DOST enables SMEs to convert waste to new food products

Published December 19, 2020, 12:28 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Waste materials have been turned to being a valuable source of income through the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

According to the DOST, CRADLE enables local companies, including Small-to-Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) to find value through innovation.  It recently approved a research for a local company to turn previously unused and disposed materials into a fine undertaking.  

One of the recently approved CRADLE projects is with Aegina Organic Farm Products, manufacturer of coconut milk and cacao powder products, who partnered with University of the Philippines – Diliman (UPD) to undertake R&D in converting liquids unused in their normal operations into nutritious and delicious beverages. 

 Another streamlined production assistance made possible through CRADLE is the Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO) and UP Diliman partnership.  With the project, the excess supply of eggs is turned into powdered/granulated chicken egg whites from low value eggs (cracked/dirtied or soft shell).  The prototype was already given to BEPCO and is now being evaluated for industrial use. One of the potential uses is for baking purposes.  

“R&D enables local companies to find hidden opportunities for additional income and even the possibility to delve into unique product lines,” said DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina Guevara.  

“Innovation is a key element to survive and succeed.  An R&D investment is an investment to change for the better,” she added.

Under the CRADLE Program, a local industry partner determines a problem/need which requires an R&D solution.  The partner higher education institution (HEI) or Research & Development Institution (RDI) undertakes the R&D to solve the problem/ need. The DOST-CRADLE Program will fund up to five million pesos for a period of one to three years R&D projects aiming to solve problems of local businesses.  

In the last 3 years, the CRADLE Program has funded 63 projects worth P285 million and partnered with 29 HEIs/RDIs and 63 companies.

CRADLE is one of the four sub-programs of Science for Change – a program geared to significantly accelerate Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the country through massive increase in investment on S&T Human Resource Development and R&D.  Other sub-programs include Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program which provides institutional grants for HEIs to undertake quality research that will catalyze and promote regional development. 

R&D Leadership (RDLead) Program engages local experts to lead and strengthen the research capabilities of academic institutions, R&D centers, and Non-Government Agencies located in any part of the country. Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry Program facilitates the acquisition of strategic and relevant technologies by Filipino companies to support R&D activities.  As of the moment, the S4CP bill is still in the third reading in both houses of Congress.  

Interested companies who wish to avail the DOST-CRADLE program must belong to the following priority areas: 1) Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry; 2) Agri-processing; 3)  Drug and Herbal Development; 4) Food and Nutrition; 5) Information and Communications Technology (includes Artificial Intelligence); 6) IC Design; 7) Semiconductor and Electronics; 8) Infrastructure and Logistics; 9) Manufacturing; 10) Environment and Climate Change; 11) Industrial Waste Treatment; 12) Renewable Energy; 13) Creative Industries/Knowledge-based Services.  

The DOST-CRADLE Program accepted R & D proposals for 2021 from HEIs/RDIs together with their partner company from November 27, 2020 to February 5, 2021.  Proposals must be submitted electronically through the DOST Project Management Information System .(  For more information, you may visit the DOST-Science for Change Facebook page or email [email protected]