NAST awards 5 UPD profs

Rivera, Arugay, Conato, Paraan and Payot

(JUN. 15)—The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines recently honored one UPD professor with the title Academician while four joined the elite group Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS), all in recognition of their outstanding contributions in advancing science and technology in the country.

Prof. Windell L. Rivera, PhD of the Institute of Biology (IB) and former director of the UP Natural Sciences Research Institute, was conferred the title Academician for his works in microbiology.

A Professor 12 at the UPIB, Rivera holds the rank of UP Scientist III. His expertise is in molecular microbiology, immunology, microbiology and medical science. Among his numerous distinctions and awards are the 2016 Thomson Reuters Promising Star of the Philippines (Plant and Animal Science), the 2015 DOST Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal (Outstanding Research and Development Award for Basic Research) 2014 CHED Republica National Awards (Natural Sciences and Agricultural Category) and the UPAA Distinguished Alumnus in Science and Technology Award in 2013.

The title Academician is a peer recognition.  A scientist candidate earns the title if he obtains more than 50 percent of the votes of NAST’s total membership.

Meanwhile, professors Aries A. Arugay (Department of Political Science), Marlon T. Conato (Institute of Chemistry), Francis Norman C. Paraan (National Institute Physics) and Betchaida D. Payot (National Institute of Geological Sciences) were recognized as this year’s OYS in the field of political science, chemistry, physics and geology, respectively.

Arugay is Professor at the Department of Political Science. His research interests are in comparative democratization, civil-military relations, international relations of the Asia-Pacific, contentious politics and security sector governance. He currently holds an ASEAN@50 Fellowship of the New Zealand’s Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence and the One UP Professorial Chair in Comparative Democratization.

Conato is Professor at IC whose research interests are in solid state chemistry; synthesis, structures and applications of microporous crystals; and crystallography and materials chemistry.  His publications center on metal-organic frameworks, zeolites, microporous crystals, polymer nanocomposites and inorganic catalysts. Conato is a recipient of One UP Professorial Chair Award (2019-2021), the Centennial Faculty Grant Award (cycles 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science HOPE Fellow 2017. He is also a DOST Balik Scientist grantee in 2015.

Paraan is Associate Professor and is a member of NIP’s Structure and Dynamics Research Group.  His research interests are in quantum entanglement, parallel computing and stochastic processes.

Payot is Associate Professor at NIGS who specializes in igneous petrology and geochemistry. She is a recipient of the One UP Faculty Grant for Teaching and Research (2019-2021) and the 2020 UPD Centennial Faculty Grant.

The OYS is given annually to young Filipino scientists, 41 years old or under, who made significant contributions to science and technology.  In addition, the awardee should be “of exceptional ability to undertake scientific research as evidenced by papers published in reputable scientific journals.”

Established in 1976, NAST was created to recognize exemplary achievements in science and technology and to serve as a reservoir of competent scientific and technological manpower for the country.  NAST serves as the Philippine President’s advisory body on policies concerning science and technology in the country.