DOST SCIENCE FOR CHANGE PROGRAM
The Science for Change Program (S4CP) was created to accelerate STI in the country in order to keep up with the developments in our time wherein technology and innovation are game changers. Through the Science for Change Program (S4CP), the DOST can significantly accelerate STI in the country and create a massive increase in investment on S&T Human Resource Development and R&D.
S4CP focuses on Accelerated R&D Program for Capacity Building of R&D Institutions and Industrial Competitiveness which is composed of four (4) programs namely: (1) Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program, (2) R&D Leadership (RDLead) Program, (3) Collaborative R&D to Leverage PH Economy (CRADLE) for RDIs and Industry Program, (4) Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry Program.
Figure 1. The four components of the DOST Science for Change Program
The NICER Program capacitates Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the regions to make significant improvement in regional research by integrating its development needs with the existing R&D capabilities and resources. It provides institutional grants for HEIs in the regions for R&D capacity building to improve their S&T infrastructure. The NICER Program was established in consultation with the academe and industry; and endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC). Hence, a NICER is a Unique center for collaborative R&D to address specific S&T needs of local communities and industries, thereby accelerating regional development.
NICER caters to the specific needs of the Regions, which include upgrading, development, and acquisition of R&D equipment to undertake collaborative R&D activities. Currently, there are 18 existing NICERs across 14 regions for a total funding of P641M.
Figure 2. DOST NICERs across the Philippine archipelago
The R&D Leadership Program complements the establishment of R&D Centers thru the NICER Program. RDLead provides the mechanism to bring in experts and highly skilled professionals with strong leadership, management and innovative policy-making proficiencies to be in charge of strengthening the research capabilities of the HEIs, National Government Agencies (NGAs) and Research Development Institutions (RDIs) in the regions. Together, the RDLead and NICER Programs will capacitate HEIs to help improve and hasten the use of research results that will contribute to the socio-economic development of the country and help address pressing challenges. The NRCP is the implementing agency for this programme.
The Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program is specifically designed to foster collaboration between academe and local companies to improve competitiveness and catalyze innovation. It aims to improve the country’s innovation ecosystem by facilitating the smooth transition of new technologies from universities and research and development institutes (RDI) to industries - from lab to market. The framework of CRADLE is a trihelix partnership between the government, the industry and the academe wherein the government finances the collaboration of the private company and the partner university or RDI. The Program aims to address a problem of a Filipino company using R&D to develop innovative solutions. To date, the DOST has already provided almost Php 125 M of funding to 29 academe-industry collaborations all over the country.
Figure 3. CRADLE Partners (as of 2nd Quarter 2020)
The Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry Program aims to level-up the innovation capacity of the Philippine Industrial Sector through R&D by helping private companies and industries acquire novel and strategic technologies, such as state-of-the-art equipment and machinery, technology licenses and patent rights among others. The program will cover up to 70% of the total eligible cost of the needed technology at zero percent interest. To date, the BIST Program has approved one project from an herbal company, Herbanext Laboratories Inc., providing a total financial assistance of Php11.7M.
A Steering committee for CRADLE and BIST Programs was created through the DOST Special Order No. 0276 which was approved on 02 April 2018. The Steering Committee is headed by Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, Undersecretary for R&D, and the members include the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD)
The committee performs the following functions: (1) Review/formulate policies relating to the implementation of CRADLE and BIST Program; (2) Provide advice and guidance in the management and administration of the projects; and (3) Other functions necessary for the successful implementation of CRADLE and BIST Programs.
Since the implementation of the S4CP in 2017, the DOST has spent a total of Php 407,585,946.60 to the four programs. The budget is broken down as follows:
Table 1. Summary of Science for Change funding, 2017-2019