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UN Public Service Award goes to PH’s Science for Change Program

One of the recipients of the 2022 United Nations (UN) Public Service Award in the category of “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Public Institutions to Reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals” was the nation’s Science for Change Program (S4CP).

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recognized by the UN for its excellent achievement that demonstrated excellence in serving the public interest during its Public Service Day event.

“With this award, public service organizations are recognized for their innovative efforts and contributions that improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the public administration. In a virtual press conference on Thursday, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pea remarked, “This is a worthy recognition of the high-caliber performance performed by the S4CP, which is led by Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara.

He claimed that in 2016, the S4CP was just an idea. The DOST regional offices and sectoral councils developed a program through Guevara and her team that sought to innovatively alter how science and technology (S&T) and the products of research and development (R&D) are incorporated into society.

The S4CP is made up of four sub-programs and focuses on an accelerated R&D program for increasing the capability of R&D Institutions and industrial competitiveness. Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER), R&D Leadership (RDLead), Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage the Philippine Economy (CRADLE), and Business Innovation Through S&T (BIST) for Industry are the first four.

According to Guevara, the S4CP is an enabler of an inclusive innovation ecosystem because it offers key industry players and stakeholders opportunities for research and development (R&D) while addressing societal issues that lead to community transformation and regional and national socioeconomic development.

“Prior to the S4CP, R&D funding was restricted to Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces. Filipino scientists were forced to pursue new vocations or, worse yet, export their brilliance to other nations due to a lack of prospects in the regions. The majority of our local businesses, which are micro, small, and medium-sized companies, are forced to invest in foreign-made technologies in order to maintain operations and increase their competitiveness, according to de la Pea.

By promoting collaborations between the public sector, academic institutions, and private sector, he continued, “we develop stronger ties that put S&T into the fundamental structure of local businesses.”

He said that by constructing R&D infrastructures, collaborative R&D, technology acquisition, and capacity building, the DOST has increased the effectiveness of public institutions across the nation through the S4CP.

Through these activities, S&T would be delivered to Filipinos, according to De la Pea.

There are currently 43 NICERs, or research and development centers, spread throughout 17 regions, with PHP2.3 billion in funding given to universities.

86 collaborations between academic institutions, research and development organizations (RDIs), and business have also resulted from the S4CP.

A total of PHP396.6 million was allocated as grants for CRADLE collaborations to address business issues.

On the other hand, BIST provided local businesses with PHP43.3 million in financial help for the purchase of technology.

The RDLead initiative has provided PHP59.91 million to 65 RDLeaders in 63 host institutions.

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