Mohit:I’m here with Klaus Felsche. Klaus is a long time employee of the Australian Government who has recently decided to branch out on his own. Until recently, he headed the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s advanced analytics area.
Klaus, what do you see as the biggest opportunities for the Australian Government in ICT?
Klaus: There are many interesting developments in ICT, particularly in software and new agile approaches to taking concepts from vision to reality. Agile project management methodologies are already finding strong support in both State and Federal Government agencies. Additionally, government agencies are seeking ways to establish a culture that enables and encourages innovation.
For government the main drivers are:
- Efficiency, that is doing things with fewer resources
- Effectiveness, doing things better, delivering quality outcomes
- Accessibility, enabling access to government serves for citizens, providing better tools for its own employees
- Security, ensuring that data and systems are protected from inappropriate use.
There are many technological enablers:
- Affordable hardware and/or cloud-based platforms
- Great software including proprietary and open source
- Growing open data availability
- Communications infrastructure that is enabling connectivity and supporting mobile systems
- Exciting new technical capabilities that are emerging from a global community of innovators.
Of course, none of the above is of much benefit, unless government agencies can enlist the services of smart people: leaders, managers, technical ICT teams, data scientists and informed employees who understand their department’s strategic aims.
Mohit: Do you think the governments in Australia are in a strong position to innovate?
Klaus: This requires a slightly complex answer. The Prime Minister has made innovation a major plank in his overall strategy for a future Australia. He has strongly supported the Open Data agenda, noting that the government is in a very privileged position, as it can collect great volumes of important data from citizens and businesses. He has noted thatthe data belongs to the people of Australia and, unless there is a very good reason not to make these datasets available, they should be readily available to support the activities of citizens, entrepreneurs and the corporate sector to enable economic growth.
Another couple of examples are the West Australian Government that has a vigorous agenda aimed at consolidating data centres, using cloud-based platforms and building infrastructure designed to provide efficient access to its citizens regardless of where they live in a vast state. In New South Wales, Dr Ian Oppermann (Head of the new Data Analytics Centre) is making the most of new data sharing legislation to try and explore a number of priority challenges ranging from transport optimisation to fire and rescue response times; helping better align veteran training with regional employment demand to better understanding the drivers of demand for Social Housing.
On the down-side, however, the development is not even across government agencies. Many do not have the resources or incentives to innovate. Getting the cultural settings right is a priority but it takes time, knowledge, skills and incentives.
Many great ideas and opportunities are not progressed because they are either not ‘sold’ well or the agency is too busy with day-to-day work to make resources available.
Finally, innovation is often considered to be driven by a need. Typically in government, it is in response to a problem like client complaints, unhappy Government Ministers, a reduction in the resource base or a growth in the volume of work that needs to be done without additional resourcing. These are all great reasons to innovate but we often overlook another: positively disrupting the business by recognizing an opportunity. The first group of needs-driven innovation tends to be largely reactive; it would be great to also become proactive by seizing opportunities.
Mohit: OK, I understand the needs-driven approach you are talking about. Can you give me some examples of the opportunity-driven innovation?
Klaus: Sure. On a global scale, Apple’s iPhone was not driven by an identified need – it effectively created a brand new market segment. Interestingly, most of the elements existed. Apple’s innovation was how they glued the parts together and dropped the product into an ecosystem, some of which had already been built to wrap around the iPod.
Klaus Felsche shares his insights
Mohit: So where does the inspiration come from?
Klaus:There are clearly internal and external triggers. Common sources of great ideas are your own workforce or clients. An organization that has mechanisms to evaluate these ideas and then implement some of these to get positive business results can leverage these ideas, while also creating a culture of innovation.
A powerful technique involves monitoring developments across the world and constantly considering how these could be applied to the agency’s business. While software and hardware vendors might offer some of their latest as part of their normal relationship with an agency, relying on this channel alone is not enough in a world where new things are emerging every hour and many from non-traditional sources.
On many occasions exciting things happen in the corporate sector of industry long before being considered by government. By monitoring such developments in ICT and business, government agencies can very quickly leverage these developments for their own purpose.
The key to success is to have smart people and a way of testing and developing ideas to generate an innovating process that enhances government business.
Mohit: Just off the top of your head, can you identify some trends in global ICT and speculate how these could be applied in government?
Klaus: Well, here is a hypothetical.
We know that several government agencies run call centres to provide guidance about their product and, for some, information to clients about the status of their application/etc. We also know that technologies like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortanaand Google Nowhave been around for some time and are maturing. We also know that IBM’s Watsonis a capable platform in specific subject domains and following considerable investment in training.
Could Australian Governments implement a call centre largely ‘staffed’ by Siri(or any of the other options)? Could we replace tedious telephone trees with Siri?
This is really not new but its application in the government call centre environment is. Swiss writer Paulo Coelho noted that “once a problem is solved, it's simplicity is amazing”. It seems obvious to me that replacing most of the routine functions of a government call centre with Siri(or her sisters) is worth a serious look and perhaps somebody already is looking at it.
All that is needed is a partnership between a government agency and a technology provider, a strategy to build a prototype around the agency’s subject domain and the capacity to deploy a successful system.
By ‘deploy’, I am not just limiting this to the technical implementation but including altered business processes that leverage such a capability.
The Philippines, situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire, is uniquely susceptible to a range of natural disasters stemming from its geographical location, including typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, which render it particularly vulnerable. Nevertheless, in response to these formidable challenges, the nation has embarked on an impressive trajectory of resilience enhancement, strategically emphasising the convergence of technology and preparedness as key focal points in their efforts.
As the impact of climate and its cascading effects intensify, the Philippines’ exposure to natural hazards and the significance of resilience has surged. Recognising the limitations of traditional disaster responses, the country has shifted focus. Instead of relying solely on those methods, they’re embracing forward-thinking strategies that integrate proactive measures and technological advancements to effectively confront these challenges head-on.
The core of this transition lies in the effectiveness of the integration of technology with disaster preparedness. This fusion of innovation and readiness is indispensable in the face of ever more frequent and severe natural calamities. In an era where data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and early warning systems have reached new heights, the Philippines is leveraging these technologies to build a nation better equipped to withstand and rebound from disasters.
The Philippines’ journey towards resilience is characterised by progressive solutions built on technology. From early warning systems that provide timely alerts to communities, to advanced data analytics aiding in disaster risk reduction, the country is pioneering approaches that safeguard its people, infrastructure, and economy.
Moreover, this evolution is not contained within national borders. The Philippines acknowledges the interconnectedness of global resilience, actively participating in international collaborations and sharing its expertise to enhance global disaster preparedness.
Engr. Niñaliza H. Escorial, the Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) within the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), discusses their vision in response to the rapidly changing global landscape of emerging technologies with OpenGov Asia.
She highlights the agency’s commitment to fostering advancements in Quantum technology, agreeing that it is in a nascent development stage. In a bid to enhance capabilities, PCIEERD is actively seeking collaborative partnerships abroad, emphasising knowledge exchange and capacity-building initiatives. The first step in this endeavour involves establishing an innovation laboratory in collaboration with DOST-ASTI, dedicated to Quantum technology research and development.
Engr. Niñaliza underscores PCIEERD’s dedication to technological innovation, particularly in advanced manufacturing, which greatly supports industries engaged in prototype development. They know the significance of acquiring substantial equipment, considering it pivotal in fostering growth and bolstering competitiveness within the industrial sector.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of blockchain technology within the technological landscape, PCIEERD is actively embracing its integration into their initiatives. Their strategic adoption of blockchain aims to fortify and elevate capabilities, emphasising the assurance of heightened security, transparency, and efficiency across an array of applications and systems within their purview. This deliberate incorporation signifies a proactive step towards optimising technological frameworks and operations for enhanced performance and reliability.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD is delving into Artificial Intelligence (AI), moving beyond exploration to practical applications. The focus extends to improving administrative processes through diverse AI applications. The agency is actively seeking ways to enhance and streamline administrative functions, emphasising efficiency and effectiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza elaborates on PCIEERD’s expansive AI initiatives, spanning various sectors to highlight the transformative capacity of AI applications. The agency is actively leveraging AI to revolutionise weather forecasting, understanding the critical necessity for enhanced accuracy and timeliness in predictions. This strategic utilisation of AI underscores their commitment to addressing pressing needs through technological innovation.
“By integrating AI into weather prediction models, the agency aims to enhance preparedness and response to changing weather conditions, contributing to overall disaster resilience,” Engr Niñaliza explains.
The focus extends to the projection and management of river systems, where AI technology proves invaluable in analysing complex hydrological data. This initiative enables more accurate predictions of river behaviour, vital for mitigating the impact of floods and ensuring sustainable water resource management.
As they also see the pivotal role of AI in ensuring a stable food supply, PCIEERD is deploying innovative AI applications in agro-industry. This includes optimising resource allocation, enhancing agro-industry practices, and improving overall crop yield and quality. These initiatives align with the agency’s commitment to harnessing technology for the nation’s food security.
