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The Philippines and United Kingdom to Strengthen Science and Technology Ties

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The Philippines and the United Kingdom have discussed methods to strengthen their scientific and technology (S&T) collaboration in sectors such as health, artificial intelligence, space technologies, and engineering biology.

Following his recent meeting with the British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Pena announced this in a social media post.

Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) expressed the Philippine government’s gratitude for the UK’s strong support for bilateral initiatives and the country’s S&T programmes, which include the Newton-Agham Programme, NovaSAR with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), JST-UKRI-DOST ‘Science, Technology and Action’ Nexus for Development (STAND), and COP26, among others.

“We also discussed the strengthening of S&T collaborations particularly on health, climate change, artificial intelligence, engineering biology, 5G, digital trade, start-ups/spin-offs, space technologies, and higher education,” he said.

Both parties “considered” convening the first PH-UK Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology, he added (JCMST). De la Pena also highlighted the importance of the UK government in the Philippines’ fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The UK government has been a significant partner of the Philippine government in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, according to the report.

In addition, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila) to strengthen science and technology cooperation in health.

DOST-PCHRD, LSHTM, and UP Manila will collaborate on several S&T projects focused on key research areas including genomes, modelling, diagnostics, clinical trials, epidemiology, and immunology, according to the MOU.

The collaboration also includes the exchange of scientists, faculty, and experts interested in health-related scientific and technical collaboration. DOST-PCHRD agreed to fund research fellowships, scholarships, post-doctoral pieces of training, research enrichment (sandwich) programmes, and staff training.

Moreover, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is focusing its efforts on the bilateral Partnership for Growth, efforts to nurture peace and stability in conflict areas in Mindanao, and measures to build environmental resilience to support the Government of the Philippines’ (GPH) goal of achieving sustained and inclusive growth. To help the country leapfrog its constraints to growth, USAID has strategically included science, technology, and innovation (STI) in its programming.

The US government supports the goals of the US-Philippines Science and Technology Agreement, which was signed in June 2012 by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario. The collaborative agreement between the US Embassy and the GPH focuses on enhancing scientific, technological, and institutional capacities, as well as encouraging scientific and technological cooperation.

OpenGov Asia reported, the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute developed STARBOOKS, a digital library that can be browsed without internet connectivity. It is a stand-alone information source designed to bring S&T information to the grassroots. It aims to provide S&T-based educational and learning resources in various formats to geographically isolated schools and LGUs throughout the country, as well as enhance the educational competence of students in its beneficiary schools.

In Mindanao, DOST and DOST-STII work together to pave the route for science and technology. The delivery of STARBOOKS to enable recipient schools and students to learn the finest of science, technology, and innovation narrows the scope to the academe sector.

Other measures being pursued by the Philippines government to increase the country’s resources include a robust and well-targeted research and development (R&D) programme which is a critical component of a country’s long-term success. R&D is important to society’s growth. It provides scientific expertise for the development of innovative products, services, and solutions.


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