MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will assist at least 10 new research centers this year and at the same time will also urge industry-academe partnership for research and development (R&D) in every region, Secretary Fortunato dela Pena told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday.

"We will capacitate at least 10 new research centers in the regions, mostly in universities," dela Pena said, adding that these centers specialize in different technology fields.

DOST has been providing institutions with research grants. It also offers technical assistance to institutions and industry partners.

Since last year, dela Pena has been encouraging those in the regions to look for specific needs in their areas and work on establishing research centers and studies to address these needs.

In examining the research proposals, the DOST also looks if these are under its priority areas for R&D: agriculture, fishery, and forestry; semiconductor and electronics; agri-processing; integrated circuit design; renewable energy; creative industries; information and communications technology and artificial intelligence; industrial waste treatment; food and nutrition; infrastructure and logistics; manufacturing; and environment and climate change.

Meanwhile, dela Pena also mentioned boosting industry-academe partnership for R&D in the regions.

"We will have at least one industry-academe collaborative R&D project under our CRADLE program in each region (this year)," he said.

CRADLE (Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy) program is part of the DOST's Science for Change Program (S4CP).

Through CRADLE, the DOST will provide funding for approved R&D proposals from higher education institutions (HEIs), R&D institutions and their partner industries.

Their proposals must also be in line with the DOST's priority areas, and they can get at most, PHP5 million, funding assistance from the DOST.

According to DOST, the partner industry will identify a problem, while the partner HEI or RDI will do the necessary R&D to find solutions. Also, the DOST requires the industry partner to shoulder at least 20 percent of the total project cost.

Dela Pena earlier expressed his confidence that industry-academe partnership will help produce better products or services to address the people's needs. (PNA)