In June 2020, the British Council in the Philippines, through its Newton Agham Programme held webinars on ‘Writing a research proposal for international collaboration’. Our speakers for the webinar series were Newton Fund grantees. Over 500 researchers and academics from the Philippines and the UK attended.
4 June – Session 1: What constitutes a strong research proposal?
Institutional links grantees Dr Manuel Dayrit from the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and Prof Cameron Johnstone of the University of Strathclyde discussed what constitutes a strong research proposal. Dr Dayrit focused on how to prepare for international collaboration. ‘The starting point is the idea that you have and a partner in the UK who believes in that idea’, he shared.
Prof Johnstone talked about the qualities and experience UK institutions look for in partners. ‘It is important to have complementary skill sets and capabilities between partners. It’s also vital to have local knowledge and to bring local understanding of the specific subject area,’ he said. Johnstone also stressed that research proposals for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded grants, should adhere to ODA requirements.
11 June – Session 2: Assessing the value of research with a UK partner
Our speakers were Dr Jopeth Ramis from the University of Nottingham, Dr Michael Angelo Promentilla of the De La Salle University-Manila and Dr Devendra Saroj from University of Surrey, UK. They provided detailed insights on assessing the value of research with a UK partner post Covid-19.
Dr Ramis discussed his views on establishing UK-Philippine partnerships as an early career researcher completing his PhD in the UK. He stated that one’s PhD process should be directed towards sustainable collaboration.
Dr Promentilla’s advice to researchers was to use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to challenge the system. ‘In research, we need to be good storytellers of how the results will benefit the society,’ Promentilla added.
The effect of the lack of mobility for research partnerships in the foreseeable future was discussed by Dr Saroj. He shared how this is a very important topic for a researcher irrespective of their subject area. ‘Do not lose the momentum and deliver what was planned. It’s important for the people in the Philippines and UK to exchange ideas even if they are not (physically) meeting so that future research quality is not compromised,’ he advised.
Students, researchers and professors from University of the Philippines Los Baños, Foundation University, Bukidnon State University, University of San Carlos, Pampanga State Agricultural University, Malayan Colleges Mindanao and University of Bath among other institutions participated in the virtual discussions.
Since 2016, the Newton Agham Programme has been providing £3 million to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and social welfare in the Philippines.
This year, the British Council partnered with the Department of Agriculture Biotech to co-deliver new Researcher Links Workshop grants. Following the call launched on 20 April 2020, the webinar aimed to encourage Filipino researchers to apply for international collaborations and learning opportunities.