Young UP faculty receives JICA scholarship to study space technology in Japan

Published August 18, 2021, 10:55 AM

by Roy Mabasa

A faculty of the University of the Philippines Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UPEEI) has been chosen as the first recipient of a Tokyo-funded scholarship program to study space technology in top universities and institutions in Japan.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) made this announcement in support of the Philippines’ effort to build its human resource capability and at the same time strengthen the country’s space technology development.

Charleston Dale Ambatali, faculty member of the University of the Philippines Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute. (via JICA-Philippines)

Charleston Dale Ambatali of the UPEEI was selected to join the Human Resource Development (HRD) for Space Technology Utilization under JICA’s Knowledge Co-Creation Program (KCCP).

While in Japan, Ambatali will study space technology with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and JICA, and complete a doctorate degree in aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering.

“COVID-19 has disrupted all major economies. Supporting human resource development in space technology utilization will enhance knowledge-sharing when it comes to finding answers to our common development problems,” JICA Philippines Senior Representative Ohshima Ayumu said in a statement Wednesday.

By sending young Filipinos to learn from Japan’s experience in space technology innovation, Oshima said both countries could enhance disaster management, environment protection, as well as in other development areas of importance.

“We’ve seen how the Philippines’ first microsatellite added value to extreme weather monitoring approaches,” said the JICA official.

Through the JICA scholarship, Ambatali said he is looking forward to enhancing his research capability in space development and lead projects to promote a better quality of life for many Filipinos.

“Since most marginalized communities live in rough, underdeveloped terrains, I aim to design radars on unmanned aerial vehicles to survey these communities and address their problems,” Ambatali said.

UPEEI currently hosts the Stamina4Space Program, the successor to the Philippine microsatellite program, and which focuses on developing human resources for nanosatellite development.

Ambatali has helped develop elective courses on satellite systems and was also previously assigned to work in the Philippine microsatellite program.

“When I return to the Philippines, I also envision myself to be mentoring young students on satellite development, and contributing to the growth of the space program in my country,” he added.

The Philippines has so far successfully launched its first microsatellite DIWATA-1 and 2 under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and University of the Philippines with assistance from Japan’s Tohoku University and Hokkaido University.

The KCCP course on space technology utilization is part of the JICA-JAXA Network for Utilization of Space Technology (JJ-NeST) that aims to develop core human resources in space technology and consequently contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).