Collage of profile photos of the newest batch of CHED- and DOST Newton Agham PhD scholar graduates. From left to right: Sheen Mclean Cabaneros (male in his 30s sitting inside a classroom wearing a black jacket over a red tshirt), Gene Fe Palencia (female in her 30s with straight black hair, wearing black rimmed eyeglasses, green tshirt sitting inside a classroom)  and Charles Lavilla Jr (Filipino male in his 30s wearing a maroon long sleeved polo shirt and black rimmed eyeglasses, standing among trees).
(From left) Sheen Mclean Cabaneros, Gene Fe Palencia and Charles Lavilla, Jr

More Newton Agham PhD scholars completed their doctorate research this January 2021 regardless of predicaments caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Having been supported by the British Council through partnerships with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the past four years, these emerging Filipino scholars have established their presence in the academic fields of medicine, energy and environmental engineering.

Charlie Lavilla, Jr – PhD in Biomedical Science

DOST-Newton scholar Charlie Lavilla, Jr, earned his degree at the Nottingham Trent University. Charlie’s research explored the biochemical properties of carnosine in characterising and potentially developing a low-cost food supplementation strategy to help treat or prevent muscle damage in people with diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. He is set to return to the Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to continue his career as associate professor. Charlie has set his goal to transpose this expertise back to the Philippines and support MSU-IIT in its efforts to become one of the country’s leading research universities.

Gene Fe Palencia – PhD in Engineering

DOST-Newton graduate Gene Fe Palencia finished her degree at Coventry University. Her research focused on wireless sensor networks directed to enable user-driven control of micro-power generation devices. Gene explored developing user-friendly mobile applications and tools to support technologically enhanced precision farming. Her research took a holistic view on the ‘farmer and farming’ socio-technical system and leveraged state-of-the-art tools in environmental, soil sensing and nutrients control to help farmers form more informed decisions towards productivity. Gene has returned to Cebu where she is a faculty member at the University of San Carlos (USC).

Sheen Mclean Cabaneros – PhD in Medical Engineering

CHED-DOST Newton scholar Sheen Mclean Cabaneros completed his studies at the University of Strathclyde. He worked on developing a forecasting model to characterise the concentration levels of air pollutants such as NO2 and particulate matters in urbanised areas. Sheen’s study provides an economical early-warning mechanism for the public to plan their activities in advance and reduce exposure to potential air pollution episodes. This year, he is set to return to his home institution, the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

As of February 2021, we have seven Newton Fund PhD graduates while 15 other scholars are expected to graduate and return to the country in 2021 to early 2022.

The Newton PhD Programme aims to facilitate the capacity building of individuals, and the building of sustainable, long-lasting links between the UK and the Philippines. Delivered by the British Council, the programme is jointly funded by the Philippine government through DOST and CHED to offer full-time PhD scholarships for Filipino researchers in the UK.



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