Friday, June 14, 2024

DOST launches online portal for ‘Balik Scientists’

The Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched on Friday, Nov. 19, an online portal where aspiring Filipino scientists abroad can submit applications to be “Balik Scientists” in the Philippines.

The launch was held during the 7th BSP Annual Convention, a yearly gathering of Balik Scientists and host institutions which serves as a platform for returning Filipino researchers to impart their knowledge, experiences, and initiatives in the areas of agriculture, health, industry, energy, and emerging technologies. It also provides an avenue for research collaborations, networking, and forging ties among Balik Scientists, existing and prospective host institutions, and other stakeholders.

“DOST will continue working closely with our researchers under the BSP to build local capacities in research and to generate accessible innovations for all,” DOST secretary Fortunato de la Peña said.

“We have relatively new fields in the Philippines where we need experts in neuroscience, quantum computing, plant breeding, medical chemistry and so on. We need the expertise of our Balik Scientists to further these new interests in the country,” he added.

Relative to the implementation of the program amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the DOST adjusted the program guidelines which now allow a 100-percent remote engagement of Balik Scientists under Short-Term category to ensure the health and safety of both the Balik Scientists and host institutions.

“Through this activity, we hope to stir your patriotic spirit of cherishing the Philippines and serving the people. That science has no borders, and Filipino scientists have their motherland. We need more Balik Scientists! We need you to adapt foreign technologies to local realities,” DOST undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said.

The BSP was established in 1975 to counteract the nationwide concern on “brain drain” or the emigration of highly trained professionals from a country, in search of the better standard of living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide.

Through the program, foreign-based Filipinos are encouraged to return to the country and impart their knowledge and expertise for the advancement of research and development in the country, as well as address development gaps.

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