Pharma, agri, energy tech feted in S&T Summit

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

June 10, 2022, 7:08 pm

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of DOST)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of DOST)

MANILA -- Pharmaceutical, agricultural and energy technologies supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were showcased in the agency's Science for Change Program (S4CP) Summit on Friday.

The S4CP started in 2016, through subprograms such as the Niche Centers in the Region for R&D (NICER), Collaborative R&D to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE), Business Innovation through S&T (BIST), and R&D Leadership (RDLead) to address concern on regional disparity and to advance science, technology and innovation in the country.


Among the showcased projects at the summit was the plasma coating technology for furniture being developed by the University of the Philippines - Diliman in partnership with Filipinas Oro de Cacao, Inc.  
Funded through the CRADLE program, this project seeks to develop a dry-based cleaning system for the food manufacturing industry.  The system could improve the food industry's productivity and reduce operating expenses by using a fast and efficient plasma cleaning technology that does not use expensive wet-based chemicals. The system may contribute to the reduction of wastes generated during the cleaning process. 
Also through the CRADLE program, the Adamson University and Compact Pharmaceutical Corporation are developing a safe, cost efficient immediate-release tablet formulations of fixed-dose combination of cilostazol and aspirin for the management of stroke and heart disease. It will be an alternative cheaper medicine for the Filipinos, according to DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara.
In terms of food security, the Queen Pineapple R&D and Extension Center at University of Camarines Norte in collaboration of Department of Agriculture - Region V, developed pest detection and crop protection management system for queen pineapple. This aims to enhance the production of high quality queen pineapple and increase the income of farmers.

Another project was the collaboration between the University of Sto. Tomas and Banawe Soybean Corporation wherein they will develop a vegetarian sausage from pure okara -- a major agro-waste resulting from soymilk and tofu processing. "Food waste valorization is one means towards achieving food security," Guevara noted.

Meanwhile, she announced that the Center for Advanced Batteries R&D of the Technological Institute of the Philippines is developing new cathode materials for next-generation batteries that could enable local manufacturing of batteries using abundantly available raw materials.

"If the production could  scale up, the Philippines could also be a net exporter of batteries to address the future demand for electric vehicle and grid storage applications," Guevara said.

Other projects feted were partnership between UP Diliman and Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO) to produce egg powder from low value, cracked eggs. Studies on sambong to standardize the use in therapeutic medicine are also being done by Pascual Pharma Corporation and the Technological Institute of the Philippines. 

The official emphasized that through the effort of the academe, the private industry, S&T experts, and agencies there are now 15 R&D Centers leading research and development on agriculture, livestock, industry, energy, environment and health with a total approved grant of PHP 880 million.

A total of PHP 258.5 million has been awarded to 55 academe-industry collaborations, she added.

For his part, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said that to accelerate the research and development in the country, there is a need to focus the efforts and resources on sustainable solutions that could significantly contribute to the country's economic development. (PNA)