Eight joint research and development (R&D) projects for 2021 were launched online on February 24 under the inaugural Philippine’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Joint Research Program (JRP).
The JRP covers areas from health, agriculture and renewable energy. It is part of the Philippine’s and China’s commitments to strengthen the two countries’ science and technology partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding on S&T Cooperation signed in August 2019.
Topping the list of approved projects is the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) “Green Oil and Phytochemicals from Cashew” to be implemented with its counterpart from the Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the DOST said in a news release.
The seven other projects under the cooperation scheme are the following:
The Belt and Road of Avian Infectious Diseases: Intervention strategies to predict, prevent and control disease outbreaks caused by emerging strains of newcastle disease viruses and avian influenza viruses in Philippines and China, to be implemented by Philippine’s Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), and China’s Jilin University;
SinoPhil CHARRME: China-Philippines Cooperation for Harnessing and Accelerating Research and Resources on Microvesicles and Exosomes (The Development of Exosome Probe Chip as a New Technology for Diagnosis of Autoimmune Diseases), by the University of San Agustin, and Tsinghua University;
Key technological research on portable power generation based on gasification of municipal solid wastes and agricultural biomass pretreated by co-hydrothermal treatment, by the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and East China University of Science and Technology;
Research on the key technology of refined assessment of solar energy resources for photovoltaic power generation and development potential in low latitude area/Solar PV Resource and Installation Assessment Using Geospatial Technologies (Sinag), by the University of the Philippines (UP), and China Meteorological Administration Public Meteorological Service Centre;
Developing of techniques for detecting parasitic helminth infections and for alerting transmission as well as evaluation of their safety risk, by the UP Institute of Biology, and the Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital;
The development of high-performance and low-cost membrane electrode assembly for alkaline fuel-cell based on ion/electron dual conducting catalyst layers, by the UP, and the Hefei University of Technology; and
Evolutionary dynamics and phylogenetic analysis of rabies virus in the Philippines, by the DA-BAI, and the Jilin University.
Each project will be implemented for two years, and will have an annual R&D fund of up to P8 million for the Philippine side and RMB 1 million (approximately P7,537,541) for the Chinese side.
The Call for Proposals for the DOST-MOST JRP that was released in May 2020 was able to solicit a total of 37 capsule proposals from Filipino researchers all over the Philippines. Reviewed and matched with MOST, it resulted in eight proposals for funding and implementation.
In his speech during the launch, Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said following the signing of the MOU with MOST, “We at the Department, are very much excited to welcome collaborative talks and initiatives with our S&T counterparts from Yunnan, Guangxi, Jiangxi, and Shandong [in China] to work on areas of mutual interest.”
“We look forward to our continued cooperation with MOST through this JRP to address common S&T challenges of both nations, and to provide necessary collaborative platforms to our researchers—both locally, and internationally,” de la Peña said in his message, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror.
De la Peña provided an overview of the long-standing collaboration of DOST with MOST that began with the Basic Agreement on S&T that was signed in 1978, the DOST’s International Technology Cooperation Unit (ITCU) said in a news release.
It was strengthened by the recent initiatives that both Philippine and Chinese agencies have jointly undertaken, including the inaugural DOST-MOST JRP.
The Science Chief explained in his speech that the current Duterte administration is «committed» to «reinvigorate” the Philippine’s long-standing relationship with China.
President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping have earlier issued a joint statement emphasizing collaboration between the two nations’ aspiration to “explore other areas of bilateral cooperation, including IT, health, customs cooperation, research and development, education, and other fields that will be mutually beneficial to both countries.”
For her part, Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara shared during the event the S&T framework of cooperation between DOST and MOST, where the JRP figures in among possible areas of partnerships laid out in the agreement, the DOST-ITCU said.
Both Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana also graced the online event.
In his speech, Huang pointed out that the consensus of the Heads of States of the Philippines and China provides avenues for collaboration on areas of common interest particularly on science, technology and innovation systems and policies that play important roles in battling the pandemic, the DOST ITCU said.
These also include new products and technologies in biomedicine, artificial intelligence, and big data that will support the immediate post-Covid-19 recovery.
Huang further said that in the last Group of 20 summit, “Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that new businesses should leverage on strengthened cooperation on science, technology, and innovation.”
Sta. Romana echoed the same commitment of the Chinese counterparts, noting that a robust engagement on S&T, especially between the Philippines and China, is central to sustainable progress and development, the DOST-ITCU said.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Philippine Embassy in China to support and further widen the continuing S&T cooperation between the two countries.
De la Peña said: “Our hope is for these partnerships to further evolve into higher planes to include joint government research and development undertakings, scientific fora and conferences, and capacity-building activities.”
The event was also attended by DOST Assistant Secretary Dr. Leah J. Buendia for International Cooperation, DOST Councils executive directors, representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and projects’ leaders from both the Philippines and China.
Image credits: Screenshot, DOST-ITCU