Meet Lessandro Estelito Garciano, PhD, Newton Fund Institutional Links Grant awardee.

Research topic: PRISMH: Philippines Resilience of Schools to Multi-Hazard

Host institution / UK university: University College London

Home institution: De La Salle University

Describe your research collaboration in layman’s terms.

PRISMH is a research collaboration between UCL, DLSU and XU geared towards evaluating the resilience of public schools in the Philippines against multi-hazards, e.g. earthquakes, flood, and typhoons. With this project, a structural retrofit can be identified, improve early warning systems and measure social preparedness. Achieving these goals will eventually lead to reduced casualties, reduced economic losses while maintaining the school's function before and after a hazard.

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

Public schools in the Philippines have been dependent to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with regards to its structures' safety and performance. However, despite of the need for re-assessment, it has not been re-evaluated against the increasing risks from earthquakes, floods, and typhoons due to limited budget. PRISMH will offer a quick and accessible solution to this gap. This research project will train personnel from the school and building sector to be knowledgeable of conducting quick school assessment against multi-hazards and interpreting its results.

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

Prior to this research project, we had successful project / research collaborations with the same UCL team. The first one was related to the multi-hazard vulnerability assessment of built heritage in the Philippines that was funded by the World Bank. After this we worked on SCOSSO (Safer COmmunities through Safer SchOols) project that was funded by UK EPSRC. This was the pre-cursor of PRISMH. 

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

The Biotechnology for Natural Products Program is a relatively new research initiative at BIOTECH-UPLB. To gain traction, the Program needs to provide training of its staff on the latest experimental techniques needed to conduct in-depth research on our microbial collection. My decision to go ahead with the collaboration with UoW was based on the fact that our UK collaborator is one of the pioneering experts in microbial natural products research from whom we could seek expert advice to accelerate the pace of our natural products research on our microbial collection. Research data that will be gathered from the collaboration will help guide the direction for future research in the Program.