Press Release
October 9, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara has proposed the creation of innovation clusters for state universities and colleges (SUC's) in order to boost their capacity for research and development (R&D) and make the fruits of this research available to more people.

Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, cited the noticeable absence of Philippine universities in the world's top 400 universities according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, released Thursday, which placed emphasis on research and innovation in evaluating institutions of higher learning.

The former UP president lamented SUC's lack of focus in R&D which has contributed greatly to this dismal statistic.

"One does not deserve to be called a university if research and knowledge generation are not its predominant activity," he said. "We have to change the status quo."

Angara, together with the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) which he chairs, has proposed the model of innovation clusters--tripartite partnerships on R&D among the academe, private sector and government. The presentation was given by world-renowned engineer Dr. Greg Tangonan, who has 32 years of R&D experience at Hughes Research Laboratories and 49 U.S. patents to his name.

"We will organize regional universities and technical schools into research consortiums to which the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will download R&D money," explained Angara. "The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will ensure that SUCs and private universities will be capable of absorbing such multi-year, multi-disciplinary research funding. Together, the DOST and CHED will promote synergy through funded research, focused training modules, industry-taught courses and on-the-job training."

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo and CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan have expressed their support to this ambitious undertaking.

"These innovation clusters provide a non-linear model of innovation that will make sure that R&D will go from the labs to commercialization in as short as two years. We are employing the tried-and-tested formula to shepherd innovation toward useful application and wide use internationally," explained Angara.

"While we do have several outstanding universities, they stand out as islands of excellence in an ocean of mediocrity," he added. "We have to change that if we are to truly harness the potential of our people."

The four pilot innovation clusters to be launched are the Philippine Institute of Algae Research & Commercialization, ICT and Cloud Computing, Non-Adversarial Mining Technology Development, and Disaster Science and Management.

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