PUP leads DOST newly-approved Research & Development Center

Yevgeny Menk P. Monarquia, News, Communication Management Office

The Polytechnic University of the Philippines leads the new Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER) in collaboration with Adamson University and the University of the Philippines - Diliman.

The Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER) is one of the four programs in the Science for Change Program (S4CP) by the Department of Science and Technology's (DOST). The NICER program aims to enable the Higher Education Institutions in the regions to improve their regional research by merging its development needs with the available Research and Development resources. It also provides institutional grants for the improvement and establishment of regional HEIs' Science and Technology Infrastructure.

Living up to its name, each NICER caters to the specific niche that a region is either abundant in or calls attention for improvement of. Currently, the NICER program has established 35 R&D centers all over the Philippines, including the Biodiversity Center at Cebu Technological University (Region VII), Halal Goat R&D Center at Sultan Kudarat State University (Region XII), and the Freshwater Fisheries Center at Isabela State University (Region II), etc.

The Department of Science and Technology has recently approved the establishment of seven new R&D Centers including the Center for Environmental Technologies and Compliance under the leadership of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and in collaboration with Adamson University and the University of the Philippines - Diliman. The new NICER led by PUP is under the Industry Sector and was allocated with Php53.34 million.

In an interview with Dr. Abigail P. Cid-Andres, the program leader of the Center for Environmental Technologies and Compliance, she stated that the R&D center aims to develop a consortium-led environmental research laboratory that will focus on problems like plastic pollution, water contamination, and air pollution. It also aims to fabricate bench-scale to industrial-scale waste elimination technologies.

When asked how PUP was selected for the institutional grant of the R&D center, Dr. Cid-Andres shared the tedious process of how the PUP-led NICER came about.

After their first project proposal for the application of NICER was not chosen in 2018, Dr. Cid-Andres and her group were advised to do a scoping project to set the environmental problems that industries in Metro Manila pose. Their scoping project led to the creation of their first project in which they plan to submit as a proposal for a new R&D Center. The project was entitled "Synergistic Air and Water Quality Sensing System with Purification Devices Using Local Materials for MSMEs". the project was led by Dr. Cid-Andres and was co-led by her husband Dr. Ginno L. Andres. Among the members of her group are Engr. Mark Manlapaz, Engr. Beatrice Margarejo, Engr. Kalvin Campang, Engr. John Helarch Antoni, Engr. Rey Farly Garcia, Ms. Romina Consul, Mr. Gener Andres, and Mr. Raphael Christian Cruz.

As they progressed, Adamson University and UP-Diliman collaborated with them with their projects under the Environmental Technologies and Compliance for the application of the R&D Center under the Industry Sector in NCR. In total, there are four project proposals under this R&D center.

They proceeded to present their project proposals to many different consortiums and councils including the Metropolitan Manila Industry and Energy Research and Development Consortium (MMIERDC), and Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). Dr. Cid-Andres stated that due to the tedious and lengthy process for the application for NICER, not all groups and proposals can continue and finish the application process.

With the establishment of the Center for Environmental Technologies and Compliance, DOST gave an institutional grant of Php53.34 million. The money will be utilized for the four projects by PUP, AdU, and UPD under the R&D Center. According to Dr. Cid-Andres, PUP received an approved budget of around Php13 million, which will be used for their proposed projects, as well as for the establishment of their office, laboratory, and equipment.

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