Participants and organizers of the 5th batch of training of PGC under the IMBUE project.

MANILA—The Philippine Genomics Center (PGC), with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has trained 101 biologists and healthcare professionals on bioinformatics to boost the country’s pool of computational biology experts.

Dubbed Internship Program for Increased Local Bioinformatics Utility and Expertise or IMBUE, the training program was conducted in six weeks and covered topics on general bioinformatics and computational biology.

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit expressed high expectations for  trained experts on bioinformatics will bolster the country’s response to future health scares.

“We hope that with the training is a shot in the arm for our scientific community as it imputes a new skill into our pool of experts,” he said.

Of the 101 trained bioinformatics, 22 professionals are from Central Luzon State University, UP Manila National Institutes of Health, and PGC Mindanao Satellite Facility which focused on viral metagenomics or the study of bacterial genetic materials, and protein structure analysis.

Bioinformatics has been vital in understanding the composition of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that inflicts the COVID-19 disease. It collects and analyzes complex biological data of the virus from its basic composition to mutation.

“We believe that the key to understanding and dealing with the Sars-CoV-2 relies on research and development. Thus, we want to increase our critical mass of experts in Bioinformatics who can conduct such studies and hopefully result to drug discovery and development; and in other means that will harness the power of bioinformatics” Paringit said.


The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) officially launched the Startup Grant Fund Program at the 4th Technology Business Incubator Summit, one of the major events at this year’s Philippine Startup Week.

DOST Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit disclosed that the Startup Grant Fund Program is the Council’s response to the demand for quick and rapid solutions adapting to the “New Normal”

“We hope to support startups with technology-based solutions that can potentially contribute to economic rebirth of our country.  By supporting the creation or deployment of more post-COVID19 products and services, we are looking at opportunities to provide additional jobs, raise revenue, and attract local and foreign investment,” he said.

Paringit said the Startup Grant Program will provide funding opportunities for innovative startups for their research and development (R&D) activities as they develop solutions in line with the program theme “Jumpstarting the Economy in the New Normal”.

He said the program intends to provide a fund mechanism that would support local startups, help them focus on providing solutions that are relevant to the needs of the people, and reinvigorate the economy during this post-COVID situation with provisions for the funding support, aligned with the Innovative Startup Act of 2019 (RA 11337).

The Startup Grant Fund Program is established to overcome R&D roadblocks by means of prototype improvement, conduct of feasibility studies, development of product specifications, as well as validate user requirements, to strengthen their intellectual property (IP) by means of protection and development of the appropriate IP strategies.

It also aims to help startups establish initial market traction and engage one (1) or two (2) potential users and/or clients for feedback/validation, to refine their business model based on the user and/or client feedback in order to establish acceptable product offerings or service packages with defined pricing and financial metrics, and lastly, to prepare business continuity plans for operations, expansion of IP protection in other countries, as continuous marketing programs.

The Program shall organize startups who will provide automated, digitalized, and contactless solutions under the following areas of concern:

  • Sustainable Industries - Technologies intended to fill-in the gaps in the value chain of critically important industries to increase productivity, reduce costs and facilitate production and distribution of goods in the new normal
  • Supply chain and logistics management - Technologies that reduce dependency on physical labor across transportation, logistics and warehousing; platforms for online matching and delivery of goods from source to point of use
  • Learning/Education - Technologies in support of remote learning, distance education, and online learning in response to the surge in online teaching in schools and universities
  • Work from home productivity tools - Productivity tools that remote workers can use for connection, collaboration, workforce monitoring, time management, etc
  • Content and talent development - Tech support for content and talent development, infusion/ enhancement of new digital tools and technologies, marketing and customer engagement activities
  • Digitally empowered Tools for public –service - Digital tools that will enable government agencies to consistently deliver public services at a faster rate, a wider reach but with enhanced accuracy and transparency

Paringit said the DOST shall issue the new guidelines for the Startup Grant Fund that is now more aligned to the provisions of the Innovative Startup Act.

He said public consultations will be conducted by DOST with the startups and startup community this December in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“With the new guidelines in place, PCIEERD shall start officially accepting proposals for the Startup Grant Fund Program starting December 2, 2020 until February 1, 2021, we will be announcing the first batch of grantees of the new Startup Grant fund by May 2021,” he said.

