is on government-induced strategies, incentives or constraints across the region that set the context for management of SETI to achieve desired ends, for example, in building accessible information systems, offering taxation incentives for the performance of industrial R&D, and accountability constraints on research organizations.

STEPAN contributes to its Mission by providing assistance to individual countries in formulating research and training programs for developing technology policy strategies. Target areas include information management, research commercialization and national direction setting. The network also undertakes training in human resource development activities and assists member countries in organizing international workshops and research programs. STEPAN has placed a strong emphasis on developing and utilizing expert capabilities within the region, as well as on collaboration with other relevant regional organizations.