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The Philippines Establishes First Coastal Engineering R&D Centre in Ilocos

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has unveiled the Mariano Marcos State University’s (MMSU) first Coastal Engineering and Management Research and Development (R&D) Centre (COASTER) as one of its newest niche centres in the region (NICER). DOST announced the MMSU-based research centre as one of ten centres under the Department’s health and industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors in a virtual press conference.

The virtual presser, hosted by the DOST’s Science for Change Programme (S4CP), aimed to highlight the country’s new NICERs, which will help regional initiatives and efforts to create a competitive innovation environment.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently announced plans to expand access to research and development (R&D) across the country at a recent event. In his message to the ASEAN Summit on Spin-Off Technologies, the DTI Secretary mentioned that the agency is organising Regional Inclusive Innovations Centres (RIICs) across the country to democratise the growth of start-up communities.

He noted that R&D is the “true heart” and “DNA” of entrepreneurship and that making it more inclusive will enable more start-up communities and support young entrepreneurial talents in technology and creative industries. Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can use the RIIC to position their products in the global value chain, giving them a competitive advantage in the global market.

The COASTER intends to drive the development of technologies and innovation in the Philippines to help prevent and manage coastal disasters and risks. According to the COASTER programme’s leader, the R&D centre is made up of four projects, which is coastal erosion trends and management strategies, assessment, monitoring, and prediction of coastal flooding, development of a science-based engineering approach to coastal protection and improving coastal design and infrastructure intervention through the establishment of a wave testing laboratory.

The President of MMSU expressed his gratitude to DOST for its trust and support in the University, promising that MMSU will continue to cooperate with the national agency to make science work for the people. The DOST Regional Director pledged his agency’s assistance for the Ilocos R&D centre, promising to cooperate anything they can for the realisation of its project components.” The other nine NICERS under health and industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors are:

  • The Centre for Sustainable Polymers of Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
  • Centre for Advanced Batteries of Technological Institute of the Philippines
  • Environmental Technologies and Compliance R&D Centre of Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  • Centre for Lakes Sustainable Development of Laguna State Polytechnic University
  • Smart Water Infrastructure R&D Centre of Isabela State University
  • Biomaterials for Therapeutics and Diagnostics R&D Centre of Angeles University Foundation
  • Centre for Vector of Diseases of Public Health of De La Salle University (DLSU) – Laguna
  • R&D Centre for Medical Robotics of DLSU
  • Integrated Protein R&D Centre of Ateneo De Manila University

These R&D centres, also known as “Niche Centres in the Regions for R&D” or NICER, will focus on sectors such as Health and Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology to allow the country’s academic and R&D institutions to upgrade their research facilities, develop policies, transfer technologies, and ramp up regional initiatives and efforts toward a competitive innovation ecosystem.

“Through these R&D centres, the DOST cultivates the innovation landscape in various sectors to ensure no one is left behind in R&D progress despite the setbacks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development.

The COASTER is the university’s second niche centre. The DOST had also established the Garlic and other Agri-Food Condiments Research and Development (R&D) Centre of the University, a NICER under the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources (AANR) sector, in September.

The NICER programme, which is part of S4CP, aims to address regional disparities in access to R&D funding. S4CP aims to accelerate STI in the country and increase investments in S&T human resource development and R&D significantly.

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