by Ma. Cristina Arayata
MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is encouraging more regional higher education institutions (HEIs) to apply for funding to develop a niche center.
“We are looking for research or project proposals that have social and economic impacts,” DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said in a forum on Wednesday.
She said only the proposals aligned with the harmonized agenda would be funded by any government agency.
Guevara was referring to the harmonized National Research and Development Agenda, which was divided into five sectors: National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (water security, food and nutrition security, sustainable communities, among others); Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources; Industry, energy and Emerging Technology; and Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
“We (DOST) have the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) program. This aims to accelerate the industrial competitiveness,” she said.
NICER was launched in 2017 to enable HEIs nationwide to make a significant improvement in regional research by integrating development needs with existing R&D capabilities and resources.
Chosen HEIs will be provided with an institutional grant for R&D capacity building and improvement of infrastructure.
Earlier, Guevara said there is no limit to the funding that a NICER recipient could request from the DOST.
The amount would depend on what the HEIs need then the DOST would evaluate if the institution could absorb the requested amount, she said.
A good NICER proposal, she said, must be unique in a region.
Guevara said the applicant must have partnered with another institution.
From 2017 to July 2019, the DOST has already provided PHP528 million fund for NICER.
Meanwhile, the official said DOST is also sending experts, called “RD leaders”, to the regions to help institutions write their proposals.
Many of those who were assisted by RD leaders had their proposals approved, she said. (PNA)