Philippines, France vow to strengthen ties on science, technology, and innovation

Published February 15, 2021, 10:37 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI) have vowed to explore and expand partnership on areas of  health and medical research, agricultural-technology, and electronics, emerging technology, and innovation. 

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (TOTO LOZANO / Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said both parties made such commitment during the first Philippines-France Joint Committee Meeting held on Feb. 5. 

“The meeting discussed updates on existing initiatives and identified priorities and specifics for future collaborations, guided by the signed Program of Cooperation,” he said in his weekly report. 

He noted that DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara and her co-Chair, MESRI Dr. Denis Despréaux, “led the Committee to agree on the way forward” for the continued implementation of the Hubert Curien Partnership-Science for the People Researchers Mobility Program and the DOST-PhilFrance Scholarship Program. 

“The implementation of the two activities will now proceed after it was postponed last year due to the  COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic,” de la Peña said. 

He said both camps have expressed interest to expand ties on various areas of cooperation.

“Both sides also presented their interests and other proposed cooperation on health and medical research; agri-tech; and electronics, emerging technology, and innovation to expand the partnership,” the DOST Chief said. 

“The concerned agencies will continue to coordinate to explore and realize the potential collaborations,” he noted. 

Officials of the DOST and its agencies, such as Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), National Research Council of the Philippines (NCRP),  Science Education Institute (SEI)  attended the inaugural Committee meeting. They were also joined by officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The French delegation was composed of officials from MESRI, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Institut Pasteur, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).

“The inaugural Committee Meeting laid out a clearer plan and path towards a strengthened Philippines and France Science, Technology, and Innovation relations,” de la Peña cited.