Press Release
March 8, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged both public and private universities in the country to take part in technology incubation programs and ensure that the R&D they undertake leads to applications that are either socially or commercially viable.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, made the statement as businessman Manny V. Pangilinan formally launched IdeaSpace--a P100 million technology incubation program that enables Filipino technopreneurs to scale up on innovative ideas that will benefit industries where Pangilinan's group operates such as water, transportation, mining, healthcare, and mining.

The veteran lawmaker cited other similar incubation programs such as the one launched last year by Ayala-led Globe Telecom during Startup Weekend Manila, the Wireless Wings fund initiated by IT industry veteran Myla Villanueva and some incubator parks under the stewardship of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

"We welcome all these initiatives because they all build up on our capacity to innovate and excel in science and technology--which I am convinced is the only significant way our country can truly move forward," said Angara. "It's truly invigorating to see the private sector taking significant strides in helping the Philippines transition into a knowledge-intensive, tech-driven economy."

"But these incubator initiatives will take on even greater heights if our universities and research institutions step up and get themselves significantly involved," said Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Culture and the Arts. "It is only when our higher education system plugs in meaningfully into our innovation system that the foundations are in place for S&T-driven growth in the country."

The former UP president noted that the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which he chairs, has been pushing for the establishment of innovation clusters--public-private partnerships among government, the academe and industry in conducting R&D for finding S&T solutions to the nation's key challenges.

Upon consultations with DOST, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), around P300 million in the 2012 budget has been allocated for the establishment of five innovation clusters in Algae Research and Commercialization; ICT for Cloud Computing and Software as a Service; Responsible Mining Technologies; Precision Farming and Smart Agriculture; and Disaster Science, Management and Risk Reduction.

"These clusters represent our first attempts at growing an entire innovation ecosystem, given that our higher education system is a hotbed for innovative ideas and creative energies that can truly transform the country," emphasized Angara. "Universities really have to step up, lest they remain disconnected and unresponsive to the demands of the society at large."

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