By: Ma. Cristina Arayata

MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) is allocating almost PHP18 million for three infra development projects (IDPs), three small grants for university projects, and a project of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday night, PCIEERD executive director Enrico Paringit said the IDP aims to support the establishment of laboratories, while the chosen university projects fall under the Good Governance through Data Science and Decision Support (GODDESS) framework.

A memorandum of agreement was signed on Tuesday for all the projects, and funding will be released this year, he said.

Each IDP will be funded for PHP5 million while every university project will be provided with less than PHP1 million.

For the IDPs, the approved ones are the SoFFReL (Establishment of a Solid Freeform Fabrication Research) at the Pangasinan State University; CGNIES (Center for Green Nanotechnology Innovations for Environmental Solutions) at the University of Mindanao; and the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) in Butuan City's project called "decision support for welfare of citizens".

"SoFFReL aims to (explore on) additive manufacturing techniques to support the metal freeform industry. It will take steps to further improve the products of metal industries in Pangasinan, such as blacksmith, metalcraft, nipa, salt, and moringa," Paringit said.

Those steps, he said, include 3-D printing of obsolete machine parts used to process salt, nipa, moringa, sword handle, and souvenirs.

"With modern technology like 3-D printing, they can do whatever design they want, and prototypes can be tested right after printing. Using 3-D printers, the researcher, blacksmith, the machinist can compare outcomes with parts as designed, and automatically make adjustments," he said.

The CGNIES concept, on the other hand, is to develop materials from natural or environmentally neutral sources for various applications that would enhance the products using nanotechnology.

"An example from the CGNIES (concept) is using durian rinds as additives for the cement to 'self-heal'. Imagine cement wall cracks that would disappear by itself," Paringit said.

He said the FSUU's project, though no specific name yet, was classified as an IDP and would analyze senior citizens data such as location, age, condition, to come up with programs to support their needs such as assistance services and maintenance medicines.

"The development of data analytics and information system will be a great help in processing and analyzing available data to maximize policy formulation and implementation, project development and service delivery for the benefit of Butuan City residents," Paringit said, adding that the project proposal is inclined in social empowerment through technology.

Meanwhile, those who will be provided with small grants have applied when the PCIEERD called for proposals that meet the GODDESS criteria.

Paringit said these projects are PhilRice's data analytics on rice production; Isabela State University's "Optimization of Decision Support System for Effective e-Governance" or ODeSSEE on Disaster Preparedness of Cagayan Valley Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; and Iloilo Science and Technology (ISAT)University's "Development of Iloilo Province Employment Portal and Services with Data Analytics".

"GODDESS intends to support projects that demonstrate the application of data science in governance, for local government units' or national government's use," he said.

ISAT University's project would enable citizens to access employment opportunities, by making these available online and in real-time, he said.

Paringit noted that Isabela State University's project was approved even before the recent flooding in Cagayan.

"We hope that these initiatives will propel accelerated digital transformation geared towards effective public service. We also expect that the R&D (research and development) capacities built will contribute to strategic benefits and opportunities for industries in regions where IDPs are located," Paringit said. 

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