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Paliwanagan 2013: UPD research centers and institutes take the stage

Dr. Benito M. Pacheco

Research is a major thrust in UPD. It is one of the three main functions of UP as the only national university in the country. It is also an integral component in Chancellor Caesar Saloma’s vision for UPD; his administration seeks to “constantly strengthen the research capability of UPD in order to fulfill its other critical functions—a graduate and a public service university.”

With close to 1,000 research projects a year, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (OVCRD) plays a vital role in achieving this significant scholarly pursuit. Under the current leadership of Dr. Benito M. Pacheco, OVCRD is putting premium in disseminating the creative works and research and development (R&D) outputs of UPD faculty members and researchers to policy makers and the public. In fulfilling this very important function, OVCRD presented Paliwanagan sa UP DilimanOVCRD Colloquium 2013 on January 21 at the National Institute of Physics Auditorium, National Science Complex in UPD.

Paliwanagan sa UP Diliman 2013 was the third R&D discourse organized by OVCRD. The recently concluded colloquium introduced new elements. First, itfocused on institutional researches, creative work initiatives and extension works of the various research centers and institutes in UPD. OVCRD also presented its inventory of 104 research, creative work and extension units/centers in UPD. Printed copies of the compilation of the inventory containing profiles of these units were distributed at the colloquium.

In his opening remarks, Pacheco noted that UPD has the biggest number of centers of excellence in the country. “Centers, institutes, laboratories, studios and similar units are the hub of research, creative work and extension activities in the campus, yet their outputs and contributions tend to be overlooked.” It is for that reason the third colloquium was organized, to understand and appreciate the vital role and contribution of these centers and institutes to the University and the society as well.

Saloma, for his part, emphasized the importance of having a colloquium like the Paliwanagan sa UP Diliman—to present groundbreaking studies of members of academic community as well as encourage better coordination and interaction between disciplines.  He also stressed the value of inter-institutional collaborations. “With our various units learning to work in tandem instead of in isolation, UP can fulfill its mandate as the country’s only national university forging ahead as leader in educational scientific and artistic productivity,” said Saloma.

Fifteen papers were presented in sessions divided according to four major themes. In addition, there were two special sessions that centered on vital University concerns—extension services and scientific research and mentoring.

Under the first session with a theme “The University and the Government,” four research projects were discussed. These are: Towards a Strategic Framework for Management of the West Philippine Sea read by the Asian Center; Development of Guidelines in Establishment and Designation of Tourism Enterprise Zones and the Administration of Incentives Under RA 9593 (Tourism Act) by the Asian Institute of Tourism; The IGLR Code Revision Projects by the Institute of Government and Law Reform, Law Center; and Forensic DNA Technology: A Powerful Tool for Judicial Reform presented by the Natural Sciences Research Institute (NSRI).

The second session on “The University and the Public” included papers on the Regulatory Policies in Hospital Licensing System by the Center for Policy and Executive Development, National College of Public Administration and Governance; The Dictionary of Filipino Musical Terms, a research project of the UP Center for Ethnomusicology; Using Lesson Study to Promote Teaching Mathematics through Problem Solving and Teaching Science through Inquiry by the National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (NISMED); and Impacts of Natural Hazards in the Philippines and the Latest Government Initiative to Address Recurring Disasters, a research project of the National Institute for Geological Sciences (NIGS).

The third theme on “Understanding Fundamental Societal Issues: Micro Contexts” also featured four researches namely: Dayalektolohiya ng Inohan sa Isla de Carabao, Romblon by Sentro ng Wikang Filipino; Museum History is Art History: The Vargas Museum in Manila by the Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center; Transport and Traffic Management Study for Olongapo City by the National Center for Transportation Studies, UP National Engineering Center; and Saga of Learning: The Bolinao Marine Laboratory Mariculture Experience by The Marine Science Institute (MSI).

The fourth and last session on “Understanding Fundamental Societal Issues: Macro Contexts,” had the least number of papers (three) presented. Discussed in this session were the following: Development of Vulnerability Curves of Key Building Types to Different Hazards in the Philippines by UP Institute of Civil Engineering; Identifying and Defining the Working Class in the Philippines by the School of Labor and Industrial Relations; and The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study 4 (YAFS 4) by the UP Population Institute.

Jonathan P. Sale, dean of UP School of Labor and
Industrial Relations;Dr. Josefina N. Natividad from
UP Population Institute; and Dr. Jaime Y. Hernandez from
Intitute of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, during
the open forum(left to right). Standing is Dr. Percival
Almoro who was the moderator.

The two special sessions, Survey of Extension Service Practices in UPD and Scientific Mentoring and Research Groups in UPD, were presented in the morning and afternoon, respectively.

The special session on extension service tackled the concrete nature and extent of extension services in UPD, while the special session on research groups and mentoring focused on the importance of collaborative learning among group members, and the effective way and best practices in helping or guiding mentee to develop their full potential.

Paliwanagan sa UP Diliman generally intends to showcase UPD research and development programs, projects and initiatives; acquaint UPD constituents with the research and creative works initiatives of colleagues in other units; discuss available institutional support for UPD researchers and creative workers; and highlight the complete R&D cycle, from proposal writing through intellectual property creation, dissemination and utilization. It is a bi-annual activity that aims to create greater public awareness and appreciation of R&D development and program in UPD.

The first two Paliwanagan were held in January and September 2012. Both colloquia highlighted individual and team projects (researches and creative works) funded by OVCRD. As a parallel activity during the January 2012 colloquium, booths showcasing UPD journals were set up. In the September colloquium, a Fair highlighting UPD’s successful exhibition during the National Science Technology Week 2012 held at the SMX Convention Center, and an exhibition of activities of UPD’s research and development partners, were the featured parallel events.

Another feature introduced in the third Paliwagan sa UP Diliman is the giving of two incentives: the Research Dissemination Grants (RDG) incentive and the Outright Research Grant (ORG) incentive.

The top five units (colleges, schools, centers or institutes) with the highest percentage of attendance of full time faculty members and research and extension and professional staff (REPS) shall be recommended to have their 2013 RDG allocation doubled based on the total amount of RDG they received in 2012.

For the ORG incentive, the top three units with the highest absolute number of full time faculty and REPS attendees will be given 2 grants worth P300,000.00 (or a total of P600,000.00 per unit), while the fourth and fifth placers will each be awarded P300,000.00.

To date, OVCRD is still finalizing which units are to be awarded with the incentives mentioned above.

In his closing message, Pacheco also underscored the significance of having a discussion or sharing of research information like the Paliwanagan. “Even if we spend 363 days of the year in our own disciplines specializing to be better and better, it is worthwhile that we spend at least two days a year, to expose ourselves to, and to immerse ourselves in, what else is out there,” said Pacheco. “With the active dialogue among inventors, authors and creators in UPD, there is a big possibility of increase in cross- or multi-disciplinary collaborations among research centers and institutes.”

Strengthening the UPD research and development program thru generous incentive grants and holding colloquia are clearly meant to create an enabling and nurturing environment for the faculty members and researchers in UPD.

The new knowledge generated from these researches all redounds to teaching which remains to be the primary mission of the University. — Bino Gamba