The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is allocating P60 million to support research initiatives that will enable the Philippines grapple the effects of COVID-19.
Spearheaded by the DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, the project “Science and Technology for a Resilient Community against the Pandemic” or STRAP Block Grant is the department’s response to help Filipinos combat the pandemic and adapt to the new normal.
Projects that will be funded in this program should fall under these priority areas:
- Work from home tools
These are tools for efficient communication, collaboration, focus, learning new skills, resources for working, managing stress, and the like.
- Workplace ergonomics
Workplace re-design and managing movement could be studied and simulated to ensure social distancing during the new normal.
- Safe mobility and transport – air, sea, and land
Digitization and connectivity will be a crucial key to enabling a seamless mobility and transport during the new normal.
- Response and coping up with the new normal
Some of the ways to help cope with the new normal phase include the delivery services, digital contactless payments, virtual learning, 3D printing, drones, among others.
- Testing and calibration of locally developed medical devices
DOST-PCIEERD supported the design and development of ventilator prototypes to be simulated and tested in cooperation with the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC) and FDA-accredited testing body. This program will provide testing facilities and additional support needed by local developers to have their prototypes tested, accredited, clinically tested for multiple production for deployment to its partner hospitals and institutions. This is not limited to ventilators but can be extended to other medical devices (e.g. respirators, thermal scanners, etc.)
- Geospatial and ICT Solutions to address COVID-19
The most recent challenge lies on establishing a safer, more connected new normal related to governance challenges that opens opportunities for scientific geospatial solutions provided by DOST. This include educational tools, artificial intelligence, mobile apps and devices, among others to address COVID-19 crisis.
- New devices and products
The program shall help ensure that individuals, patients and health care providers have timely and continued access to high-quality medical devices including masks, face shields, gowns, gloves, and electronic wearables to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Protective coatings for Surfaces and PPEs
Nano-based coatings for surfaces and PPEs can help prevent the spread and infection of the corona virus. When the virus touches the surface, nano-based coatings will automatically neutralize the virus. It will also allow the reusability of the PPEs while also addressing the lack of adequate number of PPEs for our frontliners.
- Detection and disinfection technologies
Ultraviolet LEDs are currently being considered as an effective means of detecting, disinfecting and neutralizing coronavirus from surfaces and, potentially, air and water. As a technology, UV Light disinfection has been used for a while and can still be further explored or developed.
- Emergency food for COVID-19 affected families, communities, and frontliners
In the past, there are emergency food deployed for areas and communities affected by natural calamities. This time, more food options will be developed to cater to the needs of affected families, communities, and frontliners that have longer shelf life, safe and ready-to-eat.
DOST PCIEERD Executive Director and STRAP project leader Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed hope that the research outputs from the endeavor will help Filipino communities to thrive and get back on its feet.
“As a leader and partner in enabling innovations in the country amid the pandemic, we are optimistic that the outputs of the STRAP Block Grant will keep us buckled safely as we navigate the new normal,” he said.
Paringit avowed to continue supporting novel ideas and concepts that can provide solutions and opportunities for all Filipinos.“We will be relentless in our pursuit of newer ways in finding our way out of this pandemic. We believe in the ingenuity of our Filipino researchers and look forward to their ideas,” he said.