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NRCP researchers in the region while doing lab work.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has approved the allocation of a total of P172.72M for Year 1 of implementation of an expert utilization program dubbed as RD Lead (R&D Leadership) intended to hasten the research and development capability of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the regions. RD Lead is one of the primary components of the DOST’s Science for Change Program (S4CP) to be implemented from 2017-2022 that intends to accelerate the growth and industry competitiveness of both academic and research institutions in the regions through competitive research, development and innovation.

The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) shall implement the said program which will commence immediately as soon as the fund is released January this year.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara in a meeting with NRCP officials said that NRCP is the most appropriate agency to implement this program as it has the cream of the crop in its roster of scientists, researchers and engineers (RSEs) distributed throughout the country.

As the implementing agency, NRCP will screen experts with strong leadership, management and innovative policy-making proficiencies who will then be deployed in selected HEIs to strengthen their research capacity, productivity and utilization. 

The RD Lead program was conceived by DOST and planned to be implemented together with NICER or the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D, also under the S4CP, which aims to capacitate HEIs in the regions to make significant improvement in regional research. DOST targets to establish at least one NICER in each region of the country. The DOST regional offices and the Regional Development Council (RDC) - the highest planning and policy-making body in the regions serving as the counterpart of the National Economic and Development Authority, shall endorse applications of HEIs needing NICER and RD Leaders (experts).  

An article posted on the Commission on Higher Education website underscores critical issues confronting HEIs in years which include limited number of competent or qualified researchers, inadequate linkages between potential partners in industry and counterpart institutions, lack of awareness on IP protection, lack of knowledge to commercialize research outputs, sustainability of R&D funding to name a few.

The RD Lead program was designed to fill these gaps.

The RD Leaders will work in his/her host HEI during the contract period and will help HEI increase the number of their publications in reputable journals, patents, and new innovative products/processes with competitive commercial value; help in the development of research and development roadmaps, in modernizing laboratories, and in establishing NICER.

Because of the huge responsibilities being entailed, the expert shall be paid attractive salary commensurate with his/her qualifications and research experience.

The NRCP will have a technical working group who will develop the qualifications and terms of references of the contracted experts for matching with the needs of the recipient HEI. Detailed information on the guidelines and criteria will be uploaded on the NRCP website as soon as these are finalized.

For this year alone, NRCP targets to hire at least 22 highly qualified RD Leaders for deployment to priority HEIs in the regions.

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