‘Let’s help our country recover’: DOST chief urges MSMEs, firms to use PH’s first modular multi-industry innovation hub

Published March 31, 2021, 1:50 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña urged Wednesday, March 31, the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises, and companies to use the Modular Multi-Industry Innovation Center (MMIC) of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) to develop new product for a new market at a lower cost, or develop new products from renewable and sustainably sourced wastes to support a more efficient manufacturing system. 

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

He said the use of the MMIC or the “Innohub sa Pinas”, who was inaugurated on Feb. 18,  should be maximized to benefit all the Filipinos. 

“It should be well known so that the investment that we have in this facility will really be put to a maximum benefit of our fellow Filipinos who are enterprising and actually that that is what we need today, to innovate and come up with the new products and maximise the value that we get out of our raw materials,” de la Peña said in his message during DOST-ITDI-initiated “Backend Innovation Gives New Life to Wastes” webinar held on Wednesday. 

“We can work together and help our country recover and advance further,” he urged all concerned stakeholders, particularly the MSMEs.

The MMIC  is an industrial processing facility with multifunctional or multi-application modular unit operation equipment that can be retrofitted to different manufacturing needs.  It is envisioned to cater to food, dietary food supplements, and personal care (oral hygiene) products as part of its primary lines. 

De la Peña said the center  can assist the industries’ R&D needs particularly on by-product utilization; new product development; product equivalent; product variances and product reintroduction. 

“What was impressive was that even the previously thrown away, shall we say, leftovers in the processing our raw material such as fruits –calamansi and mango– can even be processed to come up with products with added value like the tablets that can be additional source of fiber,” he said. 

He noted that the center has three manufacturing lines, namely, nut and seed oil; liquid and emulsion line; and mix blend powder line.

“The good thing with MMIC, our researchers and technical people, they are very objective in their approach. they would like to know what your raw material is, what you want to get out of it, and they will bring you the best out of that input,” de la Peña said. 

“it is like a black box approach where you have your inputs, and you want outputs and MMIC will take care of the black box whihc is in between the input and the output,” he explained. 

With the research and development (R&D) hub, de la Peña said processors have easier access to various kinds of food and industrial processing equipment and efficient manufacturing facilities. 

It also offers a venue where DOST and partner industries can tinker on various food and other product concepts and create or brew new and exciting technologies for the market, he said.

“What is good is that in Innohub, there are spaces that you can occupy while you are doing, observing, learning the processing you need for your product idea. There are office spaces there that you can occupy, all of this upon prior arrangement with our Industrial Technology Development Institute,” de la Peña said. 

The center also aims to offer economic support and technology assistance to the academe and the industry.

The Philippines is one of the four countries  to have introduced the  modular multi-industry innovation hub, which is aimed at scaling up the researches on food and nutraceutical products. The three other innovations centers  in the world are Innohub, a product design and development agency in Toronto,  Ontario, Canada; Malaysian Innovation Hub ( MIH) innovation and R&D in Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur; and  El Mexico Innovation Hub for industry transformation and business, Arcos Bosques, Ciudad de México.