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DOST’s Science & Technology grants for the new normal

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is encouraging researchers and innovators to take advantage of Science and Technology for a Resilient Community against the Pandemic (STRAP) programme.

Recently launched, successful applicants could get an almost PHP 5 million grant for quick response technologies or projects that would help address the pandemic or deal with the “new normal”.

Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) Executive Director Enrico Paringit was quoted, “This programme is an invitation to researchers and innovators to provide solutions to the new normal.”

While the STRAP program was approved in June, PCIEERD started soliciting project proposals in July. Till now, eight project proposals have been received and are being evaluated. If approved, estimates put all these eight proposals at about PHP 40 million.

A total of PHP60 million was allotted for STRAP. Of this budget, less than PHP10 million was already provided for three ventilator projects of two universities and a startup company. Another PHP5 million was allotted to support testing the prototypes of other unsupported ventilator projects.

Projects under this STRAP programme normally have a one-year timeline and prototypes would be expected to be released within a year.

DOST, in the present line of thinking, does not intend to allocate a budget for STRAP program on a yearly basis and are only committed to the current PHP60 million funding to the researchers and innovators.

After the PHP60 million fund has been completely disbursed, the team would evaluate the result of research that had been supported to determine the next tranche, if any. Any fresh programme or research plans would depend on what would be the needs in the coming years with regard to Covid-19 or (the) new normal.

Meanwhile, earlier in May, DOST has announced up to PHP 5 million grant, also for research and technologies, that would help the economy adapt to the new normal after the pandemic.

The call is under the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Challenge, wherein applicants would need to formulate scientific and technical solutions that would shape the new normal for businesses.

Similarly, DOST has allotted more than PHP 36 million for projects that are address food security issues in preparation for post-COVID-19 recovery process.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that there are already 27 approved projects under the agency’s “GALING PCAARRD Kontra COVID-19” program with investments amounting to PHP 36.9 million for 2020.

Most of these projects will be from June or July to December 2020 as these are Quick Response Projects in the regions. Four out of the 27 projects have a one-year duration and will be implemented until June or July 2021.

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