‘No region will be left behind’: DOST holds 1st NICER Summit; showcases 37 innovation hubs in PH

Published December 3, 2021, 11:22 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Science for Change (S4C) showcased Friday, Dec. 3, 37 innovation hubs that seek to boost regional development in the country.

(DOST-Science for Change Facebook)

The 37 innovation hubs set up in 17 regions were presented during the first Niche Centers in the Region for R&D (NICER) summit. The online conference aims to accelerate science, technology and innovation (STI) in the country through regionally inclusive research and development (R&D).

“Our NICER Centers are actively taking on the challenge of elevating the products, commodities, and expertise of the Regions through the development of smart and innovative solutions and strategies,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña.

“Through inclusive innovation where no region will be left behind and a properly supported R&D network, our country will be able to sustain itself and remain resilient, particularly in difficult times.”

DOST Undersecretary for R&D, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara cited how the NICER program catalyzed collaborations among academe, national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and private industry. She said such collaboration “contributed to accelerating the country’s social and economic development.”

“Through the establishment of these NICERs, Filipino researchers were able to advance their role from the status quo of peer-centric R&D towards a society-centric R&D. This advancement ensures that the researchers are focused on achieving socio-economic impact from their research efforts in addition to training young scientists, frequent publications, and technology development,” Guevara said.

“Through society-centric R&D efforts and inclusive innovation, the Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved.”

Showcased during the online event is the E-Mobility R&D Center led by Cagayan State University and the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

The Center is expected to design, develop, fabricate and assemble e-Trike that could be adopted in the region.

It is tasked to redesign a lightweight chassis; improve mechanical energy transmission systems, and determine optimal electronic/electrical systems as far as the mechanical design for the tricycle is concerned.

e-Trikes (DOST-Science for Change Program)

“A COVID-19 responsive design will be considered to ensure physical distancing and prevent the spread of viral infections,” the DOST said.

“After assembly and integration of the different parts to create the whole e-Trike, its performance will be tested in actual road conditions.”

The E-Mobility R&D Center will design the electrical and electronic components of an e-Trike, and determine the viability of the conversion of conventional tricycle to e-Trike.

During the event, universities and research institutions were urged in collaboration with the government agencies and the private sector to join the aspiration of pursuing inclusive innovation.

The DOST announced that the next Call for Proposals is set on March 2022.

DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang expressed hope that the engagement of various stakeholders in the establishment of the NICERs will further solidify academe-industry-government collaboration, boosting regional development.

“We are excited how these collaborations and partnerships will grow, continue to expand, and give birth eventually to new national research, development, and innovation institutions. We need the commitment, support, and assistance of everyone in making it happen in the not-so-distant future,” he said.

The DOST has been urging the Senate to jumpstart its discussion on the Science for Change (S4CP) bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Sept. 21.

“By institutionalizing the S4CP, a massive increase in R&D investments will address issues that hold back the Philippines from fully benefiting from science, technology, and innovation, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”