Pinay scientist bags prestigious Green Talents Award in Germany

Published October 18, 2021, 5:15 PM

by Betheena Unite

A Filipino scientist from Mindanao, whose projects involve the upcycling of waste to produce materials used in infrastructure, was among this year’s awardees in the prestigious Green Talents International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development in Germany.

Top: Dr. Lawagon receives her award from Dr. Michael Meister, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister of Education and Research. Bottom: CDA a.i. Lillibeth Pono, Consul Mary Luck Hicarte and Vice-Consul Mina Ganzon of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin congratulate Dr. Lawagon in a virtual private room. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) disclosed Monday, Oct. 18, that Filipino scientist, Dr. Chosel Lawagon, was among the 25 awardees selected by a panel of German experts from among 467 applicants from 78 countries.

Officials of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin attended the virtual awarding ceremony hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on Oct. 15 where they were given a private virtual room to interact with Lawagon.

Lawagon is a director at the Center for Green Nanotechnology Innovations for Environmental Solutions at the University of Mindanao (UM). She focused on upcycling waste through nanotechnology.

One of her research projects, which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is about the conversion of waste into nanoparticles that can be incorporated into smart concrete. This project could help address the need for more resilient infrastructure in earthquake-prone Mindanao.

Her second research project involves the integration of nanomaterials from agricultural and plastic waste into a nanogenerator. This has the potential to be a cheaper renewable energy alternative to solar panels.

Together with the UM College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, Lawagon is also conducting research on the impact of landfill leachate on nearby rivers in Davao City.

As a Green Talents awardee, Lawagon participated in the virtual Green Talents Science Forum, which gave her and her fellow awardees an overview of Germany’s sustainability research landscape, and the opportunity to network with German researchers.

Lawagon returned to the Philippines in 2020 under the DOST’s Balik Scientist Program. She will travel to Germany next year for three months of research in a German partner institution of her choice.

The Green Talents International Forum features an international competition for outstanding young scientists committed to promoting sustainability in their communities.