In 2017, PCIEERD was the first to provide R&D grants amounting to P66M to fifteen (15) startups for them to overcome their R&D roadblocks, validate their products/services, strengthen their Intellectual Property, and refine their business model.

This enabled the 15 startups to collectively acquire 328 clients, generate P84M in revenues, raise P45M investment, and create 142 jobs. With the passage of the Innovative Startup Act (RA 11337), the other DOST Councils and agencies will also be implementing their own Startup Grant Program to cover more sectors and cater to more startups.

The Philippine Startup Week is an annual celebration organized by DOST, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in partnership with QBO Innovation Hub and the startup community.

This year, the TBI Summit featured keynote messages and panel discussion of different local and international startups and startup enablers anchored on the theme “Building a Sustainable Startup Ecosystem in the Midst of the Pandemic”. 

Watch the DOST TBI Virtual Summit at


Electromagnetic radar system developed by DOST and MSU-IIT

Researchers from the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) has developed an electromagnetic radar that accurately detects underground water features. 

The Electromagnetic Radar Technique for Water Detection Project Leader Dr. Olga Joy Gerasta shared that their innovation can detect groundwater with greater precision through the electromagnetic waves it emits.

This electromagnetic radar system has custom-designed antenna that sends radio pulses into a material. Then, its integrated computer records the strength and time required for the return of any reflected signals.

Various energy reflections from geological structures like a water table and buried man-made objects like pipes  are picked up by the system and stored on digital media. Gerasta’s team identifies these objects using artificial intelligence (AI).

The radar system works best on dry, sandy soil wherein targets can be detected at depths of more than 20 feet.

The final radar system design was tested and verified in controlled set-up in Taytay, Iligan City and Iligan City’s selected low, middle, and high elevation areas.

The development of the technology was funded by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit underscored the significance of the innovations that MSU-IIT researchers achieved.

“As our groundwater supplies more than 50% of Filipinos’ potable water supply and 85% of piped water supply, this electromagnetic radar system will not only save us money, time, and effort in finding water sources, but it also allows us to easily map and monitor underground resources, plan efficient and safe ground excavation.” said Paringit.


The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines has launched the Freedom of Information (FOI) 101 course as part of Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics Research and Development, Training and Adoption or Project SPARTA, an online training program that aims to upskill 30,000 Filipinos to efficiently handle big data for the benefit of the country.

Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit revealed the inclusion in the course as the PCOO and DAP ink a partnership for the course offering.

Paringit said the new FOI course can be accessed by SPARTA scholars as an elective course that tackles freedom of information and good governance.

The course is now available and will teach the learners about the acquisition of government data and information as well as personal and public safety protection. 

 “We hope that the course will give a new dimension in good governance as we equip our data scientists with concepts on transparency and freedom of information,” he said.

PCOO Assistant Secretary Atty. Krisitian Ablan said that he drew inspiration in crafting an FOI course at the start of the pandemic after enrolling in Project SPARTA. 

He said his team then met with DAP and to develop the FOI course development plan, course outline, and learning design blueprint.

“Through the new FOI course, we focused our attention to citizens so that they can become smart citizens and exercise their democratic right to participate in governance,” he said.

DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert Caronan Jr. said that Project SPARTA learners who will pursue the course will not only be equipped with statistical and research concepts and different data analytics tools, but also be provided access to data sets that they can use for crafting research and playing a part in building a data-driven sector to maximize data in policy making, service delivery, organizational management, and foster more innovation.

“This partnership recognizes the importance of data transparency in the commitment of our government to a future-ready nation. In line with this, the growing consensus of the value of publicly available information is evident in the variety of data initiatives across government agencies and non-government organizations,” Caronan said.

Project SPARTA supervising fellow and special assistant to the DAP   on emerging technologies Mr. Allan de Venecia warmly welcomed the addition of the FOI 101 course to the SPARTA library of courses for the relevance it brings to our learners as they embark in their data science and analytics journey.

“We look forward to the expansion of our PCOO partnership to hopefully bring more courses and activities that will enrich the learning experiences of SPARTA scholars,” said De Venecia.

Interested Filipinos may still apply for a Project SPARTA scholarship. Visit to learn more about it. Project SPARTA was established through a collaboration between DAP, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and Coursebank.

