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The Philippines: International Initiatives to Drive Innovation

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The Philippines made a significant impact at the ASEAN-India Women Scientists Conclave in Singapore. The three-day event, co-organised by the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI), A*STAR and the Government of India, aimed to promote women’s connectivity in the field of science, technology, and innovation (STI) and encourage more women to engage in these areas.

Image credits: The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology

The primary goal of the three-day conclave was to strengthen cooperation in science, technology, and innovation while providing a networking platform for women scientists to contribute to the development of their respective countries and the region.

Led by DOST Undersecretary Maridon O. Sahagun, Chair of the COSTI Sub-Committee on S&T Infrastructure and Resources Development (SCIRD), the Philippine delegation included notable figures such as Dr. Ruby Anne N. King from the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), Dr. Meryl Algodon from the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), Dr. Felicidad Christina R. Penafiel from the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), and Ms. Charlene Basig, the current COSTI National Secretariat-Philippines.

Distinguished guests, including COSTI Chair-Singapore Prof. Andy Hor, Dr Anita Gupta from the Department of Science and Technology in India and key speakers from Singapore and the ASEAN Secretariat, graced the event.

Alongside counterparts from ASEAN member states and India, they engaged in discussions and knowledge sharing and explored collaborative opportunities in thematic areas like Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare, and Sustainability (Energy Solutions).

Throughout the conclave, the Philippine delegation showcased their research outputs and actively participated in plenary and breakout sessions. They shared insights on the current status and challenges faced by women in STEM fields in the ASEAN region. The event also included panel discussions and an innovation competition, fostering collaborative scientific activities among ASEAN-India women scientists.

DOST Undersecretary Sahagun emphasised the growing role of women in shaping the future of science and technology, not only in the Philippines but also across the ASEAN region and India. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this significant initiative and anticipated continued collaboration and exchange.

The ASEAN-India Women Scientists Conclave, funded by the ASEAN-India Science & Technology Development Fund (AISTDF) and the respective ASEAN Member States, serves as a significant initiative under the COSTI, facilitating collaboration and empowerment in the field of science and technology among women across the region.

Image credits: The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology

The Committee on Science, Technology & Innovation (COSTI) plays a crucial role in implementing the strategic goals outlined by the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology, and Innovation (APASTI). Its responsibilities include translating these strategic thrusts into actionable initiatives, overseeing the activities of its subsidiary bodies, raising public awareness about regional Science & Technology endeavours and their impact on economic growth, and assessing the overall progress of collaboration, including partnerships with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners and external collaborators.

DOST serves as a pivotal entity in propelling the Philippines towards its digital transformation and technological innovation goals through fostering global partnerships. With a strategic focus on collaboration, DOST actively engages with international counterparts, institutions, and organisations to leverage expertise, resources, and best practices.

DOST’s pivotal role is epitomised in the recent 1st PH-US Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology in Washington, D.C. Led by Undersecretary Leah J. Buendia, the meeting served as a platform to identify priority areas for collaboration in key sectors like OneHealth, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and more, aligning with DOST’s efforts to advance science and technology initiatives both domestically and internationally.

By forging alliances on the global stage, DOST enhances the Philippines’ capacity for innovation, accelerates technology adoption, and facilitates knowledge exchange. These partnerships fuel advancements in key sectors and position the Philippines as a competitive player in the global digital landscape, driving economic growth and societal development.

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