Grant Awardees 2015

Congratulations to our British Council Newton Fund awardees!

The British Council has awarded 10 of the best proposals for the Newton Fund Institutional Links and Researcher Links – Travel and Workshop Grants. The researchers featured here will lead Philippine-UK research on various areas including sustainable cities, agritech, computing science, universal healthcare and engineering. The British Council will launch new calls for applications to Newton Fund programmes in April and July 2015.

Newton Fund Institutional Links

  • Dr. Miguela Mena
  • Dr. Marilou Nicolas
  • Dr. Evelyn Taboada
  • Dr. Raymond Tan

Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grants

  • Dr. Richard Hartmann
  • Dr. Joel Ilao
  • Dr. Charlle Sy

Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grants

  • Dr. Manuel Dayrit
  • Dr. Luis F. Razon
  • Dr. Evelyn Taboada


Dr. Miguela Mena

Asian Institute of Tourism
University of the Philippines - Diliman

Miguela M. Mena is a Professor and the Dean of the University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism. She obtained her Ph.D. in Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Master of Statistics and Bachelor of Science in Statistics at the University of the Philippines School of Statistics, and Diploma for Tourism Management (Highest Distinction) from Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria.  She has been involved in tourism education and training programs, published several articles in local and international tourism journals, and has handled various technical consultancy and research projects for international and local tourism organizations and non-government organizations.  

Her main research interests focus on international tourism in developing countries, destination competitiveness, destination policy and planning, destination management and marketing, tourism entrepreneurship, migration and mobility, measurement of domestic tourism, and information communication technology applications in tourism.  She has disseminated her research outputs to the wider academic community through participation in a number of international and local scientific/industry conferences, seminars, and symposia, as paper presenter, invited speaker, discussant, moderator, and through publications in proceedings and journals. In recognition of her achievements in the discipline of Tourism as evidenced by research, she was awarded a University of the Philippines Diliman Centennial Faculty Grant in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. 

As a Visiting Professor in 2008-2009, she supervised the design and development of the International PhD program in Tourism Development at the School of Tourism Development of Maejo University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  She was also a Visiting Professor at the National Chiayi University and National Penghu University in Taiwan from 2011-2013.  In the area of extension and public service, she renewed and expanded AIT’s industry linkages through the collaboration with the Department of Tourism and its attached agencies, local government units and non-government organizations. She also sits on the Inter-agency and Technical Working Group of the NSCB (National Statistical Coordination Board) on Tourism Statistics.  She also serves as Vice-Chairperson of the Quezon City Tourism Council, Treasurer of the Tourism Industry Board Foundation Inc. (TIBFI), and Trustee of the Tourism Foundation Inc.

Dr. Mena, through UPAIT, is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Institutional Links grant for research in tourism employment in the cities of Manila and Glasgow.

Dr. Marilou Nicolas

Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics
University of the Philippines - Manila

Marilou G. Nicolas, Ph.D. is a Professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics (DPSM), College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Manila.  Her academic life started 38 years ago when she decided to join the University of the Philippines and pursue a career in both research and teaching.  She is a licensed Chemist, and has a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.  Although she has devoted more years doing research on understanding diseases of the human eye, she has in the past 5 years redirected research interest on Philippine biodiversity.   She believes in the primacy of preserving our biodiversity, as its loss should be considered as a rapidly unfolding environmental disaster. Thus together with collaborators from Ateneo de Naga University (Emelina G. Regis, Ph.D. and Allan P. Sioson, Ph.D.), she headed a collaborative research program funded by the Department of Science and Technology to document some species and understand the impact of and/or its interactions with its environment.  The program produced a database, PlantArthroDB.  This became the inspiration for the Philippine Biodiversity Information System (PhilBIS) which was conceptualized during the workshop facilitated by a visiting scientist, Dr. Eduardo Mendoza from the University of Munich, Germany.  She continues her research on the species and areas previously documented, focusing on the molecular components of some plants such as secondary metabolites and peptides, because she believes that only by understanding its role in the environment and its benefit for human health and survival will communities help in preserving and conserving Philippine biodiversity.  She continues to collaborate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to help document what remained of Philippine biodiversity, and conduct research on harnessing its health potentials.   These researches are conducted at the DPSM at UP Manila where she collaborates with her colleagues from computer science, statistics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry and geology.

But while research and teaching had always been her primary interest, in the years she had been with the University of the Philippines, she has held various administrative positions, including Chair of her department and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  She became Executive Director of the Center for Integrative and Development Studies during the last 3 and a-half years.  Realizing the lack of integrative databases and the dearth of data coming from Philippine sources and because the Center, as a policy research arm of UP integrating various researches of the University to produce policy recommendations, it is in the Center that the PhilBIS was initiated in support of DENR’s clearinghouse mechanism.  

