DOST bares harmonized national R&D agenda with P5.8-B budget

By Edd K. Usman

Propped up by a P5.8-billion budget for 2017, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched on Feb.15 its Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) to “eradicate inequality, create more opportunities, and accelerate development.”

Dr. Carlos Primo David, executive director of PCIEERD (right), is shown with two participants during a break in the DOST's 2nd National R&D Conference at the Manila Hotel on Feb. 15

Dr. Carlos Primo David, executive director of PCIEERD (right), is shown with two participants during a break in the DOST’s 2nd National R&D Conference at the Manila Hotel on Feb. 15

DOST sec. Fortunato dela Peña and other officials of the agency called on researchers to take advantage of the R&D agenda, saying there is a budget for a host of research topics.

Dela Peña said the DOST has “geared its programs and projects supporting” four of the 10 national socio-economic agenda of the Duterte administration.

The four are the advancement of science and technology (S&T); business sector’s increase competitiveness; promotion of rural value chain development; and investment in human capital development.

DOST undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said that for this year alone, the allocation for R&D is P5.8 billion from the department’s regular budget.

She said this is aimed at achieving Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte’s 25-year long-term vision to achieve progress and development, which launched in October 2016.

“All of our projects and programs at the end of the day will actually address inequality, address more opportunities that will hasten our development,” Guevara emphasized.

As the DOST is now crafting its budget for 2018, Guevara also expressed optimism of a bigger budget for R&D next year. “We are assuming that we will have the budget under the Science for Change Program Bill is even more than our current R&D funding of P5.8 billion today,” she said.

DOST’s three councils and seven institutes revealed the research topics before hundreds of attendees at the Manila Hotel, the launch venue for the R&D agenda.

“Because they now know the topics, we expect the researchers together from both the private and the academe and government will start submitting their proposals based on the dates given by our councils. And as we process them, we will make sure that they will shoot into our budget that we are asking for 2018,” Guevara assured.

Carlos Primo David, executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), urged researchers to submit a one-page research proposal.

He said covered in competitive industries, which researchers may choose to conducted a study, are information and communications technology, electronics and semiconductor, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced electronics and communications (e.g. photonics and opto-electronics devices, semiconductor materials, etc.)

Research topics under delivery of social services (space technology applications or STA), include development of micro-satellites and space technologies, use of STA for resource mapping, and application of global navigation satellite system (GNSS), said David.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) also presented their respective research topics.

One of DOST’s advisory bodies, the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) also unveiled its National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA).

Meanwhile, also at the conference was the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and presented the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Agenda.

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