Development of smart cities, quantum technology, digital transformation, advanced weather forecasting, and the facilitation of health technology assessment (HTA) initiatives were among the points of interest of the companies during the annual US-Asean Business Council 2023 Philippine Business Mission meeting held recently at a hotel in Pasay City.
The US-Asean Business Council represents over 175 US companies, including many of the world’s largest firms with operations in Southeast Asia.
During the Business Mission, senior representatives from member companies went to the Philippines to engage with priority stakeholders, reinforcing the importance of US-Philippines business relations.
With the meeting mission theme, “Forging Sustainable and Transformational Partnerships for Economic Growth,” Science Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. led the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in welcoming the opportunity to collaborate with the private sector in science, technology and innovation (STI).
The strategic partnership was expected to bring benefits, such as knowledge exchanges, technological breakthroughs and finding innovative solutions that can improve the STI efforts of the country.
For DOST, research and development projects on OneLab Network; Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program; Community Empowerment Through Science and Technology, and the areas of cooperation as outlined in the 2019 memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US-Asean Business Council were envisioned to be continued.
These involve research and development (R&D) programs focused on upgrading and supporting countryside development and empowering the poorest communities in the country through S&T interventions in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, livelihood/economic enterprise development, and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
The 2023 meeting focused on sustainable development, transformative digitalization, collaboration on innovative healthcare solutions, advanced manufacturing and supply chains, and ease of doing business.
During the business mission, the following 12 member companies expressed their interest to collaborate with DOST:
- IBM is keen to engage with DOST on quantum technology, given its prominent position as a leader in the field. Having established collaboration on quantum technology with Korea, Singapore, and India, it is prompted by the need to formulate a robust quantum strategy for the Philippines by building a quantum ecosystem and nurturing relevant skills. It acknowledged the existing strong skill foundation in the Philippines but emphasized the necessity of accelerating efforts in the quantum realm.
- MSD is open to partnering with DOST to share their experiences and best practices, contributing to the enhancement of HTA capabilities and standards. It is also committed to extend to supporting technology transfers on startups.
- Oracle is focusing on smart cities and potential collaborations with the local government units. It said it can be a strong partner in enhancing the productivity and efficiency of government service deliveries and upskilling the government’s human resources. Oracle is also keen to actively contribute in advancing R&D, and is interested in DOST’s Science for Change Program.
- Qualcomm has been engaging and having technical discussions with Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development, and Advanced Science and Technology Institute regarding 5G and CV2x. Both PCIEERD and ASTI are interested in Qualcomm serving as technical advisors and maintaining periodic interactions.
- Viatris, a global healthcare company in cardiovascular health, pain, mental health, HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis B, would like to support the plans of the DOST in the HTA research network, strengthening HTA capacity and capability building in the Philippines, and facilitating broader access to innovate medical technologies.
- Pfizer, which will have its 70th year of operation in the Philippines in 2024, emphasized their dedication to healthcare, and science and technology in the country, and are committed to support its HTA. Pfizer is also keen to share their best practices to the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines.
- SC Johnson, a global expert in pest control dedicated to protecting consumers against mosquito-borne diseases, is keen to explore a collaborative partnership with DOST to establish a technical working group.
- Roche, one of the largest biological companies globally, would like to engage in data exchange with DOST. It hopes that in HTA decision-making, DOST will consider the societal cost of diseases and their broader impact on the general population.
- KKR is one of the largest private capital investors globally. In the past five years, it has directly invested $2 billion into Philippine enterprises. Its investments include Metro Pacific Hospital, Maya, Voyager and Pinnacle Towers. It has also supported “Grow Sari” that is in delivering merchant services to sari-sari stores. KKR plans to continue to invest in the Philippines, and will await where DOST want it to invest. It is excited to build the capability for technology development in the country.
- Google is keen on fostering a partnership focused on artificial intelligence. It would like to collaborate with the DOST by partnering on Generative AI; enhancing the startup program, and supporting from Ideation to product decision.
- Salesforce have been active in the Philippines on capacity building, partnering with the Bulacan State University, Asia Pacific College and Mapua Institute of Technology. Salesforce would like to collaborate with DOST to extend its training initiatives, focusing on digital transformation, human resource development and digital governance.
- Atmo shared their positive productive experience collaborating with DOST. Atmo noted that they will sign a contract with DOST for an advanced AI-driven weather forecasting model for the Philippines.
Image credits: DOST