DOST cites young scientists as major players in nation-building

By Edd K. Usman

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) awarded last week young Filipino scientists whom the agency said are crucial players in building a science-centric nation.

DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena (right) and Budget secretary Benjamin E. Diokno opened the 2017 National Science and Technology Week held from July 11 to 15 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City

DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena (right) and Budget secretary Benjamin E. Diokno opened the 2017 National Science and Technology Week held from July 11 to 15 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City

At the recently concluded National Science and Technology Week, the DOST bestowed the Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award to Dr. Aletta Y. Iniguez, Nathaniel P. Hermosa II, and Jeffrey S. Perez.

A fourth awardee, John Carlo A. Briones, won first prize in the Talent Search for Young Scientists of the DOST’s National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

The NAST gave Iniguez the award “in recognition of her scientific innovation and dedication in understanding the dynamics of ocean ecosystem.”

Hermosa, meanwhile, was cited because of “his significant contributions to the understanding of fundamental properties of light and light-matter interactions.”

Perez, for his part, was awarded “in recognition of his significant research contributions in the field of geology, particularly active tectonics and paleo-seismic studies along the Philippine fault.”

Lastly, Briones was recognized for his “research work that encompasses freshwater ecology among aquaculture lakes in Luzon Island.”

The DOST and its agencies have been giving recognition to young Filipino scientists annually to encourage the youth to go into science.

Fortunato T. de la Pena, secretary of the DOST, highlighted this year’s NSTW theme: “Science for the People.”

“We have chosen this theme for the simple reason that it is time to reacquaint the nation with the very reason why we pursue science, technology, and innovation (STI): for the benefit of the people,” he said.

De la Pena said the time is ripe to stress “the transformative and limitless potential of STI and its vast potential for material growth and social advancement in support”.

The DOST chief said the “best interest of the Filipino nation” is served by the fruits of the department’s work in STI “and should ultimately reward the society and the people to which we belong.”

In what could be a marching order to DOST’s 18 attached agencies and 16 regional offices, De la Pena called on them to scatter the fruits of inventions and innovations beyond the borders of the urban centers where demand for services is most needed.

“We are committed to this drive and, as a proof, we have shifted 10 percent of the department’s overall budget to technology transfer,” he assured.

He said the DOST’s Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) has registered over 1,000 intellectual properties in one year that can now be commercially adopted.

Also at the NSTW, De la Pena also led the recognition of Lucille Abad as the 2017 NSTW Outstanding Research and Development Awardee (Applied Research); Jude L. Sasing and Cesar L. Villanoy as 2017 NSTW Outstanding Technology Commercialization Awardees for their “Axis Knee Replacement System” that has been helping doctors in knee surgeries.

De la Pena also announced that the DOST’s Niche Centers in the Regions (NICER) for R&D is ready to accept research proposals in the fields of basic research, health, agriculture, aquatic, natural resources sector, energy and emerging technology, and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

He said the NICER was crafted to speed up industrial and technological competitiveness by empowering promising HEIs (higher education institutions).

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