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Graduate Programme in Nanotechnology Offered in the Philippines

After years of basic nanoscience research and focused R&D under the nanotechnology roadmap initiative, nanotechnology applications are delivering on nanotechnology’s assurance to benefit society in both expected and unexpected ways in the Philippines. Nanotechnology is helping to significantly improve, if not revolutionise, many technologies and industry sectors, including information technology, homeland security, medicine, transportation, energy, food safety, and environmental science, among many others.

However, according to the Secretary of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippines is “still in desperate need” of nanotechnology experts who can lead in the planning and implementation of research and development (R&D) projects. These nanotech experts will also oversee the planning and implementing packaging technologies for adoption, as well as disseminating information to potential beneficiaries.

To address this, the DOST announced a collaboration with Mapua University for the implementation of a graduate programme – a PhD in Materials Science – with a specialisation in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has a wide range of applications, including medicine, energy, agriculture, food production and safety, space science, semiconductors and electronics and information technology.

This is a significant undertaking as we formally launch a pioneering program for advanced studies in nanotechnology, which we gladly want to support under our scholarship offerings.

– Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary

“Over the years, (the DOST has) initiated several collaborations between leading universities and research institutions, both locally and internationally. These mostly focused on semiconductors, agricultural applications, food safety, pest control, and medicinal applications,” the secretary, adding that nanotechnology’s potential continues to widen in different fields. It will be essential to advocate for more programmes to support its development.

This scholarship programme for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Material Science with a specialisation in Nanotechnology is yet another milestone in the country’s growing nanotech portfolio. It is also stated that this is the first DOST-supported ‘PhD by Research’ programme.

The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) will provide guidance on research areas for the students’ dissertations as part of the collaboration. It will also provide technical assistance as well as research facilities. The Science Education Institute (SEI), on the other hand, will assist Mapua University in screening and recruiting qualified students for the programme. The SEI will also contribute financially.

“Mapua University, as the pioneering institution to offer (this programme), shall have the opportunity to implement the programme as designed, and constantly improve on it,” he said. The programme aims to give technical knowledge and hands-on training to graduate students in the conduct of their research projects on nanotechnology. Moreover, it also aims to increase joint academic and scientific activities such as symposia or lectures.

The DOST and Mapua University will collaborate to publish results in technical journals. He added that the two will also jointly evaluate the programme’s results and plan how to strengthen it further.

The Department of Science and Technology, through its attached agency, the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD), has developed a roadmap to shepherd post-industrial technology in the country. The roadmap outlines a focused research and development strategy for exploring and exploiting nanotechnology’s high impact and life-enhancing benefits.

The current roadmap is the result of a collaborative effort from various sectors reflecting different perspectives that could guide the country in priority settings, particularly given the country’s limited funds. The government has also prioritised the projects funded by the nanotechnology programme. The roadmap also aims to include nanotechnology in all science and engineering courses, as well as the possible acquisition of basic equipment to demonstrate nanostructures, the upgrading of laboratories for nanoparticle measurements, and the assessment of nanotechnology risks.

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