Seven new research and development (R&D) centers based in higher education institutions will receive funding worth over P540 million from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to promote industrial competitiveness and regional development.
In a recent news release, the DOST approved seven Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (Nicer) programs under its Science for Change Program (S4CP) that will undertake quality research to spur innovation in the countryside.
Created to accelerate science, technology and innovation in the country, the Nicer program has, to date, 35 R&D centers located in 17 regions with a total funding of P1.7 billion.
“In funding these R&D Centers, the DOST-S4CP capacitates the regions to become innovation hubs,” said Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.
“By supporting R&D, we serve the academe, the local industry and the country with the entrepreneurial advancement provided to the local community,” he said.
First is the Center for Vector of Diseases at the De La Salle University (DLSU) Laguna.
Serving the health sector, DLSU Laguna will receive P26.5 million to study the insecticide resistance of mosquitoes, formulation of bio-mosquitocide against mosquito larvae and the utility of natural predators to control the mosquito population.
For the energy sector, the Center for Advanced Batteries will be put up at the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP).
In collaboration with the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, TIP will receive P142.9 million over three years to develop advanced batteries for renewable energy and electric car applications.
Third is the creation of the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) for the industry sector.
For a three-year period, MSU-IIT will receive P107.2 million to generate value-added products, such as polymer-infused concrete and foams from coconut processing by-products and nutraceutical and biomedical products from fish processing by-products.
Two programs related to disaster risk reduction and climate change will be established.
The Smart Water Infrastructure and Management R&D Center at Isabela State University (ISU) will be a collaboration with Cagayan State University and Quirino State University.
ISU will receive P77.2 million over three years to provide innovations in water management and promote disaster-resilient infrastructures.
The Coastal Engineering R&D Center at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) will be a collaboration with UP Diliman and Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University.
MMSU will receive P79.9 million for a three-year period to mitigate coastal disasters and develop strategies for coastal protection and climate change mitigation.
Sixth is the Center for Lakes Sustainable Development at the Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) in collaboration with UP Diliman.
Serving the environment sector, LSPU will receive P53.2 million to develop solutions and strategies for the effective management and sustainability of lakes.
Last is the Center for Environmental Technologies and Compliance to be put up at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in collaboration with UP Diliman and Adamson University.
PUP will receive P53.3 million for a period of two years to provide innovations in environmental technologies and support compliance of the local industries with environmental standards.
The R&D grants are given to state or private universities to upgrade their facilities, develop human resources and contribute to regional economic development.
Nicer cover niche areas and abundant commodities, such as potato at Benguet State University (Northern Philippines), crustaceans at Samar State University (Central Philippines) and renewable energy at Ateneo de Davao University (Southern Philippines).
Other S4CP funding programs include the Collaborative R&D to Leverage the Philippine Economy (CRADLE), which enables technological advancement and innovation among local companies as it supports the growth of the Philippine Innovation ecosystem. CRADLE encourages academe-industry partnership to improve a company’s products, processes and services to be more competitive.
The Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for the industry funds Filipino private companies for the acquisition of strategic and relevant technologies for their R&D undertakings.
The R&D Leadership Program (RDLead) further develops and strengthens the research capabilities of the academe, research and development institutions and other government line agencies nationwide. R&D leaders, who are local science and technology experts with strong leadership and innovative policy proficiencies, are engaged to train, direct and support their R&D goals.
“The DOST envisioned S4CP to create opportunities in advancing science, technology and innovation in the country,” said DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.
“The S4CP is a means to proportionately spread funding across all regions for capacity-building initiatives and securing partnerships across academia and industry members,” she said.