House panel OKs Salceda’s ‘science for change’ measure

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The House Committee on Science and Technology has approved House Bill (HB) 4581, filed by Albay Rep. Joey S. Salceda, which aims to boost the country’s scientific innovations and inventions, research and development (R&D) toward social progress and global competitiveness.

Titled Science for Change Program (S4CP) Act, with the theme of “Science for the People,” and a budget that could reach P672 billion by 2022, HB 4581 is designed to help accelerate science, technology and innovation developments and enable the country to keep up with current global technology and innovation trends.

S4CP was launched by the House Committee on Science and Technology, chaired by Bohol Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado. When enacted, it will be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It was hailed by legislators as a key toward higher standards of STI and global competitiveness.

The total R&D budget for 2017 is P5.8 billion. The bill proposes an estimated R&D budget, which starts at P21 billion next year, more or less doubling yearly over the next five-year period, and could reach P672 billion in 2022.

Salceda said it is his privilege to push legislation for the country’s strong science and technology program, one of the vital components for growth under the Duterte administration. S4CP focuses on four core concerns: 1) Program Expansion, 2) New Programs, 3) S&T Human Resource Development and 4) Accelerated R&D Program for Capacity Building of Research and Development Institutions and Industrial Competitiveness. PNA

Salceda said DOST will be guided over the next five years by the tagline “Science for the People” in its pursuit of R&D and S&T initiatives in 12 priority areas: R&D to address pressing problems; R&D for productivity; R&D to tap, manage and store Renewable Energy Resources; R&D to apply new technologies across sectors;

Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation; maximized utilization of R&D results through technology transfer and/or commercialization; accelerated R&D program for capacity building of R&D institutions; assistance to production sector; upgrading of facilities and improvement of S&T services;

Human Resource Development for S&T; utilization of state universities and colleges in the regions which do R&D and develop human resources in S&T, and; collaboration with industry, academe and international institutions.

For a country to be industrialized, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends it should have 380 researchers, scientists and engineers (RSE) per million population doing R&D studies, and one percent of GDP should be invested in R&D. Based on a DOST 2013 R&D survey, the Philippines has 270 RSEs per million population only, hence the need to increase the number by 110 in the coming years.

S4CP target areas for R&D include health, food and nutrition; human security; agricultural and aquatic productivity; creative industries, tourism and services industries; nuclear science for health, agriculture and energy; and agriculture; renewable energy; Biotechnology for agriculture, health and environment; Space Technology and ICT development; Artificial Intelligence, and climate and environmental sciences, among others.

-Written by the Philippine News Agency in BusinessMirror.  See original article link here.

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