We collaborate with different partner agencies in organizing capacity building activities for various stakeholders such as Biotechnology 101 courses, communication and media workshops, and other biotech-related workshops (biosafety risk assessment, social marketing, knowledge management, etc.). Likewise, various outreach activities such as knowledge-sharing seminars/workshops, study visits, and essay/quiz contests are also being conducted. Aside from learning events and training courses, SEARCA BIC also monitors and analyzes the biotech articles being published in print media.
Biotechnology 101 Courses
Regulators and constituents of concerned government agencies who are directly involved in the monitoring and regulation of biotechnology products such as biotech crops need to be refreshed and updated with the principles and applications of biotechnology. Hence, SEARCA BIC has been conducting training courses on Biotechnology 101 that discuss general information as well as the potentials of biotechnology. Policies related to biotech crop regulations are also being discussed. Lectures are usually entwined with hands-on laboratory and field exercises.
Biotechnology Communication Workshops
SEARCA BIC conducts biotechnology communication workshops for various key stakeholders such as such as project implementers and collaborators, regulators, farmers, the media, and the academe. They are being empowered in communicating the science-based information on biotechnology.
The media plays a vital role in educating the public about biotechnology. With this viewpoint, SEARCA BIC conducts media workshops that focus on science-based reporting of biotechnology, its underlying principles and the issues and concerns surrounding it. During these learning events, the media are also updated and informed about the latest developments in agri-biotechnology and its potentials in addressing current environmental and agricultural issues.
Biosafety or Risk Assessment Workshops
SEARCA BIC collaborates with key government agencies working on and taps experts on biosafety regulation to provide information about national regulatory and biosafety policies as well as risk assessment methodologies and controls.
Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact Assessment Conference
To better understand the methodologies, tools, insights and experiences in examining the impacts of biotech crops, a Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact Assessment Conference is also being organized by SEARCA BIC. The conference convenes decision-makers from the public sector agencies involved in biotechnology research, technology developers and entrepreneurs, the academe and nongovernmental actors who decide on future investments in the application and adoption of biotechnology products. Its goal is to come up with priority areas in research and capacity building, and doable policy options that will help strengthen public policy on the use of biotech crops.
Knowledge Management Conference
To initiate an integrated regional KM base through sharing of research, experiences and lessons on KM interventions in biotechnology research, including technology transfer and adoption, SEARCA BIC organizes Knowledge Management Conference one of which was organized in 2009. This conference was attended by policy makers, technology and R&D managers in agriculture and natural resource management; development planners, researchers, program officers; and extension, communication and knowledge managers/officers from 13 countries (Australia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the USA). The end goal of the KM Conference was to inform the stakeholders about the policy and programs in R&D on agricultural biotechnology.
Social Marketing Workshops
Stakeholders, particularly regulators and technicians or collaborators, are also being trained on the social marketing of biotechnology products through SEARCA BIC co-organized social marketing workshop. It aims to enhance the skills of the stakeholders in promoting agri-biotechnology products.
Biotechnology Seminars and Conferences
International and local scientists and experts are being invited by SEARCA BIC to share their knowledge and expertise on biotechnology issues such as regulation, food safety, food security, socioeconomic concerns, and potential benefits, in its biotechnology seminars and conferences that are conducted throughout the country and the region. These activities help in enhancing awareness and clarifying the issues related to crop biotechnology.
Through study or field visits facilitated and organized by SEARCA BIC, key stakeholders such as farmers and the media are able to get first-hand experience and appreciate the process and technology behind the development of biotech crops such as the Bt eggplant and Golden Rice in the Philippines. In these visits, scientists and experts also interact with the various stakeholders to explain the safety as well as the regulatory processes biotech crops undergo before these are being commercialized.
Essay Writing Contest
Essay writing contests on biotechnology and its applications are among the activities sponsored by SEARCA BIC to raise awareness among students on the potentials of biotechnology.
SEARCA BIC partners with academic institutions and student organizations such as the University of the Philippines Los Baños – National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UPLB-BIOTECH), the UPLB Chemical Society and the UP Cell Biological Society in organizing quiz contests on biotechnology. This helps to raise the awareness of students on biotechnology.
MEDIA MONITORING AND ANALYSIS OF PHILIPPINE PRINT MEDIA COVERAGE ON BIOTECHNOLOGY
Monitoring and analysis of articles related to biotechnology that are being published in national dailies, community newspapers, and online sources is an effort of SEARCA BIC to examine the trends and issues on biotechnology that are being reported by the print media.