SuperFund for ‘S&E’ scholarships launched

By Mary Jane Tadili

The Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) launched on Thursday the Superfund for Science and Engineering Scholarships at The Mind Museum Fort in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

PhilDev officials Vicky Garchitorena (trustee), Dado Banatao (chair), and Ed Chua (trustee and chair of SuperFund Scholarships Committee) during the launch at the Mind Museum in Taguig City

The SuperFund is targeted to raise P5 billion in five years to encourage and enable the best and brightest Filipino youths to pursue studies and careers in science and engineering (S&E).

“We believe in the importance of embracing a science culture and taking pride in pursuit of it. The Superfund is to increase awareness, stir up passion, offer immersive experiences and create incentives,” said Ed Chua, chair of the SuperFund Committee and PhilDev Trustee.

According to PhilDev chairman, Diosdado Banatao, the Superfund aims to develop young minds that can become catalysts for future innovations and investments in education.

“We believe in investing in our people and their talents. The Superfund is created to retain the best minds and talents in the Philippines in order to leverage our core competencies,” said Banatao.

Banatao, a known philanthropist and Silicon Valley stalwart, added that the only way to accelerate and sustain economic growth is to have significant investments in science and technology.

“Science and technology education is the critical first link that accelerates national development,” Banatao, an Ibanag who hails from Iguig town in Cagayan province.

Banatao also said that the SuperFund will not just provide scholarships but also help the government to connect every dot of the technology link to build a robust ecosystem of programs and partnerships in science and technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the country.

As an initial step, the SuperFund will assist 151 scholars. Each student scholar will get a total of P1,000,000 in five years to cover all the fees for the duration of his/her undergraduate, Master’s, or PhD education.

A scholar will get P200,000 per year to cover tuition and other fees, book allowance, dorm fees, school supplies, uniforms, health and group insurance, stipend and transportation allowance.

The scholarship also bundled up with sponsored summer internships, annual camps and retreats, mentorship, and guaranteed employment upon graduation. PhilDev partner companies will provide mentorship and internship programs to enhance the skills and capacities of the scholar.

In order to get the best of the best, the Superfund is offered to students who belong to the top 5 percent of their high school graduating class and admitted to a SuperFund partner university. The students should be enrolled in science or engineering degree.

Also, a would-be scholar must be in good mental, physical and emotional health and a Filipino citizen, without pending immigration application to any foreign country. Incoming second year students with a GPA equivalent to B, without any failing grades in any course, maybe considered.

A SuperFund scholar has to undergo a two-level screening process in order to avail of the scholarship. First, the partner university, using their own scholarship application process, endorses a shortlist applicant to PhilDev, based on the eligibility requirements of the scholarships. The shortlist will be endorsed by the university’s admission office.

The second process is for the SuperFund Committee (SFC), along with selected Phildev Trustees and representatives from donor companies, will conduct a panel interview for each shortlisted candidate. The SFC will select the SuperFund Scholar based on the selection criteria.

For SY 2012-2013, SuperFund partner universities are the eight members of the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) Consortium namely: University of the Philippines Diliman; University of the Philippines Los Banos; Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University; Mapua Institute of Technology; University of San Carlos; Central Luzon State University; and Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology.

Other universities may be considered on a case-to-case basis.

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