UK, PHL partner for development through Newton Agham annual grants

Sunday, January 28, 2018 01:39 AM    Views : 787by:Lyn Resurreccion

In Photo: Royal Academy of Engineering-DOST Leaders in Innovation Fellowship grantees with Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña (fifth from left) and British Ambassador Daniel Pruce (sixth from left)

The 2018 batch of Newton Agham 31 grantees, who qualified for scholarships, researches, trainings and institutional links to the United Kingdom were recognized in a recent reception at the British Embassy Manila.

The 2018 awards are valued at about £4 million, or P270 million.

British Ambassador Daniel Pruce (third from right), Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Agricultural Research Director Nicomedes Eleazar (left) and Dr. Vivencio Mamaril (second from left) of the DA Biotech Program together with the grantees under the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council-DA Swine and Poultry Research and the university heads

Led by the UK government, the Newton Fund, known in the Philippines as Newton Agham (Science) Programme, is in partnership with the Philippines's Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The program, now on its fourth year, supports scientific endeavors that address challenges in food security, environmental resilience, health and innovation capacity in the Philippines.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said during the event, "Science forms an important part of the modern partnership between the UK and the Philippines. Working together, with our combined strengths, we can combat shared challenges and support prosperity and well-being."

On the Newton Agham's fourth year in the country, the British government, together with its partners, the DOST, the CHED and the DA, have jointly awarded about P1.2-billion (£18.5-million) grants.

Including the 2018 awards, the program has, among others, supported 22 PhD scholars, awarded 60 innovation fellowships and provided 14 large-scale three-year research grants in research themes relevant to Philippine development, including infectious diseases, rice research and swine and poultry diseases.

Four PhD scholarship grantees are with British Pruce (fourth from left) and former Commission on Higher Education Chairman Patricia B. Licuanan (third from left)

The 2018 four award categories include the following:

UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-DA Swine and Poultry Initiative

Royal Academy of Engineering-DOST Leaders in Innovation Fellowship (LIF)

British Council-CHED Institutional Links

British Council-CHED PhD scholars

The BBSRC-DA Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the DA-Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Program are supporting four large-scale three-year research grants that promote sustainable, safe, healthy and resilient swine and poultry production systems.

DA-BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar said during the ceremonies, "We commend the UK government and the efforts of our partners. We truly hope that our poultry and swine research initiative will bring about a significant contribution to help disease management and control as it leads to the sustainability and vibrance of the sector."

He added: "Let us continue working together in coming up with transformative and catalytic steps that would guide our path toward competitive, sustainable and resilient agriculture and fishery sector."

The LIF program, supported by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and DOST, technology commercialization and tech-startup creation is enabled.

Fifteen Filipino researchers and technology-transfer officers flew to the United Kingdom last week for an intensive two-week training course on innovation to build capacity for entrepreneurship and commercialization.

The fellows will receive further training at the Asian Institute of Management upon their return to the Philippines.

Featured technologies include a Universal Structural Health Evaluator and Recorder from Mapua University, a dengue drug from the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, and a traffic micro simulator from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Philippine Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said, "Philippine researchers from various universities and research institutes in the country have produced world-class technologies, and we want these technologies to benefit our fellow Filipinos."

De la Peña added that, through the LIF, the partnership with the UK, "Promotes Philippine development through science and technology by enabling our researchers to effectively deliver these technologies to the target beneficiaries and to translate them into more useful forms."

The LIF and other Newton Agham Programme "will continue to receive our utmost support as we build capacity in science and technology for the Philippines's socioeconomic development and growth," de la Peña noted.

On the four PhD scholarships and two Institutional Links Grants, former CHED Chairman Particia Licuanan said, "I trust that the resources provided by the Newton Fund will not only contribute to scientific development but will also assist in instilling pride among our Filipino scientists in their work and encourage more individuals to pursue careers in science and technology."

The enhanced scientific capacities and links with international colleagues and industries enabled by the program, Licuanan said, will enable Filipino scientists to acquire new knowledge and produce technologies that allow the country to realize concrete economic and social benefits.

She added: "Sustaining these benefits require our constant commitment to scientific development, continued government assistance and support for science and dynamic global exchange of knowledge."

Institutional Links Grants support the exchange between academic groups, departments and institutions in the Philippines and the UK.

Other than these awards, the event also recognized the six delegates to the Global Innovation Policy Accelerator Programme. Gipa involves senior representatives from public-sector innovation agencies for an eight-month collaborative development program with the aim of creating a specific innovation-policy initiative while working together with UK mentors and institutions.

The Gipa delegates are from DOST, DA, CHED, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, and the National Economic and Development Authority.

The Newton Fund is part of the UK's Official Development Assistance. It was launched in 2014 and has a total United Kingdom investment of £735 million until 2021. Its partner countries provide matched resources within the fund. It has 15 UK delivery partners.

The United Kingdom government is investing up to £3 million per year up to 2021 on activities focused within the following Philippine priority areas: health and life sciences, improving environmental resilience, energy security, future cites, agritech, and digital, innovation and creativity.

The Newton Fund is managed by the United Kingdom Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and delivered through 15 United Kingdom Delivery Partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK National Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office.

The United Kingdom delivery partners in the Philippines include the British Council, BBSRC, Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, Research Councils UK, Royal Academy of Engineering, Innovate UK and the UK Met Office.


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