Online portal for Balik Scientists to be launched on Nov. 19

Published November 17, 2021, 12:37 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Aspiring Filipino scientists abroad may soon submit their applications to be Balik Scientists in the country through an online portal that will be launched by the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Friday, Nov. 19.

Balik Scientist Program (BSP Facebook page)

The launch of the online portal, which is in line with the government’s thrust toward digital governance, will be made during the 7th BSP Annual Convention on Friday, read the statement issued by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).

“DOST will continue working closely with our researchers under the BSP to build local capacities in research and to generate accessible innovations for all,” Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said.

“We have relatively new fields in the Philippines where we need experts in neuroscience, quantum computing, plant breeding, medical chemistry and so on. We need the expertise of our Balik Scientists to further these new interests in the country!” he added.

Held annually, the BSP convention gathers Balik Scientists and host institutions, serving as a platform for returning Filipino researchers to impart their knowledge, experiences, and initiatives in the areas of agriculture, health, industry, energy, and emerging technologies.

It also provides an avenue for research collaborations, networking, and forging ties among Balik Scientists, existing and prospective Host Institutions, and other stakeholders.

This year’s theme of convention is “Balik Scientist: Tugon sa Hamon ng Panahon.”

The DOST-PCIEERD said the convention aims to present how BSP is moving forward amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

“The convention aims to showcase the undertakings of Balik Scientists and their host institutions despite the pandemic through engagements under the provision of the BSP Supplemental Guideline,” it said.

The Innovation Council said during the convention, potential Balik Scientists and host institutions will learn about the new BSP online application process in five easy steps.

The program guidelines were adjusted, allowing a 100 percent remote engagement of Balik Scientists under Short-Term category to ensure the health and safety of both the Balik Scientists and host institutions.

“Through this activity, we hope to stir your patriotic spirit of cherishing the Philippines and serving the people. That science has no borders, and Filipino scientists have their motherland. We need more Balik Scientists! We need you to adapt foreign technologies to local realities,” DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said.

DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed hope that new technologies will continue to flourish following the continued implementation of the BSP and DOST programs.

“With DOST initiatives and BSP, we expect the steady flow of new strategic technologies that are vital to national development,” he said.

Established in 1975, the BSP aims to strengthen the science and technology (S&T) human resources of the academe, public and private institutions to promote knowledge sharing and to accelerate the flow of new technologies into the country, de la Peña noted.

He recalled that the BSP was stopped for a while, but it was revived in 1990. “It was only in 2018, through the efforts of our legislators from Congress and the Senate, that the program was institutionalized when President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA (Republic Act) 11035 or the Balik Scientist Act, providing more competitive benefits, incentives and privileges to the Balik Scientists.”