Manila—The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (CSB) formally inaugurated on March 22, 2023, the Benilde Hub of Innovation for Inclusion (HIFI), a technology business incubator for budding startups.

Under the DOST’s Technology Business Incubation Program and Benilde Trailblazer Startup (BTS) Incubation Program, the Benilde HIFI is a facility that will be a nurturing ground for startups focused on the creative industries.

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit said the Benilde HIFI plays a potent rule in moving forward the creative industries in the country.

“DOST and PCIEERD have invested Php 344 million and helped 59 state universities and colleges in the country establish their own TBIs through the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HeIRIT) development program,” he narrated. “The funding includes Benilde HIFI, which will hopefully promote an innovative and entrepreneurial culture throughout the nation. This collaboration with CSB also highlights the value of academic institutions in fostering startup growth and innovation across a range of industries”, as added by Director Paringit.

Benilde HIFI project leader Paul Amerigo Pajo Jr. said the primary objective of the BTS Incubation is to select and nurture startups connected to and related to the digital interactive and design domains.

"Startups will be selected primarily, but not exclusively, based on capstone and thesis projects completed by students, faculty research endeavors, and initiatives undertaken by alumni of the Benildean community, said Mr. Pajo. "This project can be a 'TBI force multiplier' through Benilde HIFI's nationwide network of La Salle schools, including the Visayas region, where there is no TBI focusing on creative industries."

The Benilde HIFI is the only TBI in the National Capital Region (NCR) and one of four technology business incubators in the country with creative industries. The CSB offers specialized academic programs that can aid in the debut and expansion of startups in these sectors.

Benilde HIFI is also coming up with a manual outlining the incubation process and daily activities of Benilde HIFI which can be used by other higher education institutions and state universities and colleges can use it in their own TBIs.

Startups in the digital interactive media and design industries in the NCR will be able to forge successful partnerships with key commercial and governmental institutions thanks to this facility.

(March 14, 2023, Davao City) — The Department of Science and Technology and the University of the Philippines Mindanao hosted the 1st AI Pinas Research and Development (R&D) Conference and Workshop 2023.

With theme "Artificial Intelligence Driving Transformation and Impact in the Digital Age,” the conference-workshop was attended by 100 participants, including local and international speakers and experts from IBM USA, Supermicro USA, Japan, and Thinking Machines.

The event seeks to raise public awareness about the benefits and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in various fields.

The topics covered include but are not limited to machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, computer vision, and deep learning applied to health, education, mobility, the environment, disaster risk reduction (DRR), industries, and smart and sustainable cities and communities.

The conference-workshop also served as a venue for experts, researchers, professionals, enthusiasts, and prospective beneficiaries to update the R&D roadmap and develop a national AI R&D program.

The market for artificial intelligence (AI), which includes software, hardware, and services, is anticipated to generate worldwide revenues of $327.5 billion in 2021, up 16.4% from the previous year, according to the most recent Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Tracker report from International Data Corporation (IDC).

By 2024, it's expected that the market will have grown to over $500 billion, with impressive total revenues of $554.3 billion and a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%.

A new study from EDBI and Kearney claims that by 2030, AI could boost Southeast Asia's GDP by up to $1 trillion USD. According to the Kearney analysis, the Philippine GDP will increase by 12%, or US$92 billion, by 2030.

DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. acknowledges that AI has the potential to enhance human productivity by automating routine tasks, analyzing massive amounts of data, learning new information, and coming to well-informed conclusions.

"As we focused on the four (4) investment pillars, DOST has pledged PHP 500 million to support the Philippines' rapid scientific development in this area for the country to fully benefit from AI technologies."

Solidum affirmed that DOST has been collaborating with numerous stakeholders to make the AI R&D framework for 2019–2029 useful for its intended beneficiaries.

The framework is concentrated on developing a national infrastructure, including AI R&D centers; empowering more professionals through training and development through DOST-PCIEERD, and encouraging more mission-driven programs with distinctive applications.

