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DOST Renews Call for New R&D Centres in The Philippines

The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) renewed their call to universities to avail the agency’s assistance programme for them to build new niche centres or research and development (R&D) centres.

The agency’s Science for Change Programme (S4CP) was created to accelerate science, technology and innovation (STI) in the country to keep up with the developments wherein technology and innovation are game-changers. Through S4CP, the DOST can significantly create a massive increase in investment in science and technology, human resource development and R&D.

S4CP focuses on Accelerated R&D Programme for capacity building of R&D institutions and industrial competitiveness which is composed of four (4) programmes namely:

  • Niche Centres in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Programme,
  • R&D Leadership (RDLead) Programme,
  • Collaborative R&D to Leverage PH Economy (CRADLE) for RDIs and Industry Programme,
  • Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry Programme.

The agency hopes that through S4CP, the disparity in R&D funding that used to be Luzon-centric will now be spread to different parts of the country. The programme aims to give opportunities to other regions to pursue meaningful and impactful R&D.

In the NICER (Niche Centres in the Regions for R&D) programme, over 70% of the funding goes to the regions outside of NCR (National Capital Region), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) and Central Luzon. New R&D centres will begin construction this year, while others will commence next year.

About USD 11 million was allocated for these new centres:

  • Centre for Advanced Batteries for renewable energy storage and batteries for electric cars
  • Coastal Engineering Research Centre for disaster mitigation against storm surges and coastal flooding
  • Centre for polymers that aims to create industrial materials like foam and modified concrete from wastewater
  • Centre for vector-borne disease to study the insecticide resistance of mosquitos
  • Smart Water Infrastructure and Management (SWIM) R&D Centre
  • Centre for Lakes Sustainable Development
  • Centre for Environmental Technologies and Compliance

These seven new NICERs tackle energy, water resources management and polymers. The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) evaluated these centres and will monitor these projects.

Launched in 2017, NICER enables higher education institutions (HEIs) to make a significant improvement in regional research by integrating development needs with existing R&D capabilities and resources. HEIs can submit proposals and chosen ones will be provided with institutional grants for R&D capacity building and improvement of infrastructure. The DOST said that they are expecting more proposals which will be guided and monitored by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) next year.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, similarly, the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology – National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) – initiated its call for R&D proposals for 2023 funding. NRCP will start receiving project proposals at the DOST Project Management Information System (DPMIS) portal.

The NRCP continuously provides financial support to relevant fundamental/basic research and policy research with socio-economic benefits for the people to ensure that new knowledge and information are generated. NRCP has 13 areas for research which are clustered in six (6) priority areas under its National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA). Aside from generating new information or new research areas for further development, it is expected that projects also strengthen governance through the fusion of science and the arts, technology and innovation and subsequently increase productivity and ensure efficient processes in the delivery of research results for the public good.

The priority research areas and programmes of the council should be aligned to the NIBRA which is part of the existing Harmonised National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) of DOST. The six components of NIBRA are:

  1. Sustainable Community (SAKLAW Programme),
  2. Food and Nutrition Security (SAPAT Programme),
  3. Water Security (TUBIG Programme),
  4. Clean Energy (ALERT Programme),
  5. Inclusive Nation Building (ATIN Programme) and
  6. Health Sufficiency (LIKAS Programme).
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