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DOST program wins UN Award

The Science for Change Program (S4CP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) won the United Nations Public Service Award, the organization’s “most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service.”

“Your institution’s outstanding achievement has demonstrated excellence in serving the public interest and it has made a significant contribution to the improvement of public administration in your country,” the United Nations said during its Public Service Day event on Wednesday.

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The S4CP was implemented in 2016 to address the disparity in research and development (R&D) funding in the regions.

Science Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara earlier said that upon her assumption to office in 2016, a large portion of DOST funds for R&D—or 75 percent to 80 percent—was allocated to Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon while the remaining 25 percent to 20 percent was shared by the rest of the regions.

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In a news release on Wednesday night, she said the S4CP allows for an “inclusive innovation ecosystem” by offering R&D opportunities for key industry players and stakeholders.

Milestone

Outgoing Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the UN award was a milestone for the agency, adding that the S4CP has capitalized on the importance of R&D in attaining socioeconomic development.

The S4CP has four subprograms that include “Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D” (Nicer), which establishes R&D centers in the regions to encourage collaboration with higher education institutions (HEIs).

Through Nicer, “qualified HEIs in the regions are provided with grants so they can undertake quality research directed at promoting regional development with their existing capabilities and resources.”

With the second subprogram of the S4CP called “Collaborative R&D to Leverage the Philippine Economy,” or Cradle, the academe partners with a Filipino company to conduct R&D that will enhance the company’s products, processes and services.

The other two subprograms are “R&D Leadership Program,” which engages HEIs or R&D institutions with experts for capacity building, and the “Business Innovation through S&T for Industry Program,” which oversees the acquisition of strategic and relevant innovation by Filipino companies so these could immediately be incorporated in R&D initiatives.

“The S4CP brought about positive changes on the ground that our direct beneficiaries and our regional operations witnessed firsthand,” said Sancho Mabborang, science undersecretary for regional operations.

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