By Albino C. Gamba Jr., image by Leonardo A. Reyes
(DEC. 9)—The creation of Research Laboratories (RLs) is the top priority for Dr. Dennis S. Mapa, dean of the School of Statistics (SS).
Mapa said RLs are enhanced study groups with specific objectives and outputs, headed by one or two senior faculty members with a number of junior faculty members with the same research interest as associates. “What we have right now are informal study groups and I want to formalize these groups into RLs.”
To produce more SS graduates, Mapa said RLs are required to take in, as members, graduate students who will write their theses or dissertations under the guidance of the RLs. “In a way, this program would hit two birds, increase the number of graduates for the masters and PhD programs of the School, and at the same time produce more researches,” said Mapa.
The RLs will be provided with monetary incentives subject to defined output such as published articles and graduate students who will complete their theses or dissertations.
In addition, the RLs would focus on the needs of the public or those that are vital to the country’s interest. Mapa is targeting to engage various government agencies like the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for econometric modeling, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for studies on poverty targeting and impact evaluation. Mapa said RLs could later engage the banks and financial institutions for risks modeling.
“The researches could provide empirical evidence to answer policy questions like poverty and disaster. The creation of RLs answers the mandate or objective of UP as a research and public service university,” Mapa explained.
Next on Mapa’s agenda is the faculty development program. He said he will continue the accomplishments of his immediate predecessors through scholarships and providing the faculty funds and incentives for research initiatives.
Three years down the road, Mapa would like to strengthen the School’s faculty profile. “Currently, seven faculty members are completing, at various stages, their PhDs. The momentum of this program must continue by having additional five to six faculty members to be in the PhD program on or before 2017. This is expected to bring the percentage of faculty members with PhD to 75 percent by 2020,“ Mapa said.
The new dean is also pushing for the approval of a Professional Master’s Degree in Data Science Analytics to attract practitioners in the area of data analytics.
“This program is more applied. The courses would focus on the need of the private sector on how to handle ‘big data’ in their business models. We want to capture these practitioners, especially those in the market research, telecommunications and financial institutions,” explained Mapa.
“Data analytics is the science of examining raw data with the purpose of drawing conclusions about that information. It is used in many industries to allow companies and organization to make better business decisions, and in the sciences to verify or disprove existing models or theories. “ (searchdatamanagement.techtarget.com)
An Associate Professor, Mapa teaches time series analysis and econometrics in the undergraduate and graduate programs of SS and School of Economics. He obtained his BS Statistics (1990), MA in Economics (2002), MS in Statistics (2004) and PhD in Economics (2008), all from UPD. He was a Visiting Scholar at the International Centre for the Study of East Asian Development in Kitakyushu, Japan from September to October 2013.
Mapa’s research interests are on econometrics and financial time series analysis, empirical economic growth, poverty analysis and impact evaluation. He has published numerous papers in international and national academic journals. Among his recent researches were “Development of New Proxy Means Test” used by DSWD in identifying the poor household under the Conditional Cash Transfer program, “Forecasting Models for Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Philippine Exports” under the Bureau of Exports Trade Promotions of the Department of Trade and Industry, and the “Macro-Econometric Models for Bhutan” under the auspices of Asian Development Bank. He is currently completing a study entitled “Leading Economic Indicators Model and the Quarterly Macro-Econometric Model of the Philippines.”
A mulit-awarded, researcher, Mapa was appointed Scientist I under the UP Scientific Productivity System Award in 2012. In 2008, he received the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology for his research contribution in the areas of Financial Econometrics and Empirical Economic Growth Analysis.
Prior to his appointment as dean, Mapa served for nine years as the School’s Director for Research. He is a member of the Research Advisory Panel of the East Asia Development Network, and of the Board of Trustees of the UP Statistical Center Research Foundation, Inc.
The UP Board of Regents approved Mapa’s appointment at its 1301st meeting on Sept 29. He serves a three-year term ending Sept 30, 2017.