AI has emerged as a vital tool in traffic management systems, with PCIEERD harnessing AI algorithms for monitoring and controlling traffic. Their goal is to ease congestion, improve transportation efficiency, and play a role in creating sustainable, more livable urban environments.
Within the manufacturing sector, PCIEERD’s focus extends to the integration of sensors, a strategic move to expedite production processes. This innovative approach enhances efficiency and precision in manufacturing, ultimately increasing productivity and global competitiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza expands on PCIEERD’s deployment of AI in health monitoring projects, specifically tailored for students. This proactive strategy facilitates early intervention, fostering a healthier learning atmosphere. It underscores the convergence of technology and public health, prioritising well-being within educational settings.
She highlights their steadfast commitment to making science accessible and relatable, especially to diverse audiences, with a primary focus on students. PCIEERD’s engagement in science communication is evident in strategically designed initiatives that foster a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.
Curated exhibits and workshops serve as dynamic platforms where students actively engage with scientific principles in a hands-on and immersive manner. These initiatives aim not only to impart knowledge but also to cultivate a genuine interest in science, aligning with educational curricula while promoting curiosity and exploration.
Taking cognisance of the evolving landscape of communication, PCIEERD actively harnesses the power of social media as a dynamic channel for disseminating scientific information. Through various platforms, the agency strives to reach a broader audience, transcending geographical constraints and connecting with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
The approach to science communication on social media is characterised by clarity, simplicity, and engagement, ensuring that complex scientific concepts are presented in an accessible and understandable manner.
PCIEERD’s main objective is to democratise science communication, making it accessible to individuals at all levels of familiarity with scientific concepts. The agency aims to simplify science, translating intricate ideas into language and visuals that resonate with the general public. This approach fosters a culture of inclusivity, breaking down barriers between scientific knowledge and everyday understanding.
By prioritising science communication from the grassroots level, PCIEERD contributes to a broader societal understanding of the significance of science and technology. Through these initiatives, PCIEERD is actively bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public, fostering a more informed, engaged and scientifically literate society.
The efforts go beyond conveying information; they aim to inspire a sense of wonder and appreciation for the role of science in shaping the world.
PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts extend to studying and benchmarking different food systems around the globe, particularly in terms of food technology. By exploring and learning from a wide range of methods, the agency seeks to integrate innovative food technologies that enhance productivity, reduce waste, and promote sustainability in agro-industry.
The primary focus lies in improving methods in agro-industry, streamlining supply chains, and strengthening a resilient food system capable of tackling the challenges presented by a swiftly evolving world. Insights gained will inform effective strategies, technological applications, and policy frameworks, tailor-fitted to strengthen the Philippines’ food security measures.
Acknowledging the environmental impact of waste, particularly its movement, PCIEERD is actively engaging in international collaboration on waste management. Through shared knowledge and best practices, the agency aims to minimise the environmental footprint of waste, emphasising sustainable waste disposal methods and embracing circular economy principles.
“One strategic avenue of international collaboration involves studying guidelines, especially during pandemics,” she elaborates.
They are keenly aware of the critical importance of understanding and adapting to global best practices in managing food systems amid pandemics, PCIEERD aims to examine diverse approaches worldwide. The emphasis is on collaboration to realise the goal of innovating food security initiatives through the use of advanced technologies.
Engr Niñaliza highlights the transformative potential of food technology as an essential in the fight against food hunger in the Philippines. The agency aims not only to develop solutions but also to craft comprehensive strategies that encompass both the preservation and consumption aspects of food.
By leveraging cutting-edge advancements in food technology, PCIEERD aspires to revolutionise the production, storage, and consumption of food, with the ultimate goal of significantly mitigating hunger on a large scale.
PCIEERD’s focus on preservation extends beyond traditional methods. The agency is actively seeking to harness innovative food preservation technologies to extend the shelf life of perishable goods, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance the overall efficiency of the food supply chain.
“Through these efforts, PCIEERD aims to ensure that a greater quantity of nutritious food reaches those in need, contributing to the alleviation of hunger in local communities,” Engr Niñaliza asserts.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD recognises the crucial role of addressing consumption patterns as part of its strategy. The agency accentuates the importance of educating and engaging the public, particularly the youth, in a comprehensive awareness campaign.
This campaign aims to foster a deeper understanding of the role of food technology in daily life, making the public aware of the benefits of innovative food products and promoting sustainable and healthy dietary choices.
Considering the pivotal role of AI in shaping the future, PCIEERD is committed to fostering AI literacy, especially among the youth. Initiatives are underway to raise awareness among young stakeholders, ensuring they grasp the potential and responsible use of AI technologies.
PCIEERD aims to empower the younger generation with AI knowledge, cultivating a pool of innovators who can contribute to the development and implementation of AI solutions in diverse sectors, including addressing food security challenges.
In terms of AI, PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts encompass discourses on AI guidelines. The agency aspires to ensure that its AI initiatives align with global ethical standards and technological norms. Addressing ethical concerns related to AI is paramount, and through international collaboration, PCIEERD aims to contribute to the development of comprehensive and universally applicable guidelines.
Engr Niñaliza envisions a unified roadmap for all DOST agencies, the goal is to harmonise efforts and resources, creating a symphony of innovation across science and technology.
This blueprint aims to streamline initiatives, eliminate redundancies, and optimise resource allocation. The strategy leverages the collective expertise of each DOST agency, fostering collaboration for a greater impact on a national scale.
“By aligning priorities, the roadmap addresses critical challenges, from industry development to energy security and emerging technologies,” she says emphatically. “The holistic approach ensures that advancements in one sector enhance progress in others, creating a ripple effect of positive change.”
This vision fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down silos to adapt swiftly to emerging trends. The goal is to position the Philippines as a dynamic force in the global scientific community.
Engr Niñaliza’s dream for DOST-PCIEERD is one of convergence, collaboration, and collective impact. Guided by a shared roadmap, the vision propels the nation forward into a future where the transformative power of science and technology uplifts every aspect of Filipino society. Through this unified approach, DOST-PCIEERD actively crafts a legacy of innovation for generations to come.
Being the first female deputy at PCIEERD, Engr Niñaliza sees her role as a testament to the agency’s strides in inclusivity and merit appreciation. With 35 years of dedicated service, her journey reflects a commitment to progress and witnessed significant improvements in the research and development system.
Rising through the ranks, she brings valuable insights, navigating the dynamic field with a comprehensive understanding of internal workings. Notable is the evolution in research and development, marked by a commitment to innovation. PCIEERD’s culture values forward-thinking approaches, staying at the forefront of technological advancements and expanding horizons in industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
PCIEERD embraces upskilling, ensuring the team remains adaptable and proficient in the latest tools and methodologies. Innovative processes, from project conceptualisation to execution, streamline approaches and position the agency as a dynamic entity within the DOST framework.
The collective journey strengthens PCIEERD, equipping it to fulfil its mandate with resilience. Engr Niñaliza takes pride in contributing to this positive trajectory and looks forward to advancements through continued innovation, upskilling, and excellence in research and development.
PCIEERD’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship is demonstrated by the ambitious goal of funding 20 startups annually with a dedicated budget of PHP5 million (SG$135,000). This initiative injects vitality into the local startup ecosystem, fostering technological advancements, economic growth, and job creation.
Inclusivity is a core focus, with dedicated programmes for women empowerment in entrepreneurship. Through Women Helping Women initiatives, PCIEERD addresses challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, providing support, mentorship, and financial assistance. Gender diversity is celebrated in STEM fields, breaking down barriers and inspiring the next generation of women.
PCIEERD’s commitment goes well beyond financial support, creating networking opportunities, mentorship programmes, and platforms for knowledge exchange. By addressing gender disparities and championing diversity, PCIEERD enriches the overall fabric of innovation and progress in society.
The advice given by Engr Niñaliza to anyone aiming for success, regardless of gender or background, is based on the conviction that dedication to ongoing learning and personal development is necessary to realise one’s greatest potential.
“It’s imperative to align your efforts with your strengths and passions, doing what you excel at and what truly ignites your enthusiasm,” she asserts. “Success often follows when we are dedicated to refining our skills and staying open to new knowledge.”
Engr Niñaliza has seen firsthand the transformative power of setting clear goals and persistently working towards S&T, as she progressed from a technical role to becoming the first female deputy of DOST PCIEERD. It emphasises the significance of having a clear direction and a road map for professional and personal goals.
Learning, according to her should be an ongoing process that is not limited by age or stage of career. The pursuit of knowledge and skill enhancement should be constant, whether in technical or administrative roles. Individuals who adopt this mindset are better able to adapt to changing challenges and remain relevant in their respective fields.
Engr Nializa understands the importance of recognising burnout and the need for periodic recovery. In the pursuit of success, it is critical to pay attention to one’s well-being and know when a break is required. Recovering from burnout enables rejuvenation and renewed focus, laying the groundwork for long-term success.
Her experience exemplifies the philosophy of pursuing excellence through passion alignment, continuous learning, and resilience.
“By maintaining a clear goal, staying dedicated to improvement, and understanding the importance of self-care, individuals can navigate their unique paths to success, contributing meaningfully to their fields and making a lasting impact on their personal and professional journeys,” Engr Niñaliza ends passionately.
