Speakers, guests, and participants during the Regional R&D Conference
To enhance research and development (R&D) capabilities of faculty-researchers so as to increase the innovativeness of state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the MIMAROPA region, DOST-MIMAROPA held an R&D conference entitled "Towards Enhancement of the R&D Ecosystem of MIMAROPA SUCs: A Conference" last October 10-11, 2018 at the Seasons Hotel and Convention Center in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
The conference served as one of the major activities of DOST-MIMAROPA's Regional Science and Technology Week celebration, "Changing Lives through Science". Attended by more than 80 participants from local government units, private sector, other government agencies, and from the six (6) MIMAROPA SUCs, the conference provided an opportunity for key R&D players and stakeholders to exchange ideas and enhance their knowledge towards the development of the R&D ecosystem in the region.
Dr. Abilay as she delivers her opening message during the Regional R&D Conference
Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay opened the conference with a message showing the region's R&D situation and current gaps and challenges. She defined the R&D ecosystem and emphasized its importance in socio-economic development as well as the significance and expected outputs of the conference.
It was followed by MIMAROPA SUCs' presentation of their respective R&D profiles based on priority R&D agenda. Each presentation highlighted the 6Ps outputs namely: People Services, Publications, Places and Partnerships, Products, and Policies. It showcased each SUCs' available resources as well as their current initiatives on research, development, and innovation. The information are also significant inputs in the development of the Regional R&D Database an online repository of all RDI-related information in MIMAROPA that is accessible to all key R&D stakeholders. The database, which will be updated periodically, is an initiative of DOST-MIMAROPA to aid the SUCs in policy and decision making and encourage proper documentation and retrieval of R&D-related information.
Various government programs and services that could address the different gaps and challenges identified by the SUCs were tackled, including programs that support researchers like the Balik Scientist Program; available regional innovation facilities such as the Food Innovation Center in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro and the Palawan International Technology Business Incubator; and policies that could encourage faculty-researchers to engage in R&D namely the National Budget Circular No. 461 or the Revised Compensation and Position Classification Plan for faculty positions in SUCs, HEIs, and TEIs, Magna Carta for RSEs, and the Scientific Career System.
DBM Regional Director Cells as she discusses NBC 461 7th Cycle Evaluation
Department of Budget and Management-MIMAROPA (DBM-MIMAROPA) Regional Director Maria Angelita C. Cells recalled the different stories and milestones in the course of the NBC 461 implementation. According to her, DBM, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges' (PASUC) collaborative efforts towards raising the compensation for the improved quality of education and productivity of faculty towards national development will soon come to fruition as the fund for the implementation of the 7th NBC 461's subsequent cycle evaluation would hopefully be provided through Congressional Initiatives.
Dr. Ronquillo as he shares various strategies in providing incentives and encourage their to engage in R&D
On the other hand, PASUC President and Batangas State University President Dr. Tirso Ronquillo shared his insights towards an inclusive and sustainable approaches in addressing the identified gaps and challenges based on his experiences in Batangas State University. According to him, SUCs should focus on providing innovative solutions to an existing problem through demand-driven research projects. He emphasized that for researches to take-off, it is important for researchers to understand the need of the market and embark on technopreneurship and technology business incubation.
"It would take long time to build significant number of experts, but we need to determine what our current capabilities are and start to bank on those capabilities. Also, it is very essential to know what areas or commodities should be focused on. Since we cannot be expert of everything, we must be very good at something. This will also avoid redundancy of work". said Dr. Ronquillo.
He also acknowledged that SUCs in MIMAROPA has still a long way to go. According to him, "we have a lot of coping up to do. We must initiate immediate capability building while aggressively supporting long term development of our human resource, know our capability and resources or find our niche, have conducive policies and attractive scientific incentives, and establish a marketing and extension functions as essential component of research.".
The ceremonial turnover of MHRDC and STIRDC to its respective new base agencies
The two regional consortia Southern Tagalog Islands Research Development Consortium (STIRDC) and MIMAROPA Health Research and Development Consortium (MHRDC) also held a ceremonial turnover to its new base agencies. The Palawan State University (PSU) handed over MHRDC to Marinduque State College (MSC), while Western Philippines University (WPU) turned over STIRDC to PSU. The previous chairs and base agencies were also awarded with plaque of appreciation.