The recently signed Philippine Innovation Act and Innovation Start up Act, no doubt, will help in the improvement of our science sector. However, Icatio, Jr. mentioned that “our undergraduates are usually dissuaded against research careers due to scanty employment opportunities, disproportionate remuneration and high cost of graduate education.” Furthermore, “only few local universities and health care institutions have world-class research facilities with outmoded or incomplete facilities and equipment” and other obstacles to aspire and inspire our young people to pursue research and development career. To top all these problems “is a pervasive mindset that grossly underestimates the requirements of innovative R&D, leading to stunted technology and low value research output,” according to Icatio Jr. How sad”.
His recommendations to fast track innovation efforts in the Philippines, the following must be incorporated in the implementing rules and regulations of the 2 laws mentioned earlier:
1. Substantially increase the number of competitive government scholarships for MSc/Ph.D. programs to drastically increase the size of our professional science workforce.
2. Allocate a respectable annual science fund as grand-in-aid specifically for development of intellectual properties in both private and government research institutions; identify and establish new research centers with significant potential for value creation, and expand and improve existing ones.
3. Promote extensive R & D cross-link-ages between private corporations and the academia/government as a means to spawn high-impact consumer and industrial products, create new jobs in industries and generate new revenue sources.
4. Provide scientists with a portfolio of highly competitive benefits to attract quality personnel.
Wealth creation through creativity and innovation is the game in this age of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Our Department of Science and Technology should energize their efforts in the promotion of R & D in our country. For one they should revitalize the “Balik Scientists Program” that lures our Filipino Scientists abroad to come home and serve our nation.
While we cannot overtake other advanced countries in this regard, remember that these countries started invariably in small beginnings. Wise words from Icatio, Jr. “Ramping up investment in intellectual properties now will hopefully empower us to gradually break free from the technology freeze that has gripped us for the longest time.”
In addition, Thomas Rausche stressed: “To meet the ethical challenges posed by the imposition of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, we have to better understand the driving forces of technical innovation (and develop) business opportunities of new technologies (as well as) ensure that ethical norms and values should direct technical innovations towards serving socially (such as making our economy inclusive).”