Manila – Six female researchers were awarded the DOST-Newton PhD scholarships at Marco Polo Hotel last 26 February, leading the next batch of DOST-Newton Fund research and studentship grants co-funded by the British Council in the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The awarding ceremony also recognised recipients of Researcher Links (RL) Workshops grant and Institutional Links (RL) grant.
In 2015, the British Council and DOST have partnered to co-fund the Newton Fund programme to support collaborations between the Philippines and the UK on science and innovation. Since the partnership was signed, the DOST-Newton Fund programme has supported 15 PhDs, two researcher links travel grants, eight research links workshop grants and one institutional links grant.
DOST-Newton PhD Scholarships:
- Criselda Bautista from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine will study molecular epidemiology at the University of Glasgow. She intends to develop surveillance to inform control efforts, understand the true burden and guide the elimination of rabies in the Philippines.
- Maria Carmen Fernandez is a research consultant from the Far Eastern University Public Policy Center. Her research at the University of Cambridge will focus on spatial modelling. The datasets and methods to be used will build on Fernandez’s work on conflict displacement in cities in the Philippines particularly those on spatial justice in Cotabato and Maguindanao, post-Marawi reconstruction and the impact of punitive urban policy on Philippine cities.
- Maria Jowina Galarion, a research specialist from the University of the Philippines Manila, is set to study at the University of Glasgow on developing a sample-to-sequence approach for the MinION device as field-deployable tool. She intends to enhance the molecular surveillance and diagnostics of dengue virus in the Philippines.
- Carla Mae Pausta of the De La Salle University will study at the University of Surrey to develop an integrated lake model to understand the environmental impacts with respect to water quality and pollution loading. Using the case study of Laguna de Bay, she aims to improve urban wastewater management and protect water quality in lakes.
- Pamela Louise Tolentino is a research specialist from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her research at the University of Glasgow will investigate the role of catchment characteristics in the response of different basins across the country to hydrometeorological events. She also seeks to generate evidence on the effectiveness of nature-based solutions as response to mitigating the impacts of climate change on water resources.
- Julianne Vilela of the University of the Philippines Los Baños will do her research on the utilisation of next-generation technologies at Lancaster University. She strives to develop novel vaccines against viral diseases affecting poultry production.
Researcher Links Workshops grant
The Researcher Links Workshops grant enables the UK/Philippines bilateral cohort of early career researchers to participate in workshops and conferences. The grant supports international researches that are relevant to development. More than building the capacity of the researchers, the grant helps establish new or sustain existing partnerships. These workshops will take place between October 2020 to February 2021.
- Professor Tirso Ronquillo of Batangas State University partnered with the University of Wolverhampton to convene local stakeholders and academic professionals in developing significant and innovative strategies, technologies and approaches towards environmental resilience of the coastal communities in the Philippines.
- Dr Aleyla Escueta-de Cadiz from the University of the Philippines Mindanao collaborated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to bring cutting edge advances in omics science through the Philippine Genome Centre. The technology performs active surveillance, rapidly identifies drug-resistant pathogens, and informs infection control and management. This is LSHTM’s second workshop on omics in the Philippines.
- Dr Lourdes Bernadette Sumpaico-Tanchanco of Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health teamed up with Public Health England for a capacity-building activity to develop mathematical modelling skills for public health research, particularly to aid governance towards Universal Health Care in the Philippines.
Institutional Links Grant
The Institutional Links grant provides small-scale seed funding for research collaborations to access new research environments, facilities, knowledge and expertise to enhance the quality of their research.
- Nelson Enano with his home institution, Ateneo de Davao University, will work with the University of Strathclyde in utilising marine renewable energy to satisfy community energy demands and stimulate socio-economic development within the country.
The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 17 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK government investment of £735 million until 2021, with matched resources from partner countries.