"We are also enhancing the capacity of our workforce. Three (3) AI Pinas trainings have resulted in 143 graduates, and now, in collaboration with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and Coursebank, we hope to upskill and launch the data science careers of our workforce. We aim to have 50,000 Filipino data scientists by 2029 through the Smarter Philippines through R&D, Training, and Adoption (SPARTA) project to meet the needs and demands of our industry as we move towards a digital transformation", said Solidum.

Dr. Lyre Anni Murao, Chancellor of UP Mindanao, also urged the use of AI to facilitate the completion of daily tasks. Today, AI ought to be given more credit for improving our quality of life and strengthening our capacity to contribute to global development.

Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD shared that "AI for better normal" investments, which were made possible in June 2021, put us at the forefront of using artificial intelligence to advance innovation in the country. From 2017 to the present, we have supported impactful AI projects totaling 480 million pesos.

“As a leader and partner in enabling innovations in the Philippines, DOST-PCIEERD sees to it that it uplifts local capabilities in the regions. Initiatives like this strengthen the bond with more advanced countries and birth new collaborations that can spur socio-economic growth in the future,” added by Paringit.

The Department of Science and Technology encouraged the public to look into electricity and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered public utility jeepneys as viable alternatives to support sustainable transport fuel diversification and as the government pushes for the modernization of public utility vehicles. 

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit made this pronouncement as government extends the deadline for the modernization of jeepneys to December 31, 2023. 

Paringit said these alternatives are available for licensing from the researchers and can now be benefited by the Filipino people. 

“These modernized Kings of the Road complies with regulations and are in tune with the government’s thrust towards e-vehicles and other forms of mass transportation.  We are optimistic that this upgrade will redound to greater benefits for our citizens,” he said.

The 23-seater electric jeepney PNS compliant prototype was developed in partnership with the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP).

It is a lithium-ion battery-powered version of the traditional jeepney and produces zero emissions and no noise pollution, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to the diesel-fueled jeepney. 

Furthermore, this e-jeepney has a range of 55km per full charge and a dashboard panel that includes a button to open and close the side door, an emergency button that disables the vehicle, and the standard LED display that shows speed and remaining range. The revolutionary e-jeepney has non-metallic body materials that are excellent insulators with high resistance to corrosion and chemicals.

To address range anxiety, they have also developed battery charging systems along with a workable operations template that involves fleet operations and the collection of daily loan amortization.

On the other hand, the LPG-powered jeepney was developed by the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies. 

This 18-seater PUV ensures passenger safety and convenience as it features seat partitions to prevent passenger compression, distributed and easy access PUV stop buttons, a rear emergency exit door, digital route signage, a cashless payment system, a CCTV camera system, and a dashcam. They also installed a cabin public address system for passenger convenience.

The LPG-powered jeepney also includes a ramp that can be used to aid persons with disabilities (PWDs) to get on the vehicle.  

These modernized jeepneys also provide passengers with a more spacious and comfortable ride, reducing discomfort and stress caused by overcrowding.

General Santos City – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Mindanao State University – General Santos City (MSU-GSC) inaugurated the P5-million Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ISL), March 1. 

The establishment of the research hub will promote and improve research activities in the College of Engineering, encourage collaboration among faculty and students at the university and higher education institutions in the region, and facilitate research activities in artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation.

Project leader Dr. Cristina P. Dadula stressed the research laboratory’s role in nation building. 

“The Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ISL) provides an opportunity for students and faculty to develop relevant solutions for real-world problems using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and other related fields. This project is our first engagement with PCIEERD. We are looking forward to more projects to sustain our laboratory and shall continue our R&D efforts to help the industries and our local communities,” Dr. Dadula said. 

ISL is equipped with state-of-the-art research equipment, including simulation software, programmable logic controllers, 3D printers, and robotic systems. The laboratory's facilities will enable students and faculty to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of intelligent systems and artificial intelligence and prepare students to be industry ready.

