Almost P5-M grant awaits researchers on quick Covid-19 response

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

August 14, 2020, 8:02 pm

<p>DOST facade (<em>Photo courtesy of Department of Science and Technology</em>)</p>

DOST facade (Photo courtesy of Department of Science and Technology)

MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is urging researchers and inventors to maximize the recently-launched Science and Technology for a Resilient Community against the Pandemic (STRAP) program and get a maximum of less than PHP5 million grant for quick response technologies or projects that would help address the pandemic or deal with the "new normal".

"This (program) is an invitation to researchers and innovators to provide solutions to the new normal," Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) executive director Enrico Paringit told the Philippine News Agency in an interview Friday.

He said the STRAP program was approved in June, and that PCIEERD started soliciting project proposals in July.

To date, eight project proposals have been received and are being evaluated. Paringit said he estimates that if all these eight would be approved, these would be worth PHP40 million.

A total of PHP60 million was allotted for STRAP. Of this budget, less than PHP10 million was already provided for three ventilator projects of two universities and a startup company. Another PHP5 million was allotted to support testing the prototypes of other unsupported ventilator projects, Paringit said.

"Under the STRAP (program), we expect that the prototypes would be released within a year. The projects under this program normally have a one-year timeline," he explained, adding that only less than PHP5 million would be allotted per approved project since these are just short projects. "That (amount) is within our approving authority as a Council," he remarked.

Paringit also clarified that the DOST, at the moment, does not intend to allocate a budget for STRAP program on a yearly basis, and would only commit the PHP60 million funding to the researchers and innovators.

"After (all the PHP60 million fund are used), we would just await the result of researches that we supported," he said.

Paringit added that the DOST would likely look for other programs or research calls after the STRAP program is maximized.

"It (new program or research call) would depend on what would be the needs in the coming years with regard to Covid-19 or (the) new normal," he said.

Meanwhile, earlier in May, the DOST has announced up to PHP5 million grant, also for researches and technologies, that would help the economy adapt to the new normal after the pandemic.

The call is under the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Challenge, wherein applicants would need to formulate scientific and technical solutions that would shape the new normal for businesses. (PNA)