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The Research and Development Leadership (RDLead) Program, implemented by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) embarked on a more intensive promotional activity to increase regional awareness about the program. It has set the conduct of an online RDLead Promotion and Orientation with the theme Bridging Research Capability Gaps in the Regions. The event is aimed at explaining the support available from the RDLead Program to encourage Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Research and Development Institutes (RDIs), and National Government Agencies (NGAs) to avail of the support. The RDLead program engages experts, called RD Leaders to mentor beneficiary institutions (HEIs, RDIs, and NGAs) towards developing and enhancing their research capabilities through the conduct of various capacity-development activities.

Participants from the institutions in BARMM, CAR, Caraga during the 5th session of the RDLead Promotion and Orientation as they gamely participate in the photo-taking session following the end of the activity last February 26, 2021 via Zoom.

The conduct of a more intensive information campaign about the RDLead program is in support of the program’s bid to engage 30 RD Leaders and 30 institutions for its Year 3 implementation. It is also in support of the DOST’s aim to engage more “new” institutions through its various projects and programs. These “new” institutions are those that have not yet received any form of research grant from the DOST and its funding agencies namely: The National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP); Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD); Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD); and Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

As reported by DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, only 148 out of the more than 2,000 HEIs in the country have been engaged by the DOST through research grants. While this is already an increase from the 85 HEIs in 2016, the DOST and NRCP still sees the need to reach and support more new and budding institutions in the field of R&D in order to sustain the country’s efforts to increase its scientific competitiveness. The RDLead Program is directed to help augment the number of HEIs assisted by the DOST and its funding agencies by helping institutions, particularly those who are new to the field of R&D in developing their research competencies and eventually be qualified to receive grants from the DOST.

A total of ten (10) sessions of the RDLead Promotion and Orientation were set by the team headed by Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, NRCP Executive Director and RDLead Project Leader. The 10 sessions cover all the 17 regions in the country. The orientation started last February 9, 2021 and will run until March 23, 2021, covering 7 weeks of implementation. The activity kicked off with Region 4B (MIMAROPA) as the first stop and will have Regions 8 (Eastern Visayas), 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), and 11 (Davao) as the 10th and final stop. As of this time of writing, the RDLead Webinar Orientation has already completed the conduct of 5 sessions covering 7 regions in the country. The RDLead Promotion and Orientation is being conducted in partnership with the DOST Office of the Undersecretary for Research and Development, the 16 DOST Regional Offices and the Ministry of Science and Technology for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOST-BARMM).  The following table shows the full schedule of the RDLead Webinar Orientation from February to March 2021:

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