Sebagai salah satu negara yang terletak di cincin Asia Pasifik, atau yang dikenal sebagai Cincin Api, Filipina menghadapi tantangan unik terkait ketahanan bencana. Terletak di tepi lempeng tektonik yang sangat aktif, gempa bumi seringkali terjadi di Filipina. Beberapa gempa tersebut diakibatkan oleh letusan gunung berapi ataupun badai tropis yang melanda wilayah ini.
Dengan geografi yang rentan terhadap berbagai ancaman bencana alam yang dapat terjadi sewaktu-waktu, pemerintah Filipina secara proaktif bekerja untuk meningkatkan kesiapsiagaan dan ketahanan mereka terhadap bencana. Melalui berbagai inisiatif dan program, Filipina berusaha membangun fondasi yang tangguh untuk melindungi penduduknya dan merespons dengan cepat setiap kali bencana melanda.
Salah satu aspek krusial dari upaya ini adalah dengan membangun langkah-langkah preventif dalam menghadapi gejala-gejala bencana alam. Sebagai perwakilan dari lembaga riset terkemuka di Filipina, Engr Niñaliza H Escorial selaku Deputy Executive Director di Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) Department of Science and Technology (DOST), mencanangkan pendekatan yang efektif melalui integrasi teknologi.
Engr Niñaliza mengatakan bahwa kemajuan teknologi memainkan peran vital dalam penguatan kesiapsiagaan Filipina terhadap bencana alam. “Kami percaya bahwa teknologi memiliki potensi besar untuk meningkatkan sistem peringatan dini, memantau anomali cuaca, dan memberikan data real-time kepada petugas penanggulangan bencana,” ungkapnya.
Dalam pandangan Engr Niñaliza, integrasi teknologi tidak hanya mencakup penggunaan sensor dan perangkat keras canggih, tetapi juga pengembangan perangkat lunak cerdas yang dapat menganalisis data dengan cepat dan memberikan informasi yang relevan. Hal ini dianggap krusial untuk memberikan wawasan yang lebih baik kepada petugas bencana, memungkinkan mereka mengambil keputusan yang lebih tepat waktu dan efektif.
Tantangan lingkungan, termasuk perubahan iklim, juga diperhatikan dalam upaya Filipina untuk meningkatkan ketahanan mereka. Melalui kebijakan dan program berkelanjutan dari integrasi teknologi, Engr Niñaliza optimis untuk mengurangi dan mempersiapkan kesiapsiagaan bencana alam yang dapat terjadi kapanpun. OpenGov Asia melalui rangakaian ini, berkesempatan untuk menilik lebih jauh terkait kesiapsiagaan Filipina dalam menghadapi bencana alam yang menjadi ancaman bagi negaranya, menggunakan teknologi dan kemampuan penelitian riset yang modern.
Peran Teknologi dalam Upaya Ketahanan Filipina
Engr Niñaliza selaku Deputy Executive Director di Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) Department of Science and Technology (DOST)menggarisbawahi komitmen PCIEERD dalam meningkatkan kemajuan dalan teknologi quantum. Dalam tekadnya untuk memperkaya kemampuan dan kapasitasnya, PCIEERD dengan giat menjalin kerjasama dengan mitra internasional. Kemitraan ini diharapkan mendorong pertukaran pengetahuan dan inovasi, terutama dalam konteks Filipina.
Langkah awal dalam kolaborasi ini mencakup pendirian laboratorium dan kerjasama erat dengan DOST-ASTI. Laboratorium tersebut bertujuan untuk penelitian dan pengembangan teknologi kuantum, menjadi langkah strategis yang dapat diimplementasikan bersama untuk meningkatkan pengembangan ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi di Filipina. Dengan berfokus pada upaya bersama, PCIEERD membuka peluang untuk memperluas jaringan kolaboratifnya dan memajukan inovasi teknologi kuantum demi kemajuan ilmiah dan teknologi di wilayah tersebut.
Menurut Engr Niñaliza, komitmen PCIEERD juga meluas kepada sektor manufaktur, terutama industri-industri yang membutuhkan pengembangan prototype. Perolehan alat-alat besar dianggap sebagai langkah strategis yang memiliki dampak terhadap pertumbuhan dan daya saing sektor industri. Investasi ini tidak hanya memberikan kontribusi signifikan terhadap efisiensi operasional, tetapi juga memainkan peran kunci dalam membentuk lanskap kompetitif industri.
Selain prioritas yang telah disebutkan, PCIEERD mengakui blockchain merupakan hal legit lainnya dalam pengembangan lanskap teknologi. Integrasi teknologi blockchain ke dalam inisiatif mereka diharapkan dapat meningkatkan kemampuan, memastikan keamanan, transparansi, dan efisiensi di berbagai aplikasi.
Sementara itu, PCIEERD juga tengah menjelajahi dan menggali lebih dalam potensi teknologi kecerdasan buatan (AI). Pendekatan mereka mencakup berbagai upaya untuk meningkatkan proses administratif melalui integrasi beragam aplikasi AI. Langkah-langkah ini bertujuan tidak hanya untuk meningkatkan efisiensi operasional, tetapi juga merangsang inovasi dalam penanganan tugas-tugas administratif.
Melalui eksplorasi teknologi AI, PCIEERD berkomitmen untuk memperkenalkan solusi yang memanfaatkan kecerdasan buatan secara optimal, menciptakan lingkungan yang lebih cerdas dan adaptif dalam pelaksanaan tugas-tugas administratif di berbagai tingkatan. Kehadiran AI dalam berbagai proses administratif diharapkan dapat membawa dampak positif yang signifikan dalam peningkatan kinerja dan produktivitas.
Engr Niñaliza menyoroti berbagai langkah strategis yang telah diambil oleh PCIEERD di berbagai sektor. Fokusnya terutama terletak pada penggunaan kecerdasan buatan (AI) dalam melakukan peramalan cuaca. Inisiatif ini bertujuan untuk membantu memprediksi cuaca secara objektif, dengan merinci tanda-tanda yang muncul untuk meningkatkan akurasi dan keandalan dalam pemahaman kondisi atmosfer. Melalui integrasi AI dalam peramalan cuaca, PCIEERD berupaya meningkatkan kemampuan prediktifnya, memberikan informasi yang lebih terperinci dan dapat diandalkan kepada masyarakat, serta mendukung berbagai sektor yang bergantung pada pemahaman cuaca yang akurat.
Cuaca menjadi penentu utama dalam mengamati dan menganalisis gejala bencana alam. Penggunaan teknologi kecerdasan buatan (AI) dalam peramalan cuaca oleh PCIEERD memberikan dimensi baru dalam upaya pencegahan dan mitigasi risiko bencana alam. Dengan memahami dinamika atmosfer dan pola cuaca secara lebih canggih, lembaga ini tidak hanya dapat memberikan peringatan dini yang lebih akurat, tetapi juga mengidentifikasi potensi bencana dengan lebih presisi.
Penerapan AI dalam peramalan cuaca tidak hanya memperluas kapasitas prediktif, tetapi juga menciptakan kesempatan untuk mengembangkan strategi adaptasi yang lebih efektif. PCIEERD berusaha tidak hanya menjadi pemimpin dalam menyediakan informasi cuaca yang andal, tetapi juga menjadi motor penggerak dalam membentuk kebijakan yang berbasis pada pemahaman yang lebih mendalam terhadap kondisi atmosfer. Dengan demikian, lembaga ini memainkan peran krusial dalam upaya perlindungan masyarakat dan aset-asetnya dari potensi dampak bencana alam.
“Dengan pengintegrasian AI kepada model prediksi cuaca, PCIEERD ingin meningkatkan kesiapan dalam merespons perubahan terhadap perubahan cuaca, sehingga dapat berkontribusi terhdapa ketahanan bencana alam secara menyeluruh,” pungkas Engr Niñaliza.
PCIEERD terus menggagas inovasi di berbagai sektor, salah satunya dalam pengembangan sistem pengairan sungai. Penggunaan teknologi kecerdasan buatan (AI) dalam konteks ini membuktikan kemampuannya untuk menyederhanakan analisis data yang kompleks. Inisiatif ini menghasilkan informasi yang akurat terkait karakteristik sungai, menjadi langkah strategis dan vital dalam merancang strategi preventif terhadap banjir dan manajemen sumber daya air.
Dengan menerapkan teknologi AI dalam analisis data sungai, PCIEERD dapat dengan cepat dan efisien mengidentifikasi pola perilaku sungai, mengukur aliran air, dan mendeteksi perubahan lingkungan sepanjang sungai. Hal ini memberikan dasar yang kuat untuk pengembangan strategi preventif yang lebih terfokus dan responsif terhadap kondisi sungai yang berubah-ubah.
Keakuratan data yang dihasilkan oleh teknologi AI tidak hanya mendukung upaya preventif terhadap banjir, tetapi juga memberikan landasan yang kokoh untuk manajemen sumber daya air secara keseluruhan. Pemahaman ini nantinya akan memberikan PCIEERD wawasan dalam merancang kebijakan air yang berkelanjutan, mengoptimalkan distribusi air, dan mendukung ketersediaan air yang berkelanjutan bagi masyarakat dan industri.
