THE Science for Change Program (S4CP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is among the 10 winners of the 2022 United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA).

According to the award-giving body, they have received more than 350 applications from 58 countries and one of the 10 winning initiatives is the SC4P of the Philippines under the category "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Public Institutions to Reach the SDGs".

The UNPSA is an international recognition for public service excellence that recognizes the innovative accomplishments and contributions of public service institutions that resulted in more effective and responsive public administration in countries around the world.

The Science for Change Program (S4CP) was established to accelerate Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the country in order to keep up with the changes, in which technology and innovation are game-changers.

“This is a milestone for DOST. We are grateful and honored to the UNPSA for giving this prestigious recognition to the Science for Change Program. The S4CP has embarked on a journey to capitalize on the importance of R&D in achieving socio-economic development through research collaboration and cooperation between and among industry, academe, and research institutions to improve productivity and global competitiveness,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña in an online presser on June 22, 2022.

The achievement of SC4P is also seen as an achievement for the whole Mindanao after DOST increased the budget for research and development intended for other regions including Davao.

“Nong dumating kami ng 2016, 75 to 80 percent ng R&D napupunta po sa NCR (National Capital Region), Calabarzon, at tyaka Central Luzon funding... Dati ang budget ng 14 other regions ay mga 15 to 20 percent lang, dito sa Nicer(Niche Centers in the Regions) ang budget ng other regions is 70 percent [including Mindanao], ang laki ng share niyo (In 2016, 75 to 80 percent of the research and development budget went to NCR, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon...our budget for 14 other regions before is just 15 to 20 percent, but under Nicer, it now has a 70 percent budget for other regions),” Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Guevara said in an interview during the S4CP Summit Mindanao Cluster on May 27, 2022.

The Nicer Program is a DOST-Science for Change Program (S4CP) sub-program that provides grants to qualified Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the regions to conduct quality research aimed at promoting regional development while utilizing their existing capabilities and resources.

One of the recipients in Davao City is Ateneo de Davao University's Renewable Energy R&D Center (MREC). The center is currently constructing and installing a functional micro-scale solar thermal power plant capable of producing steam for process heating and electricity.

MREC also built a floating marine integrated Ocean Renewable system in the Pakiputan Strait, near the Island Garden City of Samal.

Also, innovation centers have been built at the University of the Philippines Mindanao, which is the Center for Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Bioinformatics for Decision Support Systems in Health (DSS-H), and the University of Southeastern Philippines, which is Halal Goat Nicer (USeP).

Other R&D Nicer-funded programs include Sea Cucumber at Mindanao State University-Naawan, Sustainable Polymers at Mindanao State University-IIT, Bamboo at Central Mindanao University, Native Chicken at Western Mindanao State University, Seaweeds at Mindanao University-TCTO, industrial Tree Plantation in Caraga, Maternal and Child Health at Davao Medical Foundation, and Cacao at the University of Southern Mindanao.

DOST also launched Payment Innovation for Solar Home System (SHS) Ownership by Lay Away Routine (Pisolar), a system that supplied electricity to households. Pisolar is currently available to 52 households in Mindanao's geographically isolated and disadvantaged area. KSD