The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is providing funding to higher education institutions (HEIs) in the regions that conduct quality research promoting regional development.
Through the agency’s Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (research and development) (NICER) program, HEIs with proven competence and track record may apply for funding provided that their proposed projects have beneficial impacts on the local industry.
The proposed NICER should be unique across regions, with projects anchored on the Harmonized National R&D Agenda and regional primary needs and capabilities; duly endorsed by the Regional Development Council (RDC); hosted by an eligible HEI proponent with commitment to maintain and sustain its operations; and a collaborative project of HEIs in the region.
The proposed project must be also structured for a multi-year program implementation at maximum of three years, with at least three initial component R&D projects and a clear roadmap of R&D activities and outputs.
The DOST Councils will evaluate the eligibility and capability of the proponent to implement and sustain the NICER.
The NICER program is being implemented to establish R&D Centers that will cater to the specific needs of the regions, including upgrading, development and acquisition of research equipment to undertake collaborative R&D activities.
Rowena Cristina Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, said there are already 17 approved NICER in the country with total funding of PHP584 million.
Guevara said these include the potato R&D center, sweet potato R&D center, tamarind R&D center, DRRM (disaster risk reduction and management)-health center, native pig R&D center, mollusk center, biodiversity center, sea cucumber R&D center, halal goat R&D center, renewable energy R&D center, industrial tree plantation species R&D center, environmental informatics center, crustacean center, pili R&D center, center for astronomy R&D, citrus R&D center, and freshwater fisheries center.