Game-changing innovations in the industry, energy, and emerging technologies are set to take centerstage as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) feature its latest technologies in the upcoming 5th National Research and Development Conference (NRDC).  

Happening virtually on November 9 to 11 and with the theme “Research and Development: Making Change Happen,” the 5th NRDC will present the latest researches and technologies that the DOST and other government agencies have produced, including those developed in response to COVID-19. Updates on the Harmonized National R&D Agenda will also be highlighted in the event.  

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit encouraged partners from industry, government, and academe to join the 5th NRDC and know the latest about the innovations happening in the country.  

“May our partners in the industry, government, and academe be inspired on how our local researchers are answering to the challenging times.  We enjoin everyone to be with us in this three-day conference and meet the researchers who generated these technologies,” he said.  

Technologies that will be featured under the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors are:  

  1. USHER GoClean - the first locally made disinfection booth in the country which can be installed at the entrances of hospitals and buildings to sanitize and disinfect the whole body of a person. Developed by USHER Technologies, Inc., the booth provides sanitation thru misting of electrolyzed saline solution or Anolyte that takes up only to 5 to 10 seconds per person. 
  1. Project RAMDAM or Resource Allocation Management, Distribution, and Monitoring  - a system developed by Geographic Innovations for Development Solutions, Inc. (GrIDS)  to serve as a platform for community citizens and the government to share accurate information regarding relief distribution activities, contents of relief packs, schedule of distribution, and feedback from the recipients.It can be accessed via a mobile app or through a website.
  1. The Tracing for Allocation of Medical Supplies (TrAMS+) project - an online geographic system for tracking information about health facilities’ medical resources. It relies on crowdsourced data to aid in the proper allocation of medical resources needed by healthcare facilities. 
  1. The 3D-printed face shields for frontliners produced by BPSU through the Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (AMREL).  The AMREL serves as a facility for the BPSU community to do research, share and create their ideas, essentially serving as a playground for generating new products and world-class research projects. 
  1. The MATDEV 3D-printing initiatives which mass produced over 2,000 pcs of 3D printed face shields that were donated to 21 hospitals in Metro Manila and other nearby cities. The team has also produced more than 1,800 pieces of 3D printed ear relief bands to alleviate ear pain caused by prolonged wearing of face mask. 

They have facilitated the 3D-printing of venturi valves (also called the respirator valve) to 4 hospitals. They also produced various 3d printed devices such as prototypes of N95 mask, multiple patient ventilator splitter, modified oxygen concentrator mask, doorknob handle, and mechanic ventilator. 

  1. The Swab Collecting Booths designed by Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME) to mitigate the exposure of frontline health workers to the virus. Using the technology, people with coronavirus symptoms can get tested without being in direct contact with the medical staff. 
  1. The Egg White Powder of Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative’s (BEPCO). This product has a longer shelf-life than raw eggs, making it easier for bulk transport and storage without losing its functional properties and nutritional benefits.  The project is under DOST’s Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program. 
  1. The Platform for Assessment and Tracking of Urbanization - Related Opportunities (PATURO) which aims to formulate a smart index that can reliably and accurately capture the city’s “health” such as the diverse interactions between the city’s people, land, transportation system, and various economic activities. It intends to build a data hub allowing real-time and interactive access to data for simulation modeling to support decision making 
  1. The Infrastructure Monitoring Petrography which aims to provide in-depth analysis and assessment of the health of concrete used in constructions, roads, bridges, and buildings. 

Paringit urged the public to join the 5th NRDC and express their support to the Filipino researchers who harnessed their talents and expertise in coming up with these technologies.  

“We look forward to meeting you in the 5th NRDC as we showcase the latest technologies that we have here in the Philippines,” he said.  

For her part, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara stressed the importance of investing in R&D to uplift the country.  

“We at DOST believe that research leads innovation and innovation drives sustainable economic growth, even in the face of a pandemic. Innovation offers avenues to overcome challenges halting normal operations and offers the possibility of new products or business disruptors that will succeed in the new environment.  The 5th NRDC is a platform for our researchers and scientists to tell the world how R&D can make change happen.  It is therefore imperative for us to continue to invest and prioritize R&D for the betterment of our economy, our community, and our country,” she said.  

The NRDC is spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

Register now at to know more about these government-supported R&D projects and programs that will help us recover and adapt to the new normal.