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The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) Research and Development Leadership (RDLead) capped off the last leg of the Science for Change (S4C) Summit with 4 featured RDLead engagements in Regions 4A, 4B, and 5. In the summit held last June 10, 2022, at the Crimson Hotel, Filinvest, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, the NRCP featured 4 RDLead engagements from the three regions. These are: Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa City, with RD Leader, Mr. Almario G. Lasam; Sorsogon State University, Sorsogon City, with RD Leader, Dr. Shirley T. Palisoc; Pamantasan ng Cabuyao, Cabuyao City, Laguna, with RD Leader, Dr. Edwin Sybingco; and the Philippine Air Force – Air Education Training Doctrine Command (PAF – AETDC), Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, with RD Leader, Dr. Franco G. Teves. The recently held S4C summit is the last of the 4-event series covering the National Capital Region, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol region. The event completed the series that have already gone to Bacolod City for Visayas last May 5, 2022; Baguio City for North Luzon last May 13, 2022; and Davao City for Mindanao last May 27, 2022.

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The Research and Development Leadership (RDLead) is one of the 4 components of the Science for Change Program (S4CP) that holistically addresses gaps in research and development to accelerate the development of science, technology, and innovation in the country. The RDLead addresses the human resource capacity gaps in the country’s research ecosystem by engaging experts, called RD Leaders, and seasoned researchers with notable leadership and management skills to mentor new and budding institutions and their personnel towards the conduct of research and development initiatives.


The RDLead is one of the segments in the S4C Summit which features the testimonies of RDLead-assisted institutions and highlights the gains and accomplishments through the program from the beneficiary’s point of view. It started with a video presentation by the RD Leaders about their respective engagements with their host institutions. This was then followed by a live Ted Talk-style presentation done by a representative from the host institution as the beneficiary, discussing how the work with the RD Leaders paved the way for more breakthroughs and opportunities for the individual researchers and the institution.

PalSU – taking on the challenging petroleum research3

Dr. Marjorie Española, Research Director of Palawan State University took the stage to present the RDLead engagement at PalSU. She started off by providing a historical background of the engagement, which started less than a year ago. She talked about how she got involved in the petroleum research group that PalSU’s RD Leader, Mr. Almario Lasam constituted for his engagement. Although her background is not engineering, she expressed happiness that she is able to contribute to the research project through the lens of social science.

In discussing their engagement with their RD Leader, she narrated how the trainings and lectures have been a big help in the learning of PalSU’s faculty as well their students taking up petroleum engineering. She reported that the engagement has been receiving a lot of interest as shown in the high attendance turn out during training sessions. To date, the RDLead engagement at PalSU has a total of 195 combined number of participants to the training and lecture sessions conducted by Mr. Lasam, a geoscientist with a 42-year industry experience in both local and international petroleum companies.

In applying the learnings from their RD Leader, she reported how PalSU completed its research program proposal on petroleum engineering for submission to the next call for proposal for the Niche Centers in the Regions (NICER), also one of the components of the S4CP. She mentioned how PalSU’s resolve was challenged in completing the program proposal with 6 component projects. She also highlighted that the group already published 2 manuscripts in high-impact journals, which has boosted the team’s confidence even more. Another highlight of her accomplishment is the new set of NRCP members whose applications were recently approved by the NRCP Governing Board (GB). This is a significant jump as none from the core group was an NRCP member prior to the engagement. Currently, there are 3 NRCP members from the group, herself included. She added that PalSU is going to work to have more NRCP members.

In closing her presentation, she featured the ongoing discussions for collaborations that PalSU is working on with the help of Mr. Lasam. The team is eyeing partnerships with 5 more academic institutions, 1 industry player, and 1 government agency – the Department of Energy. She then thanked the DOST – NRCP for putting Palawan State University in the map of the RDLead engagements in the country.

SorSU – Opening up to bigger opportunities4

Dr. Ryan Dio, Research Director of Sorsogon State University represented his institution in the event. He presented SorSU’s engagement with its RD Leader, Dr. Shirley T. Palisoc, a material scientist, and retired physics professor. He started out by mentioning how SorSU got “bombarded” with various capacity development activities by Dr. Palisoc at the height of the pandemic in 2020. He presented how these led to the development of several research proposals, 5 policy briefs, and eventually, 4 papers published in academic journals.

He mentioned how these opened a myriad of opportunities for the SorSU faculty, particularly the support they have obtained in presenting 2 of their papers to local and international platforms through the NRCP RDLIP (Research Dissemination in Local and International Platforms), for which he expressed gratitude as these have opened SorSU up to a vast network of opportunities awaiting to be tapped by its personnel and the institution. He also highlighted the 2 additional faculty to SorSU’s list of NRCP members. Moreover, he also reported the 2 projects grants that they received under K-TOP (Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya) program of the NRCP and how these are instrumental in boosting SorSU’s confidence that they too, can partake in various research and development projects.

