Five universities from across the Philippines have been awarded approximately P12 million ($244,000) worth of grants from the United States government to support their research and innovation and help address the challenges of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, University of San Carlos, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and Mariano Marcos State University. (US Embassy)
Dubbed “Widening Applications of Research within the Pandemic” or WARP, these grants will help the five selected universities build on previous research funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as create partnerships among universities, industries, and local governments.
During the WARP grant virtual launch on Tuesday, April 27, USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II said, “As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines diplomatic relations, these grants are another milestone in this longstanding partnership as we work together to make higher education and innovation a driver of inclusive growth in the Philippines.”
The five selected research proposals are:
Develop novel antiseptic patches for wound dressing and skin healing (University of San Carlos in the Visayas);
Analyze the properties of high-value extracts from ube and corn for possible use in ready-to-eat foods, and as a replacement for commercial food coloring (Team from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University);
Help establish a tuna jerky product enterprise that can improve economic opportunities for local fishermen (University of the Philippines (UP) –Visayas);
Convert waste from coconut oil processing into an economically viable substitute to imported chemicals used in insulating foam production (Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology)
Expansion of village-scale ethanol production in the Ilocos regions to sustainably supply much-needed disinfectants for public health use (Team from the Mariano Marcos State University).
Since 2013, USAID has provided grants supporting innovation initiatives to almost 60 research groups in 20 higher education institutions throughout the country through its Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) project.