Digital summit puts spotlight on role of SUCs in Covid response

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The Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) held on Wednesday, August 26, its Digital Summit, which had the theme “Making Research and Extension Work for Covid-19 Response: Innovation Initiatives by Philippine State Universities and Colleges.”

Screenshot shows (from left: Benguet representative Mark Go, USAID director Thomas LeBlanc, NYU professor Michael Purugganan, PAASE president Gisela Concepcion, PASUC president Tirso Ronquillo, and STRIDE senior consultant Napoleon Juanillo Jr.

A virtual gathering of 310 academic leaders and stakeholders, the summit served as a platform “for relevant discussions that underscore the mandate of higher education in the country, especially in making research and extension initiatives of SUCs relevant to the needs of the industry and the communities in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said PASUC president Tirso Ronquillo.

Headlining the event was the launch of a compendium on SUC Research and Extension titled “Innovating As We Heal As One.”

Also featured were talks on research and extension work on a global perspective by New York University professor Michael Purugganan and the president of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) Dr. Gisela Concepcion.

Sharing on-the-ground experiences in driving research and innovation to combat the pandemic were Mariano Marcos State University president Shirley Agrupis, Cebu Technological University president Rosein Ancheta Jr., and Caraga State University president Anthony Penaso.

House Committee on Higher and Technical Education chairperson Mark Go reiterated his support for the higher education sector. “It’s our goal at Congress to continue being an ally [of] our SUCs in providing quality innovative and inclusive education for all, even as we brace for the new normal,” he said.

USAID Office of Education director Thomas LeBlanc cited the longstanding partnership between USAID and PASUC.

“We at USAID are proud to learn that several of these universities have been or are partners of our Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development program or STRIDE. Through the visionary leadership of Dr. Tirso Ronquillo, we worked together on PASUC’s own innovation roadmap as well as the Innovation Diagnostics that would help you become more attuned to what your institutions need and to become more competitive,” LeBlanc said.

Working with government, academic institutions, and industries since 2013, the STRIDE Program is a higher education project of USAID/Philippines to support the Philippines’ path towards innovation-led inclusive growth.

Comprised of 112 member institutions nationwide, the PASUC is the umbrella organization of state HEIs (higher education institutes) in the country.

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