DOST launches ‘Science for Change’

To leverage the new technologies coming out of the Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has officially launched its Science for Change Program, or S4CP.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña spearheaded the launch of the S4CP’s during the 3rd National Research and Development Conference (NRDC).

He said the NRDC, organized yearly by the DOST, gathers various players of the Philippines’ innovation system — policy- and decision-makers, researchers, funders, users, and beneficiaries of the department’s R&D efforts. Hundreds of them participated in Friday’s NRDC at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

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He told this journalist in an interview that DOST is mandated to hold an NRDC as stipulated in Republic Act No. 10055, or the “Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009.”

“We are actually following the provision of the Technology Transfer Act that once a year there should be a national R&D conference so that we can disseminate and inform (the people) about what is happening, what is being achieved, and we can (also) gather feedback,” said de la Peña.

He added the DOST’s strategy dubbed Science for the People (SFTP) is also a component of the S4CP.

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The DOST chief cited the reason for this: “Basically, we would like to say that the benefits of what we are doing in the science and technology (S&T) sector redound to the benefit of the Filipino citizens whether you are in the sector like farming, or whether you are a student, or whether you are a professional, or whether you are an entrepreneur, there is something that science can do for you.”

In his speech, de la Peña noted that IR4.0 or Industry 4.0 is characterized by frontier technological breakthroughs integrating the physical, biological and digital worlds that give life to dramatic and transformative shifts in the economy, in the way people do business, or how they perform practically every single human task.

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“Technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), blockchain, 3D printing, and virtual reality can potentially transform products, services, and associated support networks,” he said.

From these technologies, he pointed out, emerge new business models as well as new institutions which are seen to pave the way for a new era in the economy, social and political lives.

“It is predicted that these technologies will have a profound impact, possibly aggravating the disparities within and between nations,” said de la Peña.

The DOST chief cited the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) forecast on the impact of the emerging technological trends resulting “in a net loss of over five million jobs by 2020.”

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On the other hand, he said, that while millions of jobs could be lost, “there is an equal opportunity for millions of new jobs being created as well” as the same technologies bring with them the enormous potential to raise productivity and create positive impacts to society and environment. He added IR4.0 technologies can be used to feed the country’s rising population through technological innovations in agriculture and food systems.

“It is against his backdrop that the DOST formulates its programs and projects towards Industry 4.0 taking into considerations the country’s technological landscape and capabilities,” said de la  Peña.

The S4CP has four components, such as the Niche Center in the Regions (NICER) Program for Research and Development (R&D); R&D Leadership (RDLead) Program; Collaborative R&D to Leverage (CRADLE) Philippine Economy Program; and Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry Program.

NICER seeks to capacitate higher education institutions (HEIs) in the regions; RDLead engages experts who are equipped with strong leadership, management, and innovative policy-making proficiency; CRADLE aims to help create a synergistic relationship between the academe as producer of knowledge and manpower, and the industry as an organization which implements technologies; and, BIST was crafted to facilitate the acquisition of foreign technologies by Filipino companies for immediate incorporation in their R&D activities.

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De la  Peña said the S4CP “endeavors to significantly accelerate science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the country by massive and aggressive investments in R&D with complementary human resource development initiatives.”

He added that S4CP is linked with the Duterte administration’s development goals through the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and the DOST’s own Science for the People strategy.

Presently, DOST is accepting project proposals it will fund for the S4CP components.

 


Banner photo: DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña (right) and DOST Undersecretary Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara flank recipients of the department’s CRADLE Program, University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) and Hijo Resources Corp. (HRC) represented by USP plant pathologist Cecirly G. Puig (2nd, left) and HRC CEO/president Ms. Rosanna Tuazon-Fores during the 3rd National R&D Conference.

EDD K. Usman: 1st winner of “Best Science Feature Story” of 2018 UP Science Journalism Award on February 17; winner in June 2014 for Print Media in Kabalikat Award Media Category of PCIEERD-DOST Science Journalism Award; alumnus of United States’ East-West Center 2008 Senior Journalists Seminar; participant of South Korea 2000 Executive Seminar for Information Technology Journalists; senior journalist at Manila Bulletin until April 15, 2016; stringer/contributor at present for Rappler, Newsbytes.ph, Claire Delfin Online Magazine, Malaya Business Insight, Agriculture Magazine (of Manila Bulletin), and U.S.-based Philippine News. Traveled on assignment abroad more than 30 times. Reports about SciTech, IT, ICT, Current Events, and many other subjects under Heaven.

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