DOST chief bares priorities for 2018

MANILA, February 3  — While the goals and targets of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have been set, the agency’s chief eyes five priorities to work on for this year.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Secretary Fortunato dela Peña summarized the priorities as follows:

Dela Peña said the country’s R&D pool will be expanded to include those from the education institutions in the regions.

“Research centers in the regions and their niche will also be identified,” he said.

Identifying the centers’ niche is essential to identify the specific research and commodities they specialize, he said.

The DOST chief also wants to review the different completed projects supported by the agency. This way, the department would be able to identify the results/projects that can already be used or transferred to the users.

“Reviewing (these completed projects) will also help us identify those which need continuous support so they could be brought to maturity,” he said, adding that he wants to accelerate technology transfer.

Enhance services

Dela Peña eyes to help more enterprises as much as the DOST can. Through the DOST’s Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), he wants to help more enterprises this year.

SETUP is the agency’s program that aims to encourage micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt technological innovations to improve their products and services. It aims to help them improve competitiveness by availing of a loan that is payable in three years.

In 2017, the DOST was able to provide SETUP assistance to 574 firms; and dela Peña said he targets to help at least 600 or more firms this year.

He said the DOST would couple SETUP with expanded services, and not just provide the MSMEs with hardware and software upgrade to level up their technology capacity, for instance. Training/seminars are also being provided under the SETUP.

“We will work on information dissemination so that more enterprises would learn about the program,” dela Peña said.

Human resources development

“We will tie up with scholars. I want to see their thesis and dissertations related to our R&Ds,” he emphasized. By doing this, the DOST will not only be able to help the scholars publish their works, but will also enable them to contribute to the country’s R&D efforts.

Dela Peña also noted that the Science Education Institute (SEI) wants to inculcate nationalism and patriotism among the scholars, to remind them that they should also give back to the country.

Make the public and DOST staff more prepared for disasters

The S&T chief believes that the public would be more prepared for disasters if everyone in the DOST helps in the necessary information dissemination. As such, he will instruct all DOST-attached agencies to be more knowledgeable about disaster prevention and preparedness.

All DOST-attached agencies will be part of information dissemination, he said.

Improve governance in the DOST

Everyone will be encouraged to take their part.

“Our own staff can initiate moves or changes that can improve our work or make us more efficient,” dela Peña said, adding that he believes in the proverb that says, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.”

Dela Peña said the DOST would achieve its goals better if its staff work together to achieve these. (PNA)

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