MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology has inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with young innovators over the weekend, to provide them research grants and stipends.

The young innovators were those chosen for the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development's (PCIEERD) 2018 Young Innovators Program.

"The program started just last year. These (students) are the second batch (of awardees). We called for research proposals last May, and we announced the winners last July," Ermie Bacarra, PCIEERD Human Resources and Institution Development Division chief science research specialist, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The program is open for all high school students and college students taking up Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) courses.

DOST selects the six best proposals. These research proposals may come from an individual or from a team composed of not more than five students. Young innovators should not be more than 30 years old to apply for the program.

"We need to have this MOA so we could release the fund for them. While we don't ask them for anything in return, we have their commitment that they will finish their research," DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña told PNA.

Winners will receive PHP12,000 per month as stipend, according to Bacarra. This amount, she said, is fixed, regardless of the number of members each team has.

For the research grant, meanwhile, de la Peña said the DOST does not have a limit for this, as long as students can justify the amount that they need.

There is one, in fact, who will be allotted PHP1 million, de la Peña said.

Minutes before the MOA signing, the DOST chief told the students and their teachers that he believes in the capability of the younger generation.

"I've observed that their outputs can compete internationally," he said.

The students were from Angeles City Science High School, Philippine Science High School - Soccksargen Campus, St. Cecilia's College Cebu, University of the Philippines - Diliman (two teams or students) and Mapua University. (PNA)