AsianScientist (May 10, 2016) – Whether it’s solving notoriously bad road congestion with big data or launching maiden microsatellites into space, the Philippines is beefing up its research and development capabilities across many sectors.
While traditionally focused on environmental sciences—four out of seven environmental scientists of the Asian Scientist 100 are Filipino—the country wants to expand its horizons. Launched in 2015, Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development, or STRIDE, is a five-year, Php1.3 billion (US$32 million) program that seeks to strengthen applied research activity in Philippine universities and industry.
The project, spearheaded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to create a network of researchers in universities and private companies to drive innovation, and work closely with the government on initiatives to support endeavors in this area.
Beyond the policy level, it is also the work of committed individuals—the thinkers, doers and problem-solvers—that make all the difference in the world. Here, we profile eight Filipino scientists who are, in their own capacity, leading the way.
- Angel C. Alcala
Alcala was named a National Scientist of the Philippines in 2014 for his research into Philippine amphibians and reptiles, as well as the conservation of marine-protected areas.
(Photo: Silliman University)
- Ramon Cabanos Barba
Barba was named a National Scientist of the Philippines in 2014 for inventing a way to induce flowering in mango trees regardless of season, boosting the local mango industry.
(Photo: World Intellectual Property Office/Flickr/CC)
- Tetchi Cruz-Capellan
- Edgardo D. Gomez
Gomez led the world’s first national-scale assessment of damage to coral reefs, work which led to him being conferred the title of National Scientist of the Philippines in 2014.
(Photo: Gil Jacinto/University of the Philippines, Marine Science Institute)
- Alfredo Mahar Lagmay
Lagmay, a professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences, University of the Philippines Diliman, received the 2015 Plinius Medal from the European Geosciences Union for his research into natural hazards and disasters in the Philippines, in particular volcanic hazards, earthquakes, typhoons, landslides and floods.
He is also executive director of the Department of Science and Technology Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH), a flagship program for disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines.
(Photo: University of Philippines Diliman)
- Aisa Mijeno
Mijeno is a professor of engineering at De La Salle University—Lipa in the Philippines. Together with her brother Ralph, she co-founded Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt), a social enterprise that is developing an LED lamp that runs on just table salt and water.
(Photo: Aisa Mijeno)
- Reina Reyes
Reyes has been called “The Filipina who proved Einstein right” after her work confirming Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity on a cosmic scale in 2010 during her Ph.D. studies in the United States. Reyes currently works as an independent data scientist consulting for private companies.
- Gavino Cajulao Trono Jr.
Trono was conferred the honor of National Scientist of the Philippines in 2014 for his research into tropical marine phycology with a focus on seaweed biodiversity.
(Photo: Presidential Communications Operations Office, the Philippines)
Cruz-Capellan, the CEO of Philippine renewable energy provider SunAsia Energy Inc. and founder of the Philippine Solar Power Alliance, hopes to grow the solar power industry in the Philippines. She first became acquainted with solar power as the country director of a rural electrification project funded by the USAID.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Rob Nguyen/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.