Dalam industri ketahanan pangan sendiri, PCIEERD menggunakan inovasi AI guna memperlancar kinerja agrikultur. Pengaplikasian tersebut mencakup di antaranya untuk mengoptimasi alokasi sumber daya, meningkatkan kinerja operasional agrikultur, dan meningkatkan kualitas hasil panen. Inisiatif-inisiatif tersebut menunjukkan ambisi PCIEERD dalam menginisiasi teknologi terhadap ketahanan pangan.
Di samping itu, kecerdasan buatan (AI) telah terbukti memainkan peran yang sangat penting dalam pengembangan sistem manajemen lalu lintas. PCIEERD aktif menggunakan algoritma AI untuk pemantauan dan pengendalian lalu lintas, dengan tujuan jelas untuk mengurangi kemacetan, meningkatkan efisiensi transportasi, dan memberikan kontribusi positif pada penciptaan lingkungan perkotaan yang lebih berkelanjutan dan nyaman bagi penduduknya.
Melalui penerapan teknologi AI dalam sistem manajemen lalu lintas, PCIEERD berusaha menciptakan solusi yang lebih pintar dan adaptif. Algoritma AI dapat dengan cepat merespons perubahan lalu lintas secara real-time, memberikan kemampuan untuk mengoptimalkan aliran kendaraan dan mengidentifikasi solusi terbaik untuk mengatasi masalah kemacetan.
Dalam sektor pendidikan, Engr Niñaliza menekankan komitmen mendalam PCIEERD untuk menciptakan ilmu pengetahuan yang dapat diakses oleh semua, terutama bagi mereka yang mungkin tidak memiliki akses yang memadai. Keterlibatan aktif PCIEERD dalam komunikasi ilmiah tercermin dalam inisiatif-inisiatif yang dirancang secara strategis untuk memperdalam pemahaman konsep ilmiah, seperti melakukan pameran lokakarya.
Pameran dan lokakarya yang disusun dengan cermat bukan hanya menjadi tempat untuk menyampaikan informasi, melainkan juga berfungsi sebagai platform dinamis di mana siswa tidak hanya menerima pengetahuan secara pasif, tetapi juga secara aktif terlibat dengan prinsip-prinsip ilmiah secara langsung dan mendalam. Inisiatif-inisiatif ini memberikan pengalaman langsung yang memungkinkan siswa menjelajahi, menciptakan, dan mendalami pemahaman mereka terkait ilmu pengetahuan yang ingin mereka jelajahi.
Upaya ini lebih dari sekadar menyampaikan informasi, akan tetapi, hal ini juga bertujuan untuk membangkitkan apresiasi terhadap peran ilmu pengetahuan dalam membentuk dunia
Mengingat peran kunci AI dalam membentuk masa depan, PCIEERD berkomitmen untuk mengembangkan literasi AI, khususnya di kalangan generasi muda. Sejumlah inisiatif sedang dilakukan untuk meningkatkan kesadaran di kalangan pemangku kepentingan muda, memastikan bahwa mereka memahami potensi dan penggunaan kecerdasan buatan secara bertanggung jawab.
PCIEERD mengakui bahwa pemahaman mendalam tentang AI sangat penting untuk mempersiapkan generasi mendatang menghadapi era teknologi yang terus berkembang. Dengan berfokus pada literasi AI, lembaga ini bertujuan untuk membekali pemuda dengan pengetahuan dan keterampilan yang diperlukan untuk berpartisipasi secara efektif dalam dunia yang semakin terhubung dan tergantung pada kecerdasan buatan.
Inisiatif ini melibatkan serangkaian program pendidikan, seminar, dan kampanye sosial untuk memperluas pemahaman generasi muda tentang konsep, aplikasi, dan dampak kecerdasan buatan. Selain itu, fokus pada penggunaan kecerdasan buatan yang bertanggung jawab dan etis menjadi bagian integral dari upaya ini, memastikan bahwa generasi muda tidak hanya menjadi pengguna yang mahir, tetapi juga paham akan implikasi etis yang terkait.
Dengan mendekati literasi AI secara holistik, PCIEERD menciptakan landasan yang kuat untuk menciptakan lingkungan di mana pemuda dapat berinovasi, berkolaborasi, dan mengembangkan solusi berbasis kecerdasan buatan yang berkelanjutan. Dengan demikian, lembaga ini berperan aktif dalam membentuk generasi yang memahami dan mengoptimalkan potensi teknologi AI untuk kebaikan bersama dan masa depan yang berkelanjutan.
Perjalanan Transformasi Teknologi Filipina
Engr Niñaliza mencoba untuk memvisualisasikan sebuah kerangka untuk PCIEERD guna menyelaraskan upaya dan sumber daya, sehingga dapat menciptakan keselarasan inovasi di bidang sains. Rencana ini bertujuan untuk menyederhanakan langkah inisitaif, mengurangi redundansi, dan mengoptimalkan alokasi sumber daya. Tentunya, strategi ini memanfaatkan keahlian kolektif setiap agensi DOST, memupuk kolaborasi untuk dampak yang lebih besar secara nasional.
Melalui visinya ini, Engr Niñaliza tidak hanya menginginkan penyelarasan internal di PCIEERD, tetapi juga integrasi yang erat dengan setiap agensi DOST. Ia meyakini bahwa keberhasilan tidak hanya dapat dicapai melalui keahlian individu, tetapi juga melalui kolaborasi yang kuat di tingkat nasional. Rencananya adalah dengan menghubungkan potensi unik masing-masing agensi demi menciptakan dampak yang signifikan dalam panorama inovasi nasional.
“Kita dapat mencapai lebih banyak dengan berkolaborasi, menggabungkan kekuatan dan keahlian kami,” katanya mantap. Strategi ini tidak hanya sebatas perencanaan, melainkan komitmen mendalam untuk menciptakan perubahan positif yang bersifat menyeluruh.
Pendekatan holistik Engr Niñaliza dalam menciptakan hubungan timbal balik antara berbagai sektor dapat memastikan bahwa setiap kemajuan di satu bidang memberikan dorongan bagi perkembangan di bidang lain. Ini adalah pendekatan yang melibatkan pengetahuan kolektif, membawa sains dan teknologi ke tingkat yang lebih tinggi melalui sinergi yang kuat.
Visi ini tidak hanya tentang penyelarasan sumber daya, tetapi juga penciptaan efek domino perubahan positif yang meluas. Engr Niñaliza memandang rencananya sebagai fondasi untuk kolaborasi lintas disiplin, menyingkirkan hambatan-hambatan yang mungkin menghambat inovasi. Dengan ini, dia bertujuan untuk menempatkan Filipina sebagai pusat inovasi sains dan teknologi yang berkembang di panggung global.
Impian Engr Niñaliza untuk DOST-PCIEERD adalah menciptakan konvergensi, kolaborasi, dan dampak bersama terhadap Filipina. Melalui perencanaan yang realistis dengan menggunakan integrasi teknologi, visi ini dapat mendorong bangsa ke masa depan. Impiannya tersebut menunjukkan bahwa DOST-PCIEERD tidak hanya fokus pada pencapaian singkat, tetapi pada warisan inovasi yang akan memperkaya Filipina untuk generasi mendatang.
Sebagai wanita pertama yang menjabat sebagai deputi direktur di PCIEERD, Engr Niñaliza melihat perannya sebagai bukti kemajuan lembaga dalam inklusivitas dan pengakuan prestasi berdasarkan jasa. Dengan 35 tahun pengabdian, perjalanannya mencerminkan komitmen pada kemajuan signifikan dalam sistem penelitian dan pengembangan.
Melalui perjalanan karirnya, Engr Niñaliza secara konsisten memberikan kontribusi yang signifikan pada pengembangan inovasi riset dan sains di Filipina. Pengalamannya menjadi pilar utama dalam membentuk evolusi penelitian dan pengembangan, membawa mereka ke garis depan kemajuan teknologi di negara ini.
Transformasi yang terjadi dalam bidang penelitian dan pengembangan di bawah kepemimpinannya tidak hanya memperluas cakrawala di berbagai sektor, tetapi juga menciptakan fondasi yang kuat untuk pertumbuhan industri, ketahanan energi, dan kemajuan teknologi secara masif. Langkah-langkah inovatif yang diambilnya telah memberikan dampak positif yang terlihat dalam upaya mencapai keunggulan teknologi di Filipina.
Engr Niñaliza bukan hanya pemimpin di ranah teknologi, tetapi juga sosok yang memahami betapa pentingnya kolaborasi dan integrasi ilmu pengetahuan. Inisiatifnya tidak hanya berkutat pada peningkatan efisiensi dan produktivitas, tetapi juga pada menciptakan ekosistem di mana ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi dapat berkembang harmonis, memberikan kontribusi pada kemajuan nasional.
