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DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara with NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay and DOST Regional Directors during the DOST-S4CP North Luzon cluster in Baguio City.

The Science for Change (S4C) Summit featured three (3) Research and Development Leadership (RDLead) engagements in its North Luzon leg last May 13, 2022, at the Newtown Events Place in Baguio City. The RDLead engagements featured were the following: Saint Louis University (SLU) with RD Leader Dr. Ronald Del Castillo; Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC) – now University of Ilocos Philippines – UIP – with RD Leader Dr. Tonette P. Laude; and Saint Mary University (SMU) with RD Leader, Dr. Renann O. Baldovino.

The RDLead engagements were featured in video presentations where the RD Leaders gave an overview of their engagements and how they worked to help level up their host institution’s research capabilities. Meanwhile, a representative from the host institutions did a live Ted talk – style presentation of the engagement’s impacts on them as beneficiaries.  

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Dr. Rainier M. Lacalle, a research faculty of SLU delivered his testimonials about the RDLead and SLU engagements.

SLU – mental health research for the Cordillerans

Dr. Rainier Moreno-Lacalle, a nursing research faculty at SLU, highlighted how from scratch, SLU has developed its first inter-university research program related to mental health. He emphasized the need to formally pursue research on mental health to serve the people in the Cordilleras where there is an alarming uptrend on suicide incidences. Hence, SLU’s engagement with RD Leader Dr. Ronald Del Castillo is focused on developing research proposals on mental health. 

Dr. Lacalle further reported how the engagement awakened interest among the faculty as evidenced by the 50% increase in the faculty participation in RDLead activities. He also added that as more of them are attending trainings, and conducting research, more of them are now gearing up to apply what they have learned by way of pursuing other research areas on top of mental health.

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Research Director Annabelle Francisco deliver her testimonials about the RDLead and ISPSC engagements.

 ISPSC – from hardly any to notably many

Dr. Annabelle Francisco, Research Director at ISPSC presented the RDLead engagement milestones for ISPSC (UIP). She talked about how ISPSC basically started with no external grants from the DOST as they have not tried submitting one for external funding. This has changed since the RDLead engagement.  They have already submitted 2 research proposals for funding to the DOST Region 1 Office under the guidance of their RD Leader, Dr. Tonette Laude.

In closing her presentation, she highlighted how ISPSC has increased linkages of its faculty through the engagement. She talked about how from only 2 NRCP members, 15 ISPSC faculty have submitted their membership applications during the Council’s call which closed last March 15, 2022. She added that she is hopeful that the membership to the NRCP will be the start for the ISPSC faculty to tap more research opportunities to make more relevant impact to their institution.

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Engr. Angelino Pimentel gave his testimonials about the RDLead and SMU engagements.

SMU – making its presence felt

Engr. Angelino Pimentel presented the SMU-RDLead engagement with Dr. Rennan Baldovino. He narrated how the engagement has been instrumental in enhancing awareness of the SMU faculty and personnel on research opportunities. Prior to the engagement, SMU lack the information on the vast research possibilities that can tapped for the institution and for the faculty researchers. He mentioned that the research landscape is starting to change as indicated by new initiatives such as the current memorandum of agreement being worked out with an international university – Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology (STUST). The partnership with STUST is expected to open opportunities for SMU personnel by way for graduate scholarship, which will boost their research competencies. With these developments, SMU hopes it will soon make its presence felt in the research ecosystem in region 2.

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Dr. Rennan Baldovino (RD Leader of SLU), Dr. Anabelle Francisco (representative from ISPSC), Engr. Angelino Pimentel (representative from SMU) during the open forum with USEC Rowena Guevarra.

During the open forum that followed, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara expressed the importance of the synergy among all the S4C component programs.  She expressed her appreciation of the impacts that the RDLead program has given on its beneficiary institutions.

She congratulated the RD Leaders, who joined her onstage, and thanked the host institutions for opening themselves up to their mentors and taking in learnings and ideas from them. She encouraged the host institutions to make the most of their engagement and assured them that the DOST and the NRCP will continue to work with them and more windows for them to realize their potentials and help them make positive impacts to their regions and the country.