The R&D projects lined up for this research hub will focus on information and communications technology systems, green construction, smart agriculture, and smart manufacturing.

True to its objectives to involve faculty and students, three (3) of the ten (10) proposals from faculty that were submitted in were approved for funding. While one (1) proposal submitted by their students for the Young Innovators Program (YIP) was included in the sixteen (16) short listed proposals. 

Here is the list of approved proposals for funding: 

  • Assessment and Profiling of COVID-19 Pandemic-Induced Wastes in General Santos City: Basis for the Development of Appropriate Solid Waste Management Technologies for the City aims to generate a comprehensive data on composition and classification of wastes generated in General Santos City to use in planning and implementing the relevant waste management activities in the city to protect the public and marine resources in the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape
  • Characterization of Non-metallic Mineral Deposit Found in General Santos City and Sarangani Province aims to characterize and determine the exact type of the unknown non-metallic mineral that is found in General Santos City and the municipalities of Sarangani Province.
  • HEIRIT: Establishment of ICEBOX: DOST supported TBI for Smart Systems Innovations aims to establish the first university-based Technology Business Incubator for smart systems innovations in MSU-Gensan

In addition, Dr. Usman D. Aragasi, MSU-GSC acting Chancellor, expressed his  gratitude to the DOST-PCIEERD  for always  supporting the  university,  stating that this  funding  will  help   elevate  the  university’s  research capabilities and  contribute to the development of the  province’s  S&T and technopreneurship sector. 

“ The ISL is actually one of the support facilities of the TBI   (Technology  Business Incubator), and I want to thank you for supporting our application for the regional TBI, said Dr.  Aragasi.  

“The Council remains committed to expanding our reach to universities and colleges and establish more laboratories and facilities in the regions to develop and upskill the Philippines’ human resource in STEM,” DOST-PCIEERD executive director Enrico Paringit said.

The inauguration of the Intelligent Systems Laboratory marks a significant milestone in the university's efforts to advance research and development in the field of engineering and technology. With the laboratory's state-of-the-art facilities and advanced research equipment, MSU-GSC is expected to play a significant role in shaping the country's science and technology sector.

The MSU-GSC Intelligent Systems Laboratory was put up through the Institution Development Program of DOST-PCIEERD, which aims to strengthen the capability of institutions to undertake research in S&T fields included in PCIEERD priority areas.

Zamboanga City, February 27, 2023— The Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) on Monday inaugurated the P13.9 million Azul Hub Technology Business Incubator (TBI)

The TBI was developed to support the future economic development of Zamboanga City, Region 9, and the Western Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), as well as provide a venue for local business owners to innovate through cutting-edge technologies that can resolve societal and commercial problems.

DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr. encouraged innovators in the region to avail of the services that will be provided by the Azul Hub and accelerate wealth creation in their locality. 

“This TBI facility will hopefully lead to the growth of an ecosystem for Zamboangenos startups and the promotion of an innovation-friendly culture," emphasized Solidum. "We are optimistic that this can bridge the gap between academic and industrial communities in the area and become a synergy point for their collaboration.” 

The Azul Hub was funded by DOST PCIEERD through its Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship Program, or HEIRIT. 

The HeIRIT Program was developed to help universities meet the Council's TBI funding requirements and train their managers to manage their own DOST-affiliated TBIs to meet the growing demand for early-stage entrepreneurial support, particularly in the regions.

Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, stressed that the opening of the facility will strengthen the introduction of technopreneurship courses in higher education. 

"Azul Hub will place a strong emphasis on capacity building as it mentors and trains young professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, teachers, students, and incubatees to engage in practical innovation," he said. 

Paringit added that "the facility will act as Mindanao's gateway to socioeconomic and entrepreneurial opportunities, stressing the importance of collaboration between academic institutions and business incubators.

Azul Hub is among the 44 TBIs supported by DOST PCIEERD.