In addition to the mentored personnel and researchers, Dr. Dio also reported 6 new collaborations with various external stakeholders ranging from academic institutions to government agencies and units. Another piece of accomplishment that SorSU has achieved is the development of the provincial ordinance (Pili Industry Development Ordinance of 2020) stemming from a simple policy brief which SorSU crafted. He also mentioned about 3 products submitted for patent application, 2 more for chemical profiling, and the extension of 4 research outputs to their beneficiaries. In closing his message, he expressed how the RDLead engagement has helped in its research undertakings to better serve its community.

“The inputs and accomplishments in this engagement help us in the redirection of our research and innovation initiative through the provisions of our new strategic plan for 2022-2026 as our guide being the newly converted state university through RA 11088 with a certification awarded to us by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) last May 2021.”, Dr. Dio ended.

PnC – Making its presence felt

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Dr. Virginia Bautista, Vice President for Research and Extension of the Pamantasan ng Cabuyao (PnC) did the presentation of their RDLead engagement with Dr. Sybingco, an artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning expert. She highlighted how PnC is strategically located within the neighborhood of huge industries in CALABARZON, particularly in Laguna, home to numerous industrial and techno parks in the country.

She gave an overview on how the engagement started less than a year ago and then followed it with their key accomplishments and milestones. She highlighted the research readiness assessment that was done by Dr. Sybingco, which led to an enhanced PnC research agenda. She reported that the engagement has led to 11 more conference papers in highly esteemed journals, a 183% jump in PnC’s outputs in less than a year.

She also showcased the various trainings that the PnC faculty has taken under the mentorship of Dr. Sybingco, from proposal development, manuscript writing, to more specialized trainings on additive manufacturing and technical computing. In addition to these, PnC also talked about their ongoing discussions for research partnerships with other institutions like the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) of the DOST.

Another notable, and possibly the biggest highlight of PnC’s presentation, is its first ever external grant worth PhP 5 million from the DOST Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), through its Institutional Development Program (IDP). PnC received the grant to establish its own Data Analytics, Network, Grid, and Automation Laboratory or PnC DANGAL. With the DANGAL in place, PnC will be able to conduct more relevant and impactful research projects to serve its immediate community and the neighboring industries.

In capping off her presentation, Dr. Bautista showed that PnC now has 10 membership applications (from zero) to the NRCP, which, according to her, is a great development considering that PnC was not vary familiar with the NRCP until the RDLead engagement started. In closing her talk, she expressed how grateful PnC is for the S4CP and the RDLead and that they now look forward to a more productive and meaningful future of research at PnC.

PAF – AETDC: beefing up security through R&D

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Ms. Sheryl B. Dela Cruz, a civilian personnel and researcher at the Philippine Air Force – Air Education Training Doctrine Command (PAF – AETDC) took the stage to present and discuss the accomplishments and impacts that their engagement with their RD Leader Dr. Franco G. Teves had on their unit and their personnel. She highlighted how they were trained to develop research proposals for external funding, which they did not know much about prior to the engagement. This led to their team developing 4 full-blown proposals to help address the gaps in air force through research.

She also talked about the training needs analysis conducted on PAF – AETDC, which helped provide inputs on how the AETDC can move forward towards becoming more productive in research – one of its mandates. Moreover, she also featured the special biosecurity training that Dr. Teves conducted for the PAF – AETDC personnel, which benefited 22 participants.

She gave a rundown of the key milestones during their short engagement with Dr. Teves, a microbiologist and biosecurity expert. She mentioned the 3 personnel that eventually became members of the NRCP, herself included, from none before the engagement. Next is the core group of 8 personnel being mentored on research throughout the engagement. This core group developed 4 full-blown proposals, 2 of which were submitted to the DOST Call for Proposals in 2021. To punctuate these milestones, she reported the approval of 1 research project by the NRCP. This marks the first external research grant for PAF – AETDC and its debut in the DOST research ecosystem. She narrated how they are now more adept in carrying out their research and development function, which allows them to better support the mission of the Training Development Center (TDC), under which the AETDC belongs.

Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development congratulated the presenters and their RD Leaders. She highlighted how the RDLead program has helped in contributing to a more inclusive research ecosystem in the country, one of the aims of the S4CP.  After the RDLead presentation, an open forum followed which provided guests an opportunity to ask questions. As the beneficiaries did the presentations, their RD Leaders participated in the open forum to answer the questions from the participants, both live and online.

Usec. Guevara expressed happiness in seeing the new and budding institutions achieve research breakthroughs through the RDLead program. She congratulated and thanked the RD Leaders and their host institutions for working together towards a more dynamic and responsive institutions through research and development. In closing her message, she rallied the audience and asked for their support to help the DOST finally get the S4C bill passed in the upcoming congress as she believes this will stand to benefit all stakeholders in the country, especially towards wealth creation for the future generations.

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