Meet Miguela Mena, Newton Fund Institutional Links grant awardee.

Research topic: Low skills work in a smart city: Supporting capacity development for research into tourism employment in Glasgow and Manila

Host institution / UK university: University of Strathclyde

Home institution: University of the Philippines Diliman

Year of Award: 2015

What is your proposed research topic/title of your collaboration?

The project is the mutual capacity development in research relating to tourism employment in the context of smart cities. The three partners, the Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde (HRM), the Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines (AIT), and the Institute for Future Cities, University of Strathclyde (iFC) offer complementary skills in relation to research into tourism, employment and future cities. Specific activities within the collaboration will include combined workshops in both Glasgow and Manila; research training and mentoring for staff in both institutions; and stakeholder conferences for government, the private sector and education/ training providers.

What is the relevance of your research to the Philippines’ economic development and/or social welfare?

Tourism is one of the areas being considered by the Philippine government to generate high employment. With the boom in Philippine tourism in the next years, seven million new jobs are expected to be generated. New jobs are expected to be generated as the tourism industry promotes new destinations to increase international visitors. Understanding tourism employment and its relationship to the broad economic, social and cultural context in Metro Manila has the potential to provide data and understanding of the realities of work in the sector that could influence the thinking and planning of key public and private sector stakeholders. Such understanding can provide the basis for social and economic change.

How will your UK collaboration contribute to your home institution’s research goals?

The University of the Philippines (UP), as the national university, is mandated to lead in setting academic standards and initiating innovations in teaching, research, and faculty development and serve as a research university in various fields of expertise and specialization by conducting basic and applied research. This research collaboration will significantly impact in the fulfilment of the University’s responsibility to academic excellence and commitment to national development. This collaboration will start a meaningful partnership that can create world-class innovative and practical technologies directed towards addressing the challenges that face the Philippines and help achieve prosperity for the Filipino people.

What about the UK influenced your decision to collaborate with your partner institution?

The University of Strathclyde has the leading concentrations of research expertise relating to the study of low skills work in tourism and the wider service sector, both in a Scottish/ UK and Asian/ ASEAN context while the iFC is a recognised leading research institute in the specialist area of “Future Cities”. “Future Cities” is one of the four core cross-disciplinary research themes articulated at a strategic level by the University of Strathclyde. This collaboration will provide a springboard from which wider national (other Philippine city destinations), regional (ASEAN) and international application of ideas and methodology can be developed.

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