DOST to forge new STI agreements with Australian institutions; renews bilateral relation

A delegation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) conducted a visit recently to Australian universities and research institutions allowing them to revitalize the country's ties on Science Technology and Innovation (STI) and forge more partnerships.

Photo from DOST's Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña's Office

This scientific vist of DOST officials to the country was held from April 17 to 23.During DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña's recent weekly report, he said that the delegation was led by Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.

According to him, the delegation aims to strengthen existing ties of DOST with research institutions including the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

DOST officials visited various universities which include the Queensland University of Technology, the Southern Cross University; Griffith University, and University of Queensland, all of which agreed to formalize the Department’s institutional partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will outline the parties’ areas of common interest as well as its mode of cooperation.

Dela Peña said that the visit also seeks to identify areas for common interest where resources and expertise of DOST and partners can advance more research and capacity building programs. Several concrete collaborations, including a scholarship program with ACIAR, were discussed during the meetings and will be formalized through an agreement to be signed by DOST with these research institutions.

"During the Mission, DOST also reinvigorates the implementation of the existing Memorandum of Understanding with Swinburne University of Technology (SUT), which include, among others, scholarships and sandwich programs in the field of biomedical engineering where the University has distinct advantage," he said.

As well, the scientific visit saw DOST forging a new partnership with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for Scientific Cooperation. Specific areas and modes of cooperation identified in scholarship programs and joint research activities in the fields of Food Technologies and Innovation and Digital Health," he added.

He mentioned as well that the delegation also discussed opportunities to operationalize its existing MOU with James Cook University. During the meeting, the delegation agreed to work in the following areas, namely: emerging diseases and tropical diseases, Internet of Things (IoT), agriculture and food security, and marine science. The possible collaboration also included scholarship programs for clinicians.

The visit also gave opportunity to the delegation to learn about the important work and innovation on coral reef restoration of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the country’s tropical marine research agency.

The delegation began their mission in Canberra where they paid courtesy to Her Excellency Hellen De la Vega, Philippine Ambassador to Australia. The delegation’s visit also served as an opportunity for the Department to promote among Filipino scientists and researchers in Australia DOST’s Balik Scientist Program that encourages Filipinos to come back to the Philippines and contribute to the advancement of STI in the country.

Organized by the Philippine Embassy in Australia, the webinar gathered over 25 Filipino scientists and researchers who have distinguished themselves in their specific areas of work.