DOST-supported projects highlight wellness, environment

| Written by Padayon UP

MANILA – Research and development (R&D) projects highlighting wellness, environmental sustainability, and community and the arts were showcased in a symposium on Thursday.
“These are diverse areas of study, but all of them are equally significant,” said Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Rowena Guevara, adding that the projects were supported by the agency’s CRADLE (Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy) program.
Guevara said that in advocating for environmental responsibility, it is important to consider the impact of a cause on both the people and the ecosystem.
With this, the DOST supports projects that develop innovative solutions to manage the environmental impacts of mining wastes.
A R&D project on developing smart tools for evaluating the effectiveness of erosion control technologies in mined out areas in Central Mindanao, and another one that will develop an efficient way for wastewater treatment, were showcased.
The first one aims to develop alternative solutions to the waste of gold processing plants. It seeks to find alternative usage of gold mill tailings and conduct comprehensive analysis on how the developed technology can contribute towards building socioeconomic and environmental sustainability.
The second project, on the other hand, aims to develop a portable air purifier for automotive air filtration systems. It will utilize naturally occurring aluminosilicate minerals through facile modification processes to mitigate the health-related risks of using taxis as mode of transportation.
In terms of health and wellness, the DOST is supporting projects aiming to ensure quality health services that will improve the overall health outcomes of the Filipinos.
For wellness, the Adamson University and Compact Pharmaceutical Corporation has a project that seeks to determine the formulation, quality control, and immediate release of tablets of fixed-dose combinations of aspirin and cilostazol.
According to the DOST, aspirin and cilostazol are used for the management of stroke, thrombo-embolic disorders and ischemic heart disease, but are available as separate units in the market.
As such, the project aims to develop a cost-efficient alternative with minimized adverse drug reactions and enhance dosage compliance.
“In the arts sector, we are considered competitive in terms of global creativity as evidenced in the nation’s ranking in the Global Innovation (GII), moving up by 26 percentile ranks from 2016 to 2019. Our country also ranks 5th among ASEAN countries in the Creative Output sub-index,” Guevara said.
For the community and the arts, the partnership between Agricultural Sustainability Initiatives for Nature, Inc. and University of the Philippines-Diliman aims to help the coastal communities in Macalelon, Quezon and the local economy by using a science-based approach to increase the supply of oysters and ensure sustainability.
Another project for the community is the Custom Made Crafts Center Inc. and DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) partnership, which seeks to develop Philippine handwoven textile solutions for non-medical face masks seeking.
It eyes community-based development of water-repellent textile materials using local handwoven indigenous fabric.
Further, it aims to develop World Health Organization (WHO)-compliant cloth masks for non-medical face masks, and to establish an initial market assessment of the developed non-medical face masks.
Through DOST’s CRADLE program, the agency provides funding for approved R&D proposals from higher education institutions, R&D institutions, and their partner industries.
The proposals must also be in line with the DOST’s priority areas and up to PHP5-million funding assistance can be availed of.
The industry partner defines the problem to be solved and the academic institutions or R&D institute do the research. It would also adopt the research output.
For his part, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the partnership between industry and academe allows sharing of knowledge and insight.
“CRADLE (program) improves the capabilities of our local companies and at the same time, broadens the understanding of our scientists and researchers on the needs of industry,” he said.(PNA)

(This article, written by Ma. Cristina Arayata, was first published in the PNA Website on February 24, 2022)