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PASAY CITY – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) held its 2nd Annual Balik Scientist Convention on November 18, 2016 at Hotel Jen, Pasay City with the theme “Strengthening science, technology and innovation capacity for sustainable countryside development.”

“The program is an initiative of the Philippine government which encourages Filipino scientists abroad to return to the country to share their expertise, to help accelerate the scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development of the country,” said DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Carol M. Yorobe in her welcome remarks.

Balik Scientist Program (BSP) was established on 1975 which aims to promote ‘brain gain’ and counteract the nationwide concern on ‘brain drain,’ a phenomenon wherein scientists, researchers, and technologists move abroad where their works are highly valued. Through BSP, foreign-based Filipinos are invited to return to the country and share their knowledge and expertise for the advancement of research and development in the country, as well as address developmental gaps.

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“Balik Scientists have been working with DOST and partner institutions, very steadfast in their devotion to share their expertise and to help the councils move towards progress. We have a growing number of our Balik Scientists,” stated DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña on his keynote message. He added, “There is also priority on increasing country competitiveness, promoting rural and value chain development and investing in human capital development. I think in all these areas, our Balik Scientists can play a very important role as well.”

In Dr. Reynaldo Ebora’s talk, Acting Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), there is a total of 539 Balik Scientists as of August 2016 who have completed their terms. They were hosted by different state Universities and Colleges, non-government/private organizations, private universities and colleges, and the local government units nationwide.

He mentioned that these Balik Scientists have conducted lectures, workshops and seminars, introduced new technologies, assisted research and development programs, and drafted project proposals, and published academic and scientific papers.

“Our nation will benefit from the Balik Scientist Program, thus we encourage those Balik Scientist Awardees present in this convention to spread the word and promote the BSP to all Filipino-foreign based scientists. We also encourage the academe to avail the program as host institutions. You may also relay this call to your notable alumni and let us all work together to address the long standing development problems through science, technology, and innovation,” said Dr. Ebora as he ended his presentation.

The Balik Scientists recognized during the convention came from different countries such as Japan, Australia, USA, and France whose expertise range from agriculture, aquatic and natural resources, health, industry, energy, and emerging technologies.  They presented their contributions and gave updates on their respective fields during the parallel sessions.

The three sectoral councils of DOST, namely: Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), under the supervision of DOST Research and Development, jointogether to recognize esteemed Filipino scientists, researchers, and technologists.