Dr. Nicolas, through UP Manila, is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Institutional Links grant to integrate and analyze heterogeneous information on Philippine biodiversity.

Dr. Evelyn Taboada

College of Engineering
University of San Carlos

Dr. Evelyn B. Taboada is the Dean of the College of Engineering and professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Philippines. She received a BS degree in chemical engineering (Cum Laude) from the Univ. of San Carlos and an MS degree in chemical engineering from the Univ. of the Philippines-Diliman.  She finished her advanced postgraduate degree of Master in Biotechnology and PhD in biochemical engineering from Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands). She also received a Master of Laws in Intellectual Property degree from the Univ. of Torino (Italy) and WIPO Academy (Geneva, Switzerland), and is a registered and practicing patent attorney/agent in the Philippines. 

Her research interests include bioprocess engineering, biotechnology of natural products, and the relevance of intellectual property to society.  She is an inventor and holds a patent portfolio particularly on appropriate technologies for the treatment of fruit wastes and its (bio)processing to obtain high-value products.  She published and presented more than 40 research papers in national and international journals and conferences. She is currently conducting research projects with industry sponsorship, government support, and international funding.

She is a two-time awardee of the WIPO Gold Medal for Inventors for her technological innovations and achievements in utilizing intellectual property for social and economic development. Her PhD research won recognition as runner-up for Best Young Scientist’s Work during the European Symposium on Biochemical Engineering Sciences (ESBES) in Stuttgart, Germany in 2004.  In the Philippines, she is a recipient of the Ambassador Alfredo M. Yao Intellectual Property Award in 2012 and the CHED Republika Award in 2007.  

Aside from her work at the university, she serves as Chief Technical & Operating Officer of the university start-up company Green Enviro Management Systems (GEMS), Inc., which is funded by angel investors since its inception in 2012.  She is a technical consultant of some local small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).  She represents the Philippines on the executive board of the Asian Federation of Biotechnology (AFOB) since its foundation in South Korea in 2009. Currently, she is a member of the CHED Technical Committee for Chemical Engineering. 

Dr. Taboada, through the University of San Carlos, is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Institutional Links grant for wireless sensor networks to improve agricultural processes.

Dr. Raymond Tan

Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
De La Salle University     

Raymond R. Tan is a full professor of chemical engineering, university fellow and the current Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines. His main areas of research are process systems engineering (PSE) and process integration (PI), both of which focus on the development of computational techniques for the design of sustainable and resilient industrial systems. Prof. Tan received his BS and MS in chemical engineering and PhD in mechanical engineering from De La Salle University, and is the author of over 150 Scopus-indexed publications (including 120 journal articles) with an h-index of 28. His work include some of the most highly cited papers in such journals as Process Safety and Environmental Protection (IChemE/Elsevier), Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy (Springer) and Computers & Chemical Engineering (Elsevier). He is a member of the editorial board of Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy (Springer) and is editor of the book Recent Advances in Sustainable Process Design and Optimization (World Scientific). He is also the recipient of multiple scientific awards from the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP). 

Dr. Tan, through DLSU, is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Institutional Links grant for resilient transport in sustainable cities.

Dr. Richard Hartmann

Associate Professor
Department of Physics
De La Salle University
Richard Hartmann is currently an associate professor of physics at De La Salle University Manila, Philippines. He obtained his PhD in physics from the University of Exeter in 2010. He specializes in the theoretical study of the optical and electronic properties of carbon based nano structures, focusing on how to use these novel materials as a basis for Terahertz detectors and emitters. 

His other research topics include the electronic confinement of graphene's charge carriers in electronic waveguides and excitons in narrow-gap carbon nanotubes. His research interests also extend to exactly solvable problems in mathematical physics.

Dr Hartmann is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grant to the University of Exeter.

Dr. Joel Ilao

Director for Research and Advanced Studies
College of Computer Studies
De La Salle University
Joel Ilao is a full-time faculty member of the Computer Technology Department, and currently the Research and Advanced Studies Director of the College of Computer Studies at De La Salle University (DLSU). He received his BS in Electronics and Communications Engineering and PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering degrees from the University of the Philippines - Diliman, and an MS in Computer Science degree from DLSU. He is affiliated with the DLSU Center for Automation Research, having undertaken research in the fields of robotics, audio and speech processing, machine vision, and corpus linguistics. His dissertation study, which involved the analysis of published material written in the Philippine languages, has given birth to computer-assisted corpus linguistics study using very large corpora. His experience in developing a speech-to-speech English-Filipino bi-directional machine translation system in Germany via a visiting researcher program has enabled him to function as the technical lead for the Philippine component of the Network-based Machine Translation Project of the ASEAN Project. In the field of Machine Vision, his work encompasses vision-based approaches to traffic monitoring and management, human-computer interfaces via gesture recognition, and environmental monitoring via analysis of aerial videos.

