DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr. calls for stronger collaboration among the DOST and institutional partners both in the private and public sector to harness the power of research and development for wealth creation during the 7th National Research and Development Conference held on 15 September 2022 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City.

Bannering the theme of the 7th National Research and Development Conference (NRDC), ‘Sustaining the R&D Momentum through Prosperity and Wealth Creation’, it underscores the important roles of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) in the development of national wealth; having the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as the lead of the first face-to-face installment of the NRDC since 2019.

In his opening remarks, DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., highlighted the featured innovations and initiatives of the DOST and stressed the important roles of STI to the creation of national wealth.

“This year, we will bring the solutions from R&D to our most productive sectors.  The 7th NRDC theme ‘Sustaining the R&D Momentum through prosperity and wealth creation’ underscores innovation’s role in furthering our country’s economic goals in generating wealth, achieving prosperity and ensuring the security of the Filipino people and the whole country”, emphasized Sec. Solidum.

He also pointed out that wealth is associated with proper management of assets and liabilities of both the public and private sector where there is a need to focus on the importance of assets generating a return to cover the investment cost.

As a background, last year’s 6th NRDC, Road to Recovery through R&D, was a framework on the key aspects that needed to be considered in neutralizing the effects of the pandemic.

Solidum cited that in 2020 and 2021, the DOST unveiled 20 innovations and subsequently followed by another 21 innovations in 2021 that provided innovative solutions to address some of the country’s problems in different sectors. At the forefront are the health innovations for the ongoing pandemic and some innovations that support local companies, most especially the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 

“According to the Philippine Statistics Authority data in 2021, more than 1.08 million establishments were in operation. About 977,670 comprising 90.5 percent compose the number for MSMEs.  The iron and steel industry comprise the bulk of materials needed for economic development.   Given the vastness of our natural resources, especially in mineral reserves and iron ore, support must be given to our local companies”.

He also added that with the income potential of the steel industry, the DOST invested in testing facilities with the objective of helping small companies become more competitive, more productive, and capable of exporting their products.

Citing the Analysis and Testing Division and Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen) of DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) which provides scientific and technical services such as the metals, engineering, and allied industries, Sec. Solidum stressed that companies can save as much as 50% through these technologies. However, the investments are not enough, hence expanded testing capacities at DOST-MIRDC and other laboratories are needed.

“As early as 2012, the DOST introduced OneLab to provide a unified network of laboratories that conducts various tests in areas such as Chemical, Microbiology, Food, Cosmetics, Metals, Adhesives, Pesticides, Furnitures, Cement, Construction, Dried Raw Seaweeds, Halal, and more.  OneLab services are offered by both local and international laboratories from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Australia. As the network expands, more services shall be added”, he shared.

To support the steel industry, manufacturing, and other large industries, the DOST created facilities to support the DOST-Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL), a national testing facility that houses sophisticated and advanced analytical instruments for Failure Analysis (FA) and materials characterization. This facility helps multinational companies in developing and designing new products, address product recalls, and materials characterization.

Moreover, he shared the initiatives of DOST in terms of health. He mentioned that with the implementation of the Tuklas Lunas program, funding for drug discovery and development were significantly increased, supported and partnered with 28 institutions nationwide to help in the implementation of projects addressing various stages of drug discovery and development.

Mentioning the above initiatives and facilities by DOST, Sec. Solidum mentioned that there is a need to replenish the pool of competent human resources through the DOST- supported programs like the Balik Scientist Program and S&T fellows.

“For this 7th NRDC, I am very pleased to see that we will be highlighting programs, projects, and researches that contributed to wealth creation in five broad areas: (1) health, (2) disaster risk resilience and climate change adaptation, (3) information, communications, education, and industry, (4) agriculture, aquatic and natural resources, and (5) industry, energy, and emerging technology.”

He also added that to show the full commitment in achieving prosperity and wealth creation through R&D, the achievements of Harmonized National R&D Agenda for 2017- 2022 should be continued. “To this end, we have prepared the Harmonized National R&D Agenda for 2022 to 2028. The agenda is tailored to fit the eight-point economic priorities of the Marcos administration, with particular focus on the areas of food security, health, nutrition and lifestyle improvement, sustainable transport, development of clean energy resources, digital infrastructure, and creation of quality jobs.”

Meanwhile, he encouraged the participating agencies to work hand-in-hand with DOST and unify the STI narrative in the implementation of this agenda to bring the fruits of R&D efforts to all corners of the nation. Solidum finished his talk by conveying the new battle cry of the DOST, #OneDOST4U, in support of the mantra that science is for the people. (30)

Various officials of the DOST and other government agencies converge during the holding of the first day of the 7th National Research and Development Conference held on 15 September 2022 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.  

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