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Monday, October 17, 2016

The First PCARI Research and Development Conference

Filipino researchers met and interacted with their University of California collaborators at the First PCARI Research and Development Conference held last October 13-14, 2016 at the Hive Hotel and Convention Place, Sct. Tuazon, Quezon City, Philippines.

Researchers, faculty, and students from PCARI-funded projects participated in the two-day conference. With their active involvement and contribution in the implementation of the PCARI Project, key representatives of USAID Philippines were also present in the event.

Dr. Niall Mateer, Director of Carbon Sequestration Research Program, California Institute of Energy and Environment (CIEE), University of California Berkeley gave a special talk on effective research management.

Project leaders, together with select Principal Investigators, of PCARI-funded projects presented their project accomplishments and management issues, followed by 10-minute open forum wherein attendees were able to ask the presenters various aspects of their research.

Dr. Luke Lee presenting their work at UC Berkeley in collaboration with PCARI IHITM 131

Cycle 3 approved projects

PCARI Project Manager Dr. William Padolina announced the first batch of approved Information Infrastructure Development project proposals for Cycle 3, namely IIID 2016-008: Development of Wireless Sensor Network-Based Water Information System for Efficient Irrigation Water Management In the Philippines led by Dr. Victor Ella from UP Los Banos in collaboration with Dr. Steven Glaser from UC Berkeley; and IIID 2016-006: Data Analytics for Research and Education (DARE) led by Dr. Francis Aldrine Uy, Dr. May Lim, and Dr. Noriel Christopher C. Tiglao from UP Diliman, in collaboration with Dr. Alexander Bayen from UC Berkeley.

Dr. Victor Ella together with UC collaborator Dr. Steven Glaser, smiling at the camera
as their research proposal, IIID 2016-008, was approved for PCARI Cycle 3funding

The other Cycle 3 proposal submissions of both IHITM and IIID are still in review by the Commission En Banc which will determine if the projects are approved for PCARI funding.


Dr. Padolina admitted that it is very challenging to defend the PCARI Project before the legislation.

"Science and research are becoming disposable items in the budget process of the national government, especially in a developing country such as (the) Philippines," he stated, encouraging the audience to work together and do their best in advocating the change PCARI aims to achieve.

The project leaders and principal investigators were all in agreement that despite the shaky path the PCARI is taking, it has given them hope. Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-Dela Paz from the Philippine Shared Genomics Center likened the Project to the Philippine eagle Pag-Asa soaring high.

On the other hand, USAID representative MirShariff Tillah affirmed their support to the Philippine government "in this pursuit of creating engines of growth and developing higher education as key drivers of sustainable and inclusive growth".

Mr. MirShariff Tillah of USAID Philippines

"We are doing the right thing. We are investing in the right people," Mr. Tillah said.

In giving her closing remarks, CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan emphasized PCARI's role in doing high-end research for the benefit of larger communities. She believed that this is important, and that it has to be communicated to the legislators.

"I was almost getting teary-eyed as I watched and listened (to the presentations)," Chair Licuanan humored, recalling the long and bumpy road in establishing the Project. "It hasn't been easy... yes, we had tough times. So we thank everyone who had the ride and stayed on course."

CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan giving her closing remarks

Finally, the CHED Chair acknowledged the support of the USAID-STRIDE, partner University of California campuses, collaborating Philippine universities, the Department of Science and Technology, and all the stakeholders in making the PCARI Project successful.

For more photos, see the PCARI Official Facebook page here!


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