To celebrate the accomplishments of the scientific community and spread awareness of the importance of science to the nation, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) held “AghamBayan: A DOST-UP Science, Technology, and Innovation Festival” on June 20, 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Manila, where the top innovations of the University of the Philippines (UP) supported by DOST were showcased. Thirty-nine scientific projects under the themes health and well-being, environment, food, and human resource development and manufacturing were featured in the exhibit.
In his opening message, UP President Danilo L. Concepcion mentioned projects in collaboration with the DOST such as the dengue kit, disaster mitigation innovations, microsatellite, and other programs geared towards solving persistent problems in the country, emphasizing “agham para sa bayan” as UP’s pledge to do scientific efforts for the betterment of the lives of the people.
On the other hand, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Peña shared stories of success of some UP projects funded by DOST. “These accomplishments are not for the DOST and the UP communities alone; this is a gift to the whole country,” he said.
An audiovisual presentation was presented to the audience showing the top 11 DOST-funded UP projects which had significant contribution to the scientific community and national development namely Diwata microsatellites; LiDAR Data for DREAM Program; robust real-time early warning system for landslides; ACTICon; Protein Enriched Copra Meal (PECM); SARAi; shrimp pathogenomics; improving coconut varieties through genomics, genetics, and breeding; dengue detection kit; a republic act for newborn screening (RA 9288); and sambong tablet.
Moreover, the AghamBayan handbook “Better Living Through Science and Technology: A Selected Compilation of DOST-funded UP R&D Projects”, which features the 39 scientific products and technologies showcased during the event was handed to different government agencies and industry representatives to serve as guide and inspiration to continuously uphold science for the people.
Issues on distrust addressed
AghamBayan also served as a venue for UP researchers, scientists, as well as stakeholders, technology adaptors, and industry leaders to converge to discuss different issues and strategies to further convey the yields of scientific endeavors efficiently to the Filipinos.
Three panel discussions were done which highlighted the perspectives of the industry and government and addressed their respective concerns particularly on the delivery of scientific research outputs not only to the public as a whole but to specific stakeholders, as well as the retrospective on technology transfer highlights.
One of the issues that surfaced during the industry panel discussions was the distrust from the academe to the industry. “We need to strengthen the trust to make sure the ecosystem of innovation will persevere,” Atty. Michael Toledo of Philex Mining Corporation said.
On the other hand, Dr. Carmencita Padilla of the UP Manila said during the government panel discussions that, “the industry should trust the scientists’ outputs”. The said issue on distrust brought up during the panel discussions was mutually shared by the government, academe, and the industry towards one another.
Secretary Dela Dela Peña attested the impact of AghamBayan and stated, “sa tech transfer, kailangan ng ganitong event or venue para ma-present ano ang mga technology na available”.
Parallel sessions featuring technologies and innovations in food and agriculture, health, ICT and manufacturing, and environment were also held.
“Commitment of all is needed,” Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), reacted to the panel session on food and agriculture and emphasized that bringing science to the people is a collaborative effort of all government agencies, industries, and academe.
A partnership was signed by various government agencies, industry leaders, and academe heads as a mark of the teamwork that these offices and institutions shall uphold in order to fulfill the goal of the scientific community, not only through the DOST and the UP alone but now with the cooperation of the concerned agencies, to help improve the lives of the Filipinos.
In her closing remarks, DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina Guevara said that, “science and technology for the people is at its best when it is shared”.