Pada saat yang sama, perannya dalam membuka peluang bagi penelitian dan pengembangan yang inovatif memberikan landasan untuk menghadapi tantangan masa depan. Keberhasilan dalam memimpin perubahan ini adalah hasil dari dedikasi 35 tahunnya dan pemahamannya yang mendalam terhadap dinamika lapangan penelitian.
Komitmen PCIEERD terhadap inovasi dan kewirausahaan ditunjukkan oleh tujuan ambisius untuk mendanai 20 startup setiap tahun dengan anggaran khusus sebesar PHP5 juta (US$135,000). Inisiatif ini berhasil menyuntikkan vitalitas ke dalam ekosistem startup lokal, memupuk kemajuan teknologi, pertumbuhan ekonomi, serta berhasil dalam melakukan penciptaan lapangan kerja.
Selain itu, Engr Niñaliza menekankan bahwa inklusivitas harus menjadi fokus utama. Dengan program pemberdayaan perempuan dalam kewirausahaan, melalui inisiatif Women Helping Women, PCIEERD mengatasi tantangan yang dihadapi oleh pengusaha perempuan, memberikan dukungan, bimbingan, dan bantuan keuangan. Diversitas gender dirayakan di bidang STEM, meruntuhkan hambatan dan menginspirasi generasi berikutnya dari perempuan.
Komitmen PCIEERD melampaui dukungan keuangan, menciptakan peluang jaringan, program bimbingan, dan platform pertukaran pengetahuan. Dengan mengatasi disparitas gender dan mendukung keberagaman, PCIEERD memperkaya struktur inovasi dan kemajuan dalam masyarakat.
Saran yang diberikan oleh Engr Niñaliza kepada siapa pun yang bertujuan untuk sukses, tanpa memandang gender atau latar belakang, didasarkan pada keyakinan bahwa dedikasidalam pembelajaran dan pengembangan pribadi diperlukan untuk menggali potensi terbesar seseorang.
“Penting untuk menyelaraskan usaha Anda dengan kekuatan dan hasrat Anda, melakukan apa yang Anda lakukan dengan baik dan benar-benar memantik semangat Anda. Kesuksesan sering datang ketika kita berkomitmen untuk menyempurnakan keterampilan kita dan tetap terbuka terhadap pengetahuan baru,” katanya dengan yakin.
Engr Niñaliza telah melihat sendiri kekuatan transformatif dari menetapkan tujuan yang jelas dan bekerja keras menuju S&T, saat ia berkembang dari peran teknis menjadi deputi direktur wanita pertama DOST PCIEERD. Ini menekankan pentingnya memiliki arah yang jelas dan peta jalan untuk tujuan profesional dan pribadi.
Menurutnya, pembelajaran harus menjadi proses berkelanjutan yang tidak terbatas oleh usia atau tahap karir. Pengejaran pengetahuan dan peningkatan keterampilan harus konstan, baik dalam peran teknis maupun administratif. Individu yang mengadopsi pola pikir ini lebih baik mampu beradaptasi dengan tantangan yang berubah dan tetap relevan dalam bidang mereka masing-masing.
Engr Niñaliza memahami pentingnya mengenali kelelahan dan kebutuhan pemulihan berkala. Dalam mencapai kesuksesan, sangat penting untuk memperhatikan kesejahteraan diri dan mengenali kapan diperlukan istirahat. Pemulihan dari kelelahan memberikan kesegaran dan fokus yang baru, membentuk dasar untuk kesuksesan jangka panjang.
Pengalamannya mencerminkan filosofi mengejar keunggulan melalui keselarasan hasrat, pembelajaran berkelanjutan, dan ketangguhan.
“Dengan mempertahankan tujuan yang jelas, tetap berkomitmen untuk perbaikan, dan memahami pentingnya perawatan diri, individu dapat menjelajahi jalur unik mereka menuju kesuksesan, memberikan kontribusi dengan berarti pada bidang mereka, dan memberikan dampak yang langgeng pada perjalanan pribadi dan profesional mereka,” kata Engr Niñaliza dengan penuh semangat.
In a thorough report by the National AI Centre, Australia is poised to solidify its stance as a global frontrunner in Artificial Intelligence (AI) by strategically transforming cutting-edge AI research into lucrative commercial prospects.
Termed “Australia’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem – Catalysing an AI Industry”, the report delves into a comprehensive analysis, empowering businesses, investors, government bodies, and research institutions with the latest insights to propel Australia’s AI landscape forward.
Published during the inaugural AI Month in Australia, the report, commissioned by the National AI Centre, housed within CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency), highlights a significant revelation: while Australia contributes 1.6% of global AI research, only 0.2% of global AI patents originate from within the country. Securing patents for indigenous research becomes pivotal in harnessing Australia’s innovations, amplifying its global competitiveness on the AI frontier.
Stela Solar, Director of the National AI Centre, emphasises the imperative to capitalise on the immense $13 trillion AI opportunity. Solar advocates for patenting, commercialisation, and application of Australia’s groundbreaking research towards solving domestic and global challenges.
She believes, “This strategic move could elevate Australia’s international standing, entice investments, foster talent development, and cultivate nascent sectors and employment avenues.”
Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Chief Research Consultant at CSIRO’s Data61 and lead author of the report, identifies a critical strategy: pinpointing and fortifying Australia’s AI specialities to bolster its global market edge.
Hajkowicz asserts, “Australia’s AI ecosystem is rapidly evolving, presenting opportunities for specialisation and diversification. Our focus should revolve around applying innovative AI in domains where Australia already leads on a global scale.”
The report delineates 31 potential application domains, pinpointing areas for Australia to become a prominent AI innovator and exporter. Notably, these areas span diverse sectors such as livestock production, medical technology, horticulture, optometry, and dermatology.
Dr Alexandra Bratanova, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61 and report co-author, emphasises the significance of nurturing AI innovation hubs tailored to specific industries. “Domestically nurtured AI solutions often align more closely with our values of safe and responsible AI products. These solutions can be customised to domestic needs and uphold higher quality standards compared to those offered by large international AI providers,” says Dr. Bratanova.
The report uncovers compelling findings:
- Australia hosts 544 AI companies, placing it on par with global AI leaders like Canada.
- Over the past decade, 396 AI companies have emerged, with 204 established in the last five years, representing a 7.7% year-on-year growth.
- Predominantly, these companies focus on data services, developing and optimising AI capabilities, particularly in data analysis and management.
- The AI companies exhibit geographic clustering, with eight prominent hotspots across cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, housing 54% (296) of these enterprises.
Moreover, the report includes insights gleaned from consultations with 28 stakeholders within Australia’s AI ecosystem. Representatives from companies pioneering AI technologies, government agencies, and research institutions have contributed valuable perspectives.
Australia stands at a pivotal juncture, armed with cutting-edge AI research and burgeoning industry clusters. By strategically harnessing these strengths, the nation can propel itself to the forefront of global AI innovation, fostering economic growth, job creation, and technological advancement.
The report arrives amid escalating apprehensions regarding AI’s potential misuse. The widespread impact of AI raises pressing copyright concerns that encompass various facets, including the data utilised for training AI models, the transparency surrounding AI’s inputs and outputs, the emergence of imitative works generated by AI, and the intricate discussions regarding copyright safeguarding for creations produced by AI.
To address challenges posed by AI on copyright issues, the Australian government launched a dedicated copyright and AI reference group. This initiative aims to proactively anticipate and navigate the intricate web of copyright concerns brought about by the proliferation of AI technology.
As a vital arm of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) holds a pivotal role as one of the three sectoral planning councils within the organisation.
Founded on 29 June 2010, PCIEERD is distinguished by its unique commitment to driving research and development initiatives, particularly in the industries, energy, and emerging technology sectors.
Functioning as a pivotal agency, DOST-PCIEERD takes a central role in crafting policies, plans, and programmes, along with implementing strategies in the designated sectors. The execution of these initiatives is facilitated through a spectrum of Science and Technology (S&T) programmes designed to promote innovation and progress.
Encompassing a broad spectrum, DOST-PCIEERD extends research and development (R&D) support across 21 sectors, broadly categorised under industry, energy, emerging technology, and special concerns.
The council plays a crucial role in disseminating and promoting S&T information, undertaking sustained programmes for information dissemination. This proactive approach aims to enhance the accessibility and utilisation of information and research results by the diverse array of customers and stakeholders associated with the sectors.
In its commitment to fostering growth, DOST-PCIEERD dedicates efforts to developing and enhancing R&D and support capabilities. This forward-looking perspective ensures the fulfilment of present and future human resource and institutional requirements.
Moreover, the council actively contributes to technological advancement by adopting, transferring, and commercialising available technologies. In doing so, DOST-PCIEERD plays a vital role in propelling the nation’s scientific and technological landscape towards greater heights.
Driving Innovation and Industry Development
In an exclusive interview with OpenGov Asia, Dr Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, sheds light on compelling projects that underscore the council’s significant influence on research and development in the realms of industry, energy, and emerging technology.
At the forefront of catalysing research and development in the Philippines, DOST-PCIEERD has been a driving force behind diverse programmes and initiatives. Launched in 2015, the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP) has emerged as a cornerstone, playing a pivotal role in the expansion or modernisation of academic and research institutions.
