MANILA -- The Philippines and South Korea will begin collaboration on different research and development (R&D) projects this year, an official said Tuesday.

Almost four years since the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) - South Korea expressed interest to explore opportunities for collaboration in science and R&D, it is only this year that both parties were able to discuss the possible initiatives and ways forward. (Read: PH, Korea to collaborate on science, R&D

"Korea and the Philippines share a fruitful partnership over the years. I am confident that both (countries) will intensify (their) partnerships through the common needs of each country," DOST Assistant Secretary Leah Buendia told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

Officials of the DOST and MSIT met virtually last April 28 to discuss the collaboration. Buendia said both parties agreed to prioritize projects on smart vertical or indoor farming, and the rapid intensification of cyclones.

The call for proposals covering these topics will begin in June, and the approved projects are expected to commence in September. Initially, the two parties are targeting at least one project per topic this year.

Both sides agreed to fund each project for USD32,000 per year.

The R&D projects on indoor farming and rapid intensification of cyclones will be jointly implemented by Korean and Filipino researchers. Both sides are currently coordinating for the scope of the research proposal, Buendia said.

"Sa rapid intensification, pag-aaralan ang mga indicators para mapredict ng mas maaga ang mabilis na pag-intensify ng bagyo at ang maximum strength nito. Rapid intensification kasi ay biglang paglakas ng bagyo ng 25 kph sa 1 araw. (Through the rapid intensification of cyclones project, we will study the indicators to predict the intensification of cyclones and their maximum strength faster and earlier)," Buendia explained.

She continued, "Ito ay di agad naprepredict dahil sa bilis ng process. Sa ngayon di pa nakikita ng maaga yung rapid intensification. Usually, nangyayari ito dito sa Pilipinas bago mag landfall kaya dapat maforecast ng maaga para makapaprepare ang mga tao. (Intensification cannot be predicted right away as the process is really fast. At present, we could not immediately forecast the rapid intensification. This usually happens in the Philippines before a cyclone makes landfall, so this needs to be studied so that people could prepare)."

On indoor farming, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña earlier said smart agriculture is among the areas that the Korean government is eyeing to work with Filipinos.

Buendia, meanwhile, said that relevant institutions shall continue to coordinate in exploring and realizing potential collaborations between the DOST MSIT even with the new Philippine administration.

As to the delay in the start of collaborations, Buendia said this was due to the new leadership in MSIT. "Both sides need to agree on the topics to be tabled in consideration with the new head of Korea," she said.

Buendia added that there were challenges in communication, making them seek the assistance of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul and interpreters. (PNA)