By Edd K. Usman
A 13-year-old girl programmer and a 14-year-old inventor are among the recipients of the inaugural Young Innovator’s Program (YIP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Isabel Sieh, who started learning how to code at 10, and Modesto Remo Jr. of Bicol, will each receive a research grant of P400,000 from the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), an attached unit of the DOST.
The grant can go as high as P500,000 to cover other expenses for mentors and some stipend, the PCIEERD said.
The team awardees, meanwhile, are from Colegio de Dagupan, the University of the Philippines (UP), Mapua Institute of Technology, St. Cecilia’s College of Cebu City, and the Philippine Science High School Central Luzon Campus.
Each of them will get P400,000 to continue their product development guided by a mentor.
Dr. Carlos Primo David, PCIEERD executive director, said the YIP was established to help promising researchers as young as high school students to encourage and motivate them to conduct scientific researches to develop innovative ideas.
He said there are technology-savvy youths who are already coming up with innovative products but doing it on their own without any support from government.
The DOST official indicated that will no longer be the case with introduction of YIP, whose first two individual awardees will now have a support from the science agency.
Sieh, high school student of International School Manila founded her own company named ?Girls Will Code”, is developing an Android mobile app dubbed ?What About? which “keeps track of the sustainable actions you do and reward you with points… you learn about the energy that you saved.”
14-year-old Remo, a Grade 10 student at Camarines Sur National High School in Bicol, invented a Bluetooth-enabled device that harvests energy from walking. The device generates six watts of power through seven minutes of walking.
David said out of 97 applicants for the YIP search, only seven made the grade. “It used to be that we only funded researchers with master’s degree. That?s no longer the case,” he told journalists during PCIEERD’s 7th anniversary celebration on June 29 at the PICC in Pasay City.
PCIEERD this year expanded its coverage to 21 areas, adding four new areas for research: space technology application, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, creative industries, and human security.