Dr Ilao is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grant to the University of Nottingham.

Dr. Charlle Sy

Associate Professor
Department of Industrial Engineering
De La Salle University
Charlle L. Sy is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering (IE) at De La Salle University (DLSU)-Manila, Philippines. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees, under a ladderized program, in IE from the same university in 2009.  She has been awarded a doctoral scholarship by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in conjunction with the ASEAN University Network/Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2013, specializing in optimization under uncertainty.

She was a recipient of the gold medal award for her undergraduate thesis and was likewise recognized for her contributions as a student leader while in DLSU.  In addition, she was also a member of the Philippine power lifting team and has earned accolades in the sport from national and regional competitions. 

Her work experiences include being a teaching assistant in NUS. She also interned as a research engineer for ExxonMobil’s Complex Science Division in New Jersey, USA.  She has also participated in various industry collaborations from both manufacturing and service sectors. 

Her research and teaching interests include systems thinking and system dynamics modelling, operations research, and robust optimization techniques. Her current research projects involve the application of these mathematical modelling tools to energy networks, humanitarian supply chains, manufacturing and logistics, and sustainable systems. She has published in international peer-reviewed journals such as System Dynamics Review (Wiley), Journal of Scheduling (Springer), and Electrical Power and Energy Systems (Elsevier). She is also the associate editor of the Journal of the Philippine Institute of Industrial Engineers. 

Dr. Sy is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grant to the University of Derby.

Dr. Manuel Dayrit

Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health
Ateneo de Manila University     

Manuel M. Dayrit is Dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.  He served in the Philippine government for 17 years and was appointed Secretary of Health (Minister) from 2001-2005 when he led the Department of Health to unprecedented achievements in disease control (SARS, TB, measles, vaccine-derived polio) and improved health care delivery (low-priced medicines, widened PhilHealth coverage). He was Director of the Department of Human Resources for Health at the World Health Organization in Geneva from 2005-2012; he led technical and policy work on global health workforce issues which led to the adoption of the WHO Code for the International Recruitment of Health Personnel by the World Health Assembly in 2010. Early in his career he worked as a community physician in rural Mindanao, later becoming an infectious disease epidemiologist and specialist in public health. He also worked in the private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. 

Dr. Dayrit has degrees from the Ateneo de Manila University (AB, 1972), the University of the Philippines College of Medicine (MD 1976) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MSc with distinction, 1982). He was an Outstanding Young Scientist of the National Academy of Science and Technology in 1990, appointed a Fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2006, and awarded Outstanding Alumnus for Health of the UP Alumni Association during the university’s centennial celebrations in 2008.

Dr. Dayrit, through the Ateneo de Manila University, is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grant to host a workshop with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Luis F. Razon

Department of Chemical Engineering
De La Salle University
Dr. Luis F. Razon is a Full Professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering.  He graduated from De La Salle University (DLSU), Manila, the Philippines in 1980 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (magna cum laude).  He obtained his M.S. and Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana under the direction of Prof. Roger Schmitz in 1985.   He also did postdoctoral research for Professor Schmitz until 1986. 

After a brief stint in the academe upon returning to the Philippines, he worked in the food industry for 14 years. His last position in industry was Product Development Manager of Mead Johnson Nutritionals for the Asia-Pacific region, where he led several multinational project teams and was responsible for the launch of many major new products.  In 2001, he returned to DLSU, where has served as a Professor of Chemical Engineering.  He has also served as the Director of the University Research Coordination Office (URCO).  Presently, he is also serving as the Director of the De La Salle Food and Water Institute, which coordinates and provides resources for the 8 De La Salle tertiary institutions in the Philippines.  
He has published extensively on a variety of topics, primarily chemical reactor stability and dynamics; catalysis and, over the past 6 years, biofuels, nitrogen fixation and life cycle assessment.  In all, he has 22 publications listed in the Scopus database of publications of which 20 are listed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).  He reviews publications regularly for many scientific journals and he serves as the Section Editor-in-Chief of the ASEAN Engineering Journal, a scientific journal of the ASEAN University Network – Southeast Asia Engineering Education Network (AUN-SEEDNet). 

Dr. Razon, through the DLSU, is a recipient of the British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grant to host a workshop with the University of Nottingham.