Under the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP), DOST-PCIEERD has actively spearheaded initiatives encompassing the acquisition of cutting-edge laboratory facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, and specialised software. Between 2015 to 2023, this strategic investment, totalling Php234.4 million (S$6.31 million), has yielded transformative outcomes, facilitating the establishment and enhancement of 49 laboratories across the nation. This concerted effort reflects the commitment to fortify research capabilities and foster innovation within academic and research institutions.
In line with the DOST Halal Policy, the DOST Halal S&T Programme was initiated to support the development of the Halal industry. This programme focuses on research and development, technology transfer, human resource development, and Halal verification through laboratory testing. Additionally, efforts have been directed towards fortifying the Filipino Halal sector to meet global benchmarks, enhance competitiveness, and improve research and development.
Dr Enrico explains that the Food Safety Programme, Food Innovation Centres, and Natural Dyes facilities have been established to strengthen the food industry and improve the living standards of Filipino people. The commitment extends to bolstering the country’s manufacturing industry by providing cutting-edge facilities for specialised testing, designing, and research and development in key sectors like food, electronics, and materials.
Under the OneLab Programme, regional testing facilities have been consolidated into a unified network, providing easy access to a global network of public and private laboratories for analytical and calibration needs. This initiative promotes collaboration among students, researchers, and industry stakeholders, with information accessible through the onelab.ph website.
The National Metrology Laboratory (NML) leads metrology efforts in the Philippines and has achieved international recognition. However, continued support is required for the expansion of Calibration and Measurement Capabilities (CMCs) to maintain competence globally.
Dr Enrico reveals that the establishment of the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) marks the country’s first electronics design facility, aimed at reinforcing and upgrading failure analysis and materials testing facilities to attract potential investors and promote a conducive business environment.
The Electronics Product Development Centre (EPDC) serves as the national testing facility, providing design, prototyping, and testing facilities for printed circuit boards. The goal is to support companies and schools in developing hardware and software for electronics products.
The Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMCen), on the other hand, has been established as the national centre of excellence in additive manufacturing, focusing on areas like Aerospace and Defense, Pharmaceutical/Healthcare, Novel Electronics, Agriculture, and Automotive.
In addition, the renewable energy projects include a micro-hydro turbine research and testing facility in Morong, Rizal, supporting off-grid electrification for communities. The Mindanao Renewable Energy Centre (MREC) focuses on Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Ocean Renewable Energy (ORE) facilities, aiming to harness energy from solar power and simulate tidal and wave characteristics.
To serve as a bridge between R&D and commercialisation, the Funding Assistance for Spin-off and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialisation (FASTRAC) Programme supports technologies such as USHER, CharM, FISH_I, Smart Surface, CATCH-ALL, Marine Nanocoat, Monascus Red Colorant, Fruitect, HormoGroe, Gitara ni Juan, X-LIPAD, MapX, Vigormin, and others.
Embedded in the ethos of DOST, a circular economy mindset takes centre stage, underscoring a dedication to initiatives that champion environmental stewardship and optimal resource utilisation. Positioned as a key tenet within the DOST framework, this pledge manifests in the backing of projects geared towards converting waste materials into valuable and sustainable resources.
A notable example is the successful initiative led by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), wherein an in-depth analysis of dredged material from the Tullahan River was undertaken to investigate alternative applications. This project exemplifies a forward-thinking strategy in tackling environmental issues by repurposing materials that would otherwise contribute to waste, showcasing a commitment to sustainable solutions and resourcefulness.
The University of Mindanao is leading another remarkable sustainable initiative, centring on the transformation of durian rinds into 3D printing filaments. This inventive project not only addresses waste reduction but also taps into the potential of agricultural by-products, underscoring a steadfast commitment to sustainability and resource optimisation.
“At the core of our mission, we prioritise environmental sustainability, ensuring that our operations, activities, and programmes are conducted with a steadfast commitment to minimising adverse impacts on the environment,” Dr Enrico states.
Recognising the importance of ecological responsibility, PCIERRD incorporates environmental considerations as a pivotal metric in the assessment of proposals. This approach underscores its unwavering commitment to nurturing initiatives that adhere to the principles of environmental conservation and responsible stewardship.
Dedicated to environmental stewardship, the agency proactively pursues a science and technology roadmap for tackling and mitigating challenges related to waste management. Under the leadership of Dr Enrico, PCIERRD aims to assume a pivotal role in shaping sustainable practices that advocate for the responsible use and disposal of resources.
Demonstrating a responsible use of resources through its life cycle, PCIERRD fulfils its mandate to actively support the Clean Air Act (RA8749). By championing the implementation of this key legislation, the agency contributes significantly to promoting clean air standards and mitigating air pollution, aligning its efforts with broader initiatives that prioritise the health of both the environment and local communities.
“Through these multifaceted approaches, we strive to be proactive stewards of the environment, integrating sustainability principles into the fabric of the industrial operations; thereby promoting responsible practices within the realm of science and technology,” Dr Enrico emphasises.
The success of PCIERRD can be attributed in part to its ability to develop talent and inspire upcoming researchers and innovators to advance the country’s technological frontiers. In 2017, the country witnessed the launch of the Young Innovators Programme (YIP), designed as an inclusive platform for highly talented high school students aspiring to gain research experience.
The programme invites these young minds to gain experience in research under the guidance of mentors, facilitating hands-on learning and fostering a spirit of scientific inquiry. The objective of YIP is to equip and prepare these young researchers to undertake independent research endeavors, supported by funding allocated to innovative research projects.
Since its inception, the Young Innovators Programme has made significant strides in cultivating a new era of scientific exploration and inventive breakthroughs within the country. A total of Php37 million (SG$1 million) in funding has been disbursed across 56 approved projects, providing vital resources for these young innovators to bring their ideas to fruition.
The programme’s impact extends beyond financial support, contributing to the development of a vibrant community of budding scientists and researchers who are poised to make meaningful contributions to the scientific landscape in the years to come.
Nurturing Ingenuity Through Partnerships
According to Dr Enrico, engaging with diverse stakeholders is at the core of their approach as they strive to meet the evolving needs of the 21 sectors under its support. Through focused initiatives such as focus group discussions and consultation, they actively seek input from industry stakeholders, research institutions, and government agencies.
“This collaborative process allows us to gain valuable insights into the specific requirements and challenges faced by each sector, informing the direction of our research and development endeavours,” Dr Enrico explains.
Beyond external engagement, PCIEERD places considerable emphasis on internal feedback mechanisms. Tools such as the Research Fairness Survey and the R&D Customer Preference Survey serve as valuable means to directly collect insights from researchers. This two-way communication approach ensures that the perspectives and experiences of those actively engaged in the research process are taken into account, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and responsiveness within the organisation.
Collaboration remains a cornerstone of their strategy, and they actively cultivate partnerships with industry stakeholders. Through a range of programmes, such as the Expert Intervention for Scientific Engagement (ExperTiSE) programme, Regional Research Institutions (RRI), research attachments and expert visits, PCIEERD creates avenues for meaningful cooperation.
These collaborative initiatives not only enhance the effectiveness of the research but also contribute to the broader goal of fostering innovation and sustainable development across diverse sectors.
Furthermore, DOST-PCIEERD recognises the pivotal role of international alliances and partnerships, strategically emphasising their significance in advancing research and development in the fields of industry, energy, and emerging technology.
This concerted effort is driven by a commitment to contribute to the growth of scientific knowledge, facilitate technology transfer, spur economic development, and enhance the capacity to address global challenges effectively.
International partnerships provide a crucial avenue for knowledge exchange, where foreign counterparts and experts bring expertise that exposes Filipino researchers to cutting-edge technologies, methodologies, and the sharing of best practices.
Such exposure not only enhances the skills of local researchers, rendering them more competitive on the international stage but also unlocks new opportunities for commercialising innovative technologies in the global market. Consequently, it bridges the gap between research and market application, facilitating technology pathways that contribute to economic growth through income and job creation.
Several notable international engagements exemplify the commitment of DOST-PCIEERD to fostering global collaborations. Among them, the e-ASIA initiative stands out – a multilateral international joint effort involving public funding organisations from East Asia Summit (EAS) member countries.
Additionally, the Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Research and Innovation (SEA-EU JFS) facilitates joint funding of bi-regional, multi-lateral research and innovation projects, fostering cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe.
Joint efforts such as the UKRI-NERC initiative address specific challenges, exemplified by the “Sustainable Mineral Resources in the Philippines” programme. This collaborative effort aims to fund research that offers a comprehensive perspective on mineral production in the Philippines and address environmental issues associated with legacy and abandoned mines.
Another noteworthy effort is the UKRI-JST-DOST ‘Science, Technology and Action’ Nexus for Development (STAND) Collaboration, which seeks to foster international research interaction and exchange among researchers in Japan, the United Kingdom, and Southeast Asia. This collaboration focuses on projects contributing to sustainable development in Southeast Asia, aligning with the broader goals of knowledge sharing and capacity building on a global scale.
