Press Release
October 4, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara applauded the heads and representatives of various state universities and colleges (SUC's) for committing to participate in the proposed tripartite partnerships for research and development (R&D) among the academe, government and industry during the Senate budget hearing for higher education today.

During the 2011 Science and Technology (S&T) Stakeholders Summit, the veteran lawmaker called for the reorganization of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the creation of "innovation clusters" that will serve as Public-Private Partnerships (PPP's) in S&T.

"As our universities continue to fall short of global standards, we've got to pause and think hard. We've got to pull together and put every effort in pushing our standards of education even higher," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

"What we called for was a new model of managing our higher education institutions to produce honest-to-goodness research output. With the SUC's themselves accepting the idea of innovation clusters, we could finally lay down the foundation for our country to leapfrog into a truly knowledge-based, S&T driven economy," said Angara, also the Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

DOST Sec. Mario Montejo has agreed to provide initial funding for four innovation clusters in algae research and commercialization, cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS), disaster science and management, and non-adversarial mining technologies.

These clusters were formulated after close consultations with Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which is chaired by Angara.

All the SUC's present all signed up to be included in several of the initial proposed innovation clusters. Some even suggested that new clusters should be formed in the areas of renewable energy, marine resources and aquaculture, nanotechnology and ecosystems management.

Gregory Tangonan, Executive Director of COMSTE, said that the country needs to follow a non-linear model to innovation, where outputs from basic research are quickly taken to commercialization. He explained the clusters will be academe and industry-led and therefore be motivated to be program-based and milestone-driven.

"The point of all of this is to finally make our universities responsive to national issues. For once, limited funding from government can still be made relevant through meaningful collaborations not only with the private sector but also with international partners," said Angara.

"At the same time, our 112 SUC's will be more active in helping create new and high-paying jobs for the country," he added.

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