DOST's 'Balik Scientists': Researchers share their experiences with the modern-day heroes

The Department of Science and Technology - Balik Scientist Program (DOST-BSP) honored "Balik Scientists" as modern-day heroes in time for the celebration of National Heroes Day.

(Photo courtesy of DOST)

These "modern-day heroes" together with their local counterparts were featured in the BSP Talks Episode 3 entitled “Ikaw ang Hero Ko!” on Aug. 30, which was aired on FB Live.

According to DOST, the online webinar highlighted the testimonials of 10 local researchers who acted as host scientists for our Balik Scientists. They shared their experiences and the reasons why they consider our Balik Scientists as modern-day heroes.

With their testimonials, the host scientists expressed their utmost gratitude for the commitment and support of the Balik Scientists who nurtured, strengthened, and guided them in the implementation of their R&D and technology transfer initiatives. It demonstrated the Balik Scientists’ vital role in nation-building through the introduction of strategic technologies that help address the pressing needs of the country.

With the emergence of threatening viruses that affect humans, animals, and plants all over the world, it is noteworthy to recognize the impressive contributions of our Balik Scientists. They provided the needed expertise in virology and vaccine research.

Some of these Balik Scientists were involved in planning the structure for the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP). Dr. Homer D. Pantua, an expert who is passionate about vaccine research for African Swine Fever (ASF), customized veterinary vaccines, and diagnostics, and surveillance of food animal diseases and zoonotic diseases, was among the Balik Scientists that were featured. Another Balik Scientist, Dr. Thaddeus Carvajal, who is an expert in vector biology and currently works on research that helps in curbing the incidence of dengue, is also one of the modern-day heroes.

The webinar served to promote the program to all potential countries abroad and was conducted in collaboration with members of the Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea, Inc. (PIKO). The members showed the steps in preparing a Balik Scientist’s Terms of Reference (TOR) or the BSP Form 2 and submitting one’s BSP application. The BSP Form 2 served a reference on activities that will be done by the Balik Scientist that will assist and help the host institution through the conduct of R&D activities, seminars and lectures, teaching, and mentoring their local counterparts. Additionally, the document indicates specific and tangible outputs and the expected impact of a Balik Scientist’s engagement.

Through the Balik Scientist Program (BSP), Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts are encouraged to return to the country and share their expertise in order to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of our human capital in science, technology, and innovation.

Aside from the competitive incentives and benefits provided to our Balik Scientists, the Balik Scientist Program also draws one-time incentives for Balik Scientists who had outstanding completion of the engagement. This one-time incentive is not an outright grant but rather given to Balik Scientists upon evaluation by the National Academy of Science and Technology.