Public-private partnerships have also contributed to the advancement of industry, energy, and emerging technology in the country. In June 2023, PCIEERD took a significant step forward in fortifying its collaboration with the mining industry by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
This partnership encompasses three key areas aimed at fostering advancements and sustainability within the mining sector.
Firstly, there is a focus on the collaborative drafting of a nickel roadmap, with active consultation involving both mining industries and key government agencies. This initiative aims to chart a strategic course for the nickel industry, ensuring alignment with industry needs and national development goals.
Another crucial facet of the partnership involves an increased emphasis on research related to green minerals, particularly in anticipation of their translation into components for Electric Vehicles (EVs). This forward-looking approach aligns with the global shift towards sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies, positioning the mining industry to play a pivotal role in the emerging green economy.
Additionally, the collaborative efforts extend to the improvement of energy efficiency and the promotion of renewable energy within the mining sector. By addressing these critical aspects, the partnership endeavours to enhance the sustainability and environmental impact of mining operations, aligning with broader goals of responsible resource utilisation and energy conservation.
PCIEERD maintains an ongoing and fruitful partnership with the Philippine Technological Council (PTC), a non-stock, non-profit private organisation. The collaboration with PTC unfolds through its accreditation service, serving as a mechanism to facilitate capstone projects and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiatives.
This sustained partnership underscores PCIEERD’s commitment to advancing technological excellence, education, and innovation within the Philippines, fostering a collaborative ecosystem that transcends industry boundaries for the greater benefit of scientific and technological progress.
Unveiling Key Strategies
Dr Enrico reveals the key strategic priorities and initiatives he is focusing on as the Executive Director of PCIEERD to foster innovation and drive industry development in the Philippines.
“Guided by the Harmonised National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) for the period 2022-2028, our research initiatives are intricately woven into a framework that aligns with the broader vision encapsulated in AmBisyon Natin 2040,” Dr Enrico highlights.
Envisioning a promising future for Filipinos, the HNRDA is anchored in the pillars of Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Kaunlaran, which collectively advocate for inclusive growth, a resilient society, and the cultivation of a competitive knowledge economy.
In pursuit of these aspirations, PCIERRD has embarked on pioneering programmes aimed at revolutionising the local transport systems. Spearheaded by the ELECTROMOBILITY R&D Centre, and R&D Centre for Advanced Batteries, these initiatives focus on the development and implementation of electric vehicles and enhancing advanced battery technology.
These efforts align with the priorities of the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (CREVI). Additionally, PCIERRD has several initiatives on maritime transport on the electrification of boats and ferries.
“This strategic move reflects our commitment to advancing sustainable and eco-friendly solutions in the domain of transportation,” Dr Enrico furthers. “Our commitment extends to the empowerment of local governance through the implementation of the Smart Cities initiative.”
Significant transformations have been realised in cities such as Baguio, Cauayan, Iloilo, and Butuan, where the integration of smart technologies has contributed to improved urban living. The success of these endeavours has prompted an expansion of the programme beyond cities, reaching into various communities as part of our ongoing efforts to create more inclusive and technologically empowered environments.
Recognising the critical role of startups in driving innovation, PCIERRD actively supports the startup ecosystem through the Startup Grant Fund. The comprehensive programmes assist startups throughout their journey, from the initial ideation phase to full commercialisation. By nurturing and facilitating the growth of startups, they contribute to the dynamism of the entrepreneurial landscape and the overall economic development of the region.
Dr Enrico underscores in the domain of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the DOST endeavours are guided by a comprehensive 2019-2029 R&D Programme Framework. This strategic blueprint delineates a path to ensure the Philippines remains a frontrunner in the global evolution of AI technologies.
The primary thrusts of this initiative span across National Infrastructure, where the DOST has distributed nine High-Performance Computing (HPC) machines to higher education institutions, catalysing the commencement of new AI projects.
The groundwork laid in 2014 with the establishment of the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (CoARE) further bolsters these efforts, providing free access to HPC and Cloud services. The overarching goal is to enhance connectivity and expedite digital transformation by 2024, with a specific target of elevating the PH e-government index to 0.85 by 2029.
The DOST’s dedication to AI extends beyond infrastructure to encompass Capacity Building, where initiatives are undertaken to nurture the skills and expertise necessary for meaningful AI contributions. Simultaneously, the focus on Research and Data initiatives accentuates the commitment to advancing the knowledge frontier in AI.
Additionally, the department actively engages in developing Policies and Stakeholder relationships, ensuring a holistic and forward-looking approach to AI development within the country. This multi-faceted strategy underscores the DOST’s commitment to positioning the Philippines as a key player in the dynamic landscape of AI innovation and progress.
“In our pursuit of ensuring the Philippines’ prominence in technological innovation and sustainable development globally, DOST-PCIEERD employs a multifaceted approach encompassing various strategic initiatives. One pivotal effort involves bridging the gap between academic research and industry through the establishment of Technology Business Incubators (TBIs),” Dr Enrico asserts.
With 54 members in the DOST TBI Network, including 32 industry-based and 22 agriculture- and aquaculture-focused TBIs across Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the investments since 2018 have totalled Php411 million (SG$11.1 million).
These TBIs have incubated 1,359 startups, generated 5,696 jobs, attracted over Php1.87 billion (SG$50.49 million) in private investments, and produced Php907 million (SG$24.49 million) in startup revenue. Additionally, the TBIs themselves have secured Php118.3 million (SG$3.19 million) in private investments from various partners.
To promote science education in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), they fund projects such as the Philippine Science Centrum Travelling Exhibit. This initiative, spanning 26 GIDA districts across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, has reached 300,000 students and instructed 4,000 teachers in basic science experiments, enhancing education in these remote areas.
Acknowledging the vital role of women entrepreneurs, initiatives like Women-Helping-Women: Innovative Social Enterprises (WHWise) aims to support and acknowledge women driving economic growth and sustainable development in their communities.
Strategic planning is another cornerstone of the approach, with formulated roadmaps and sectoral strategies for the 21 supported sectors. These roadmaps not only guide the development of specific research programmes but also contribute to the realisation of sustainable development goals.
Collectively, these strategies underscore the commitment to enhancing the country’s competitiveness and productivity in the global landscape of technological innovation and sustainable development, fostering a comprehensive and impactful approach to propel the nation forward.
Nexus of Innovation by 2040
“Our forward-looking vision is rooted in becoming the Nexus of Innovation by the year 2040,” Dr Enrico shares his vision for PCIEERD’s position in the global context in the next three years. “Positioned as a leader in the country’s competitiveness and productivity, we aim to enable science and technology solutions across the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors, all while upholding the principles of good governance.”
To realise this vision, global collaboration stands as a cornerstone of this strategy. They envision strengthening international partnerships and collaborations with funding institutions worldwide. By engaging with global counterparts, they seek to foster knowledge-sharing, promote cooperation and teamwork, facilitate mutual learning, and collectively drive innovation in the realms of industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
An essential aspect of their approach involves a dedicated focus on investment in Research and Development (R&D). By prioritising R&D investment, they ensure that PCIEERD remains at the forefront of technological advancements in the Industry, Energy, and Emerging (IEE) sectors. This commitment contributes to global innovation efforts and positions the nation as a key player in addressing pressing global challenges through technological solutions.
Their commitment extends to robust mechanisms for technology transfer and commercialisation. By effectively translating the R&D findings and innovations into practical applications and marketable products, they strive to bridge the gap between research outcomes and real-world impact.
“Knowledge dissemination forms another crucial element of our strategy. We are committed to sharing our S&T outputs, technological advancements, and success stories in technology transfer and commercialisation, both locally and globally,” Dr Enrico says emphatically. “This proactive approach ensures that the benefits of our innovations reach diverse audiences, contributing to the broader global knowledge pool.”
In all aspects of their operations, sustainability is a guiding principle. They are committed to using sustainable practices in everything they do, from research to innovations, technology transfers, and commercialisation.
Through their actions, they actively support the preservation of the environment on a global scale and are consistent with larger sustainability objectives, exemplifying a responsible and comprehensive approach to scientific and technological advancement.
“Embracing the role of a scientist is to willingly confront the mysteries of the unknown, and it is this very challenge that captivates me,” says Dr Enrico, who completed his doctorate at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and served as the principal scientist for DOST Project NOAH and the DOST DREAM LIDAR Programme.
Seeking out interesting and meaningful challenges brought him joy. His work at PCIEERD is similar to a large-scale experiment in which he develops theories and verifies them against reality.
He believes that this dynamic process fosters continuous innovation by pushing boundaries and revealing new possibilities. The core values of high integrity, innovation, and excellence serve as guiding principles, propelling the entire PCIEEED led by him to strive for excellence in all that they do.
“We are committed to exploring new ground in science and are constantly looking for ways to offer significant discoveries and solutions that have a long-term impact for the benefit of the whole nation,” Dr Enrico concludes.
In a strategic move toward addressing the increasing challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) on copyright issues, the Australian government is launching a dedicated copyright and AI reference group. This initiative aims to proactively anticipate and navigate the intricate web of copyright concerns brought about by the proliferation of AI technology.
