De la P​eña Airs 10 Wishes for 2019, Bares DOST Achievements in 2018

WHAT’s your wish for the coming New Year 2019?

Everyone has a wish, it is something that happens this time of the year as an opportunity to start anew comes knocking on everyone’s door.

For the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña has at least 10 wishes for the New Year.

SDN — Scitech and Digital News caught up with him during the 2nd Technology Business Incubation (TBI) Summit held in Manila on December 19.

The summit focused on the country’s TBIs and startup community as the DOST, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) formalized their collaboration in a big way aimed at pushing entrepreneurs and startups’ development.

DOST’s Innovation Council, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) now headed by Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, organized the hugely-popular TBI Summit at the landmark Manila Hotel.

DOST, DTI, and DICT through their secretaries, de la Peña, Ramon Lopez, and Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., respectively, signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen government support for the startup community.

De la P​eña - Science and Digital NewsDOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña (3rd, left), DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez (3rd, right), and DICT Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. at the 2nd Technology Business Incubation (TBI) Summit held recently in Manila. Also in the photo, from left, are DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado (for Trade and Investments Promotion Group), DOST Undersecretary Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara (for Research and Development), and retired DICT Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim. DOST, DTI, and DICT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen government support for the country’s still struggling startup community as neighboring countries are leaving behind Filipino startups. (EKU)

In an interview with de la Peña after the signing he voiced his wishes to further push research and development (R&D) and technology transfer, among others, in 2019.

“I have a wish for tech transfer, I have a wish for R&D, I have a wish for startups as a separate wish,” he revealed.

De la Peña, in fact, has at least 10 wishes for the coming year, which he enunciated in both Pilipino and English.

  • First, on R&D. Definitely, I want to really expand the R&D base by way of capacitating the niche research centers across regions (through the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D or NICER Program being implemented by DOST partners among the country’s higher education institutes or HEIs).
  • Second, on Technology Transfer. I really want the number of our technology transfer to rise. Commercialization is one way, but there are technology transfers that are not really by way of commercialization. If the farmers will use (the technology), that is already OK with us. Technology transfers are very important.
  • Third, on startups. It is because those startups can either be the result of the technology transfer that we’ve generated, or it can be on their own, or it can be inventors. So, I want different support depending on various categories.
  • Fourth, on SETUP (Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program). I really want to expand further the SETUP because I have seen really the increase in productivity in all the places that I’ve visited. And one of the things I am trying to introduce is to link them together by way of organizing a SETUP beneficiaries in some kind of a technology-based enterprise association. They (SETUP beneficiaries) already had an initial meeting among those who went to Japan; they had already drafted a plan on to establish it.
  • Fifth, on HRD. Still on my wish list. It is my wish about human resource development (HRD) which is very important, particularly on producing more PhD’s(Doctors of Philosophy) and more MS (Master of Science) people whom we can deploy in our science and technology institutions (STIs) and even in the private sector. So, hopefully, the private sector would respond.
  • Sixth, on Laboratories. And also other than that, I would also like to continue improving our laboratories because of the very fast-paced development of technologies. In the regions, especially, where they need continuing updating.
  • Seventh, Disaster mitigation. We also have the matter of continuing our work in our disaster-related agencies, because we cannot stop the effort of coming up with better models and techniques to make forecasts.
  • Eight, international collaboration. I would like to add, I want that the opportunities offered by international collaboration would be maximized because it is not enough that it is only about signing (of agreements). I think we really need to get something out of international collaboration, something concrete. Like, for example, in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). I already made clear that we would like to maximize the assistance we get from them in expanding our program in nuclear medicine in the Philippines.
  • Ninth, or support for S&T-related legislation. (We will continue) our effort to have legislations supportive of the science and technology (S&T) path. The Philippine Space Agency (PhiSA) is still being established, the Nuclear Agency Bill, and a legislation on expanding our (S&T) regional offices.
  • Tenth, on Balik Scientist Program. And, lastly, I think we have to take a really serious approach in attracting Filipino scientists abroad to come back, whether on long-term or short-term visit to enable them to give us feedback.


De la P​eña - Science and Digital News

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña has at least 10 wishes for 2019. (EKU)

Meanwhile, here’s a brief DOST Year-End Report provided by de la Peña to SDN — Scitech and Digital News.

DOST Year-end Report 2018

  • Implementation of R&D Projects supportive of the National Harmonized R&D Agenda.
  • Designation of Niche Centers for R&D (NICER).
  • Transfer of Technologies.
  • Successful Launching of Diwata-2 under the Space Technology Development Program (A 50-kg class microsatellite with Enhanced Resolution Camera and an Amateur Radio Unit (ARU) to provide alternative means of communication in times of disaster and emergencies; launched on October 29 from the Tanegashima Space Center, Tanegashima Island, Japan

De la P​eña DOST 2 - Science and Digital News

  • Winning of 2 Gold Medals in the WIPO International Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland (Portable Smart Surface System which also got an award with Jury Distinction. It is an electronic sensor or system which is capable of converting virtually any flat surface into an interactive interface which is used to enhance the learning by offering interactive learning environments; Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit (it is used in detecting the presence of dengue infections in an hour or less in hospitals and stand-alone chain laboratories).
  • Support to 36,772 DOST scholars in 2018 (Secondary, 8,358; Bachelor of Science, 23,393; Master of Science, 3,495, and Doctor of Philosophy, 1,526; for Balik Scientist Program (BSP), 26 Balik Scientists engaged in host institutions nationwide; 237 scholars awarded under Bangon Marawi HRD Program; 84 MD-PhD scholars in Molecular Medicine; 1,997 teachers given support for competence development through STEM trainings.
  • Enabling firms to upgrade leveraging technology through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP, which provides a wide range of S&T solutions: innovation fund, technology transfer & commercialization, consultancy, packaging assistance, technology training and laboratory & testing services, 721 firms received Innovation Fund or ifund, OneExpert, OneLab, MPEX (Manufacturing Productivity Extension Program), OneStore, and Food Innovation Center (FIC)
  • Delivery of accurate and timely forecast on weather, rainfall, water levels, volcano and seismological updates through PAGASA and PHIVOLCS.
  • Delivery of responsive laboratory and calibration services through OneLab, which provides a laboratory service at single touch-point. It is a robust network with 16 Regional S&T Labs, 6 DOST R&D Institute Labs, and 18 non-DOST Labs
  • Implementation of bilateral and multilateral international S&T collaboration. The outcomes of collaboration forged include, Research Collaboration. Among highlights, MECO-TECO: 3 researches under the Volcano, Ocean, Typhoon and Earthquake (VOTE) Initiative; 4 researches under the Health, Agriculture and Training (HAT) Initiative; and 5 researches under the Joint Research Program (JRP); 3 researches funded in the area of agriculture (DOST-JSPS); 6 ongoing research in the area of health (UK-PH Joint Health Research; Scholarship /Capacity Building, Highlights, 8 scholars pursuing Petroleum Engineering  in Malaysia, 17 students doing research in the different Taiwanese universities in the areas of Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Fisheries, 10 scholars offerings granted to Cambodian nationals to pursue Sciences and Engineering studies in the Philippines through the ASEAN initiative; Participation in Technology Exhibitions, highlights, Participation to the Geneva Exhibit (won 2 Gold Medals), Participation in Thailand’s National Science and Technology Fair, National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) participation as exhibitor during the DOST 2018 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW). (EKU)

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