DOST highlights P1.16 billion in R&D projects delivered in Metro Manila, South Luzon

Published June 10, 2022, 3:24 PM

by Dhel Nazario

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) capped off on Friday, June 10 its Science for Change Program (DOST-S4CP) summit series at the Crimson Hotel in Alabang, highlighting projects in Metro Manila and South Luzon.

(Photo courtesy of Undersecretary for R&D Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara’s Office / MANILA BULLETIN)

The summit presented technologies related to agriculture, pharmaceutical products, and technologies in support of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the areas. DOST said that with total funding amounting to P1.16 billion for the National Capital Region (NCR) and South Luzon, the S4CP Program continuously supports R&D projects in Manila, despite its aim of decentralizing government funds to the regions. These are under the Niche Center in the Region for R&D Program (NICER), Collaborative R&D to Leverage the Philippine Economy Program (CRADLE), Business Innovation through S&T for Industry Program (BIST), and R&D Leadership Program (RDLead)

Breaking it down, a total of P880 million was for NICERs (15 NICERs), P8.49 million for RD Lead (20 RD Leads), P258.5 million for CRADLE (55 CRADLE) and P20.95 million for BIST (2 BISTs).

“Science for Change forges new partnerships and synergizes the efforts of our local science community to support projects for nation-building,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said.

“To accelerate R&D in the country, there is a need to focus our efforts and resources on sustainable solutions that contribute significantly to the economic development of the country,” he added.

DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho A. Mabborang stated the way forward for the S4CP is sustainability. As Science Technology and Innovation (STI) champions, he said that the DOST bears the responsibility to continuously encourage more partners to engage in Research and Development in the country and must remain incessant in the pursuit to advance Science and Technology that would result in more society-centric solutions.

S4CP projects

In focus is the plasma coating technology for furniture being developed by the University of the Philippines – Diliman in partnership with Filipinas Oro de Cacao, Inc. Funded by the CRADLE Program under DOST-S4CP, the project will develop a dry-based cleaning system for the food manufacturing industry.

DOST said that this system could improve the food industry’s productivity and reduce operating expenses by using a fast and efficient plasma cleaning technology that does not use expensive wet-based chemicals. At the same time, the system may contribute to the reduction of wastes generated during the cleaning process.

Showcased in the summit are other R&D breakthroughs like the partnership between UP Diliman and Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO) to produce egg powder from low value, cracked eggs. Studies on sambong to standardize the use in therapeutic medicine is also being funded under CRADLE with Pascual Pharma Corporation and the Technological Institute of the Philippines. For the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program, four innovation centers have been established in Metro Manila and South Luzon. The Center for Advanced Materials for Clean Energy Technologies based on Indigenous Materials (CAMCET) is in the University of Santo Tomas .In this project, a Direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC)-powered emergency LED flashlight with cell phone charging ports and textile-based supercapacitors will be developed based on biomass-derived electrocatalysts / electrocatalysts support.

The project proposes to find a solution to increase the potential life cycle, and stabilize the capacitance of a supercapacitor using organic material. Other NICERs in NCR and South Luzon include the Pili R&D Center in Bicol University, NICER Native Pig Center in Marinduque State University, and NICER on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center in the University of the Philippines – Manila.

“For a time, the Philippines experienced regional disparity in access to major resources that would fuel innovation and socio-economic growth, which is why the DOST implemented the S4CP to address the concern and to advance STI in the country,” DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said.

“The summit is a call to our stakeholders to support regional development through the Science for Change Program,” she added.