AI’s pervasive influence sparks critical copyright quandaries, encompassing aspects like the data used to train AI models, transparency in AI’s inputs and outputs, the emergence of imitative works through AI, and the nuanced debate surrounding copyright protection for AI-generated creations.
This reference group, conceived as a continuous forum, will foster ongoing dialogues and collaborations with stakeholders from diverse sectors including the creative, media, and technology domains. Its core objective is to methodically deliberate on these complex issues in a consultative manner, ensuring a holistic approach to address AI’s impact on copyright.
Australia’s proactive engagement with a wide spectrum of stakeholders underscores the nation’s commitment to leveraging AI advancements while safeguarding the vibrancy of the creative sector. This collaborative effort is poised to unlock the potential of AI while upholding the vitality and creativity of Australia’s diverse industries.
Aligned with broader government initiatives on AI, spearheaded by Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic, this reference group stands as a pivotal addition in the quest for the safe and responsible utilisation of AI.
The inception of this group stems from a series of copyright-focused roundtables initiated earlier in the year. These forums, culminating in a final gathering, facilitated crucial discussions, aggregating insights from over 50 peak bodies and organisations on pressing copyright reform issues. The establishment of the AI-centric reference group signifies a natural progression in these conversations, channelling sustained deliberations on AI’s copyright implications.
For those invested in these developments, comprehensive details about the reference group and key outcomes from the fourth copyright roundtable will soon be accessible on the Attorney-General’s Department’s website. This forthcoming information will provide a deeper understanding of Australia’s proactive stance in navigating the intricate intersection of AI and copyright in the digital era.
Australia is rapidly embracing the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI), leveraging its capabilities across diverse sectors to drive innovation both domestically and on the global stage.
The country has strategically integrated AI into various sectors, including healthcare, finance, agriculture, and education. Initiatives such as AI-driven healthcare diagnostics, predictive analytics in agriculture, and personalised learning systems in education exemplify the nation’s commitment to harnessing AI’s power for societal progress.
The Western Australian government has unveiled a comprehensive set of measures aimed at reducing bureaucratic hurdles, alleviating work burdens, and fostering a conducive environment for educators to focus on teaching. The region’s Education Minister, Dr Tony Buti, spearheading this initiative, took into account the insights from two pivotal reports and explored the potential of AI tools to revamp policies and processes.
OpenGov Asia reported on the study Responsible AI: Best Practices for Creating Trustworthy AI Systems. This study delves into risks, ethical considerations and the imperative for responsible practices, highlighting the challenges, principles, and paths forward in leveraging AI for positive impact while mitigating potential harm.
Internationally, via the Aus4Innovation programme, collaborative efforts between Australia and Vietnam in AI are pushing boundaries from disaster response simulations to AI-enhanced agriculture and environmental management.
Computer scientists from Iraq and Australia have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital imaging to create an innovative diagnostic tool, achieving a remarkable 98% accuracy in detecting facial palsy, while also determining the patient’s gender and age.
The researchers, affiliated with the Middle Technical University (MTU) in Baghdad and the University of South Australia (UniSA), believe that the tool has the potential to significantly reduce diagnostic errors associated with this prevalent and treatable neurological disorder.
Facial palsy, characterised by temporary muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the face due to impairment of the facial nerve, affects approximately 1 in 60 individuals worldwide during their lifetime. While facial palsy is commonly caused by nerve impairment, less frequent causes include tumors, infections, or strokes. The challenge in diagnosing facial palsy lies in its ability to mimic other conditions, often leading to misdiagnosis. A 2020 paper estimates that misdiagnosis occurs in up to 20% of cases, underscoring the critical need for accurate diagnostic tools.
Published in BioMedInformatics, the researchers detailed their real-time detection system for facial palsy, leveraging a microcomputer, digital camera, and a deep learning algorithm. The team utilised a robust dataset comprising 26,000 images, with 19,000 representing normal facial conditions and 1,600 showcasing facial palsy. Employing advanced AI techniques, the researchers trained computer vision systems to recognise facial palsy, distinguishing it from healthy conditions.
To put their system to the test, the researchers captured images of 20 patients with varying degrees of facial palsy. The algorithm not only detected the condition in real time but also accurately identified the approximate age and gender of the patients. According to Professor Javaan Chahl, a remote sensing engineer at the University of South Australia, the system achieved an impressive 98% accuracy rate.
The significance of this AI-driven diagnostic tool extends beyond its accuracy. By using computer vision systems for facial palsy detection, the researchers believe that the tool has the potential to prevent misdiagnoses, ultimately saving time, effort, and costs for both patients and medical specialists.
Traditional methods of detection through visual examination are prone to inaccuracies due to the subtle presentation of facial palsy, which can be easily mistaken for other conditions. Early and accurate detection is crucial, as facial palsy may be indicative of underlying issues such as stroke, HIV infection, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, or Lyme disease.
The researchers highlight that individuals most at risk of developing facial palsy are typically aged between 30 and 45, pregnant women, diabetics, and those with a family history of the condition. Moreover, facial palsy tends to affect the left side of the face more frequently, although the condition often resolves spontaneously within six months.
The paper titled “Automatic Facial Palsy, Age and Gender Detection Using a Raspberry Pi” is authored by Ali Al-Naji from MTU and UniSA, Javaan Chahl from UniSA, Ali Saber Amsalan from MTU, and Ammar Yahya Daeef from MTU. This collaborative effort between Iraqi and Australian researchers underscores the global nature of scientific advancements and their potential to transform healthcare practices. As the field of AI continues to evolve, such interdisciplinary collaborations pave the way for innovative solutions that have a tangible impact on patient care and medical diagnostics.
Bridging vast distances through technological innovation, the Aus4Innovation programme stands as a testament to the collaboration between Australia and Vietnam. This partnership is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionise various sectors, ranging from disaster response strategies to agricultural efficiency.
In the realm of disaster response and search and rescue, Aus4Innovation has played a pivotal role in facilitating the testing and scaling of AI technologies by Australian and Vietnamese innovators. One significant outcome of this collaboration is a research initiative between the University of Technology Sydney and Le Quy Don University in Vietnam.
Together, they are leveraging the latest advancements in digital transformation technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and AI simulations, to develop a cutting-edge system for search and rescue training. This innovative approach allows rescue workers to engage in simulation training for diverse scenarios, minimising risks to both expensive equipment and, more importantly, lives. By practising in a safe environment, search and rescue workers can enhance their skills and mitigate potential tragic consequences during actual rescue efforts.
In the agricultural domain, the Aus4Innovation program has fostered a partnership between the University of Wollongong and a Vietnamese tech company. This collaboration has led to the creation of Smart Eye, an AI-driven system designed to monitor and assess the health of sugarcane.
Deployed across more than 25 thousand hectares in the Thanh Hoa province, Smart Eye integrates soil moisture sensors to provide farmers with crucial data on nutritional stress, water stress, and leaf diseases. Delivered through a user-friendly mobile app, this technology empowers farmers to make timely decisions to protect their crops and sustain productivity.
The successful adoption of Smart Eye by the largest buyer of sugarcane in Thanh Hoa, showcases the potential for customising and replicating this technology for other crops in Vietnam, spanning rice, fruits, vegetables, flowers, industrial crops, forestry, and aquaculture.
In the conservation sector, Aus4Innovation has contributed to transforming environmental management at Tram Chim National Park, one of Vietnam’s largest national parks. Challenges such as insufficient and irregular survey data, extreme weather conditions, and vast parklands were addressed by a collaboration between the University of Wollongong and Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology.
Leveraging AI, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), experts developed specialised tools for monitoring the park. These tools, including drones and monitoring stations, enable efficient data collection and analysis, offering insights into the park’s environment, health, water, soil, air quality, bird population, and early detection of fires. Park rangers and staff have been trained to operate these systems, enhancing their ability to make informed decisions for the park’s ecosystem.
The Aus4Innovation program, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and co-funded and managed by CSIRO, aligns with Australia’s commitment to supporting and strengthening Vietnam’s innovation ecosystem.
As part of Australia’s AI Month, the program underscores the nation’s dedication to responsible AI creation and adoption. The CSIRO National AI Centre plays a crucial role in advancing Australia’s AI expertise and capabilities, fostering a collaborative and focused AI ecosystem for the benefit of all Australians. Through such initiatives, Australia aims to secure a competitive global edge in artificial intelligence.
The Aus4Innovation program stands at the forefront of transformative technological collaborations between Australia and Vietnam. Through a profound integration of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things, this partnership has yielded groundbreaking solutions across disaster response, agriculture, and environmental management. The success stories, from AI-driven search and rescue simulations to Smart Eye’s impact on sugarcane monitoring, underscore the potential of technology to address complex challenges and drive sustainable development.
As Australia spotlights its AI proficiency during AI Month, initiatives like the Aus4Innovation program exemplify the power of responsible and innovative technology adoption, setting the stage for a future where collaborative tech advancements foster resilience, efficiency, and positive change on a global scale.