IBM, DOST team up to build R&D lab

Tech titan IBM and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to establish the first Philippine Systems & Technology R&D Laboratory in the country.

(Photo credit: Jay Morales / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

The MOU was signed by IBM Philippines country general manger Mariels Almeda Winhoffer and DOST Secretary Mario Montejo at the President’s Hall in Malacañang Palace. Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III Sen. Edgardo Angara witnessed the signing ceremonies.

A statement from IBM Philippines, which initiated the project, did not disclose financial details or the location of the facility. The lab, however, will be owned and operated by the US-based tech giant, although projects that will be developed in the lab will be geared for government use.

In the signed agreement, the projects to be undertaken by the lab will be in line with the priority projects of the government based on the National Economic Development Authority’s (Neda) Medium Term Development Plan.

The DOST and IBM said it may consider the following areas as the initial projects of the lab, subject to export and other applicable laws:

• Project audit system and database;
• E-governance services including a dashboard view for government officials;
• Landslide predictive analytics;
• Weather prediction and flood mapping;
• Crime prevention;
• Traffic management; and
• High-performance computing and business analytics.

In a press statement, IBM said the lab is aligned with the country’s strategic growth initiative, which calls for greater partnering between industry and government.

The facility will focus mainly on four critical areas: business process outsourcing, governance for anti-corruption, talent development, and innovation for a knowledge-based economy.

IBM said it has the “technical capability, expertise, and know-how to collaborate” with the DOST in its research efforts and programs after putting up numerous R&D laboratories and co-laboratories in many countries.

“2012 marks IBM’s 75th year in the Philippines and this cooperation with the DOST furthers our commitment to, and trust in the region and its people,” said Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, president and country general manager of IBM Philippines.

“The project is also a great example of an integrated, joint approach to research that combines IBM’s global expertise with the skills and knowledge of the Filipino people to accelerate their preparedness for the global marketplace,” Almeda Winhoffer said.

Montejo said the R&D Lab will take advantage of IBM’s experience and international best practices and local scientific talent. “This R&D center will go a long way in building domestic capacity to support continued economic growth and global competitiveness,” Montejo said.

Cooperation with the private sector particularly in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry plays a significant role in the development of the industry, he added.

“This cooperation with IBM ensures that industry and government initiatives are cohesive and yield long term benefits for the most number of people,” said Louis Casambre, executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office of the DOST.