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A strong and purposeful research and development (R&D) programme is a crucial factor in a country’s long-term growth. R&D is also essential to the advancement of society. It offers scientific knowledge for the creation of new products, solutions, and services. While it necessitates significant investments and a great deal of patience, the rewards are substantial. Policymakers and researchers are realising that R&D is a critical component for increased productivity, competitiveness, and well-being. Moreover, it has the potential to address some global issues such as climate change and public health.

The Republic Act 11293 or the Philippine Innovation Act is said to bolster the government’s R&D efforts. The National Economic and Development Authority had developed the implementing rules and regulations in collaboration with the Departments of Science and Technology and Trade and Industry.

We do need an ecosystem approach to enhancing innovation and value creation and to supporting our start-ups and other enterprises for them to engage productively in the global knowledge economy.

– DTI Secretary

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently announced plans to expand access to research and development (R&D) across the country at a recent event. In his message to the ASEAN Summit on Spin-Off Technologies, the DTI Secretary mentioned that the agency is organising Regional Inclusive Innovations Centres (RIICs) across the country to democratise the growth of start-up communities.

He noted that R&D is the “true heart” and “DNA” of entrepreneurship and that making it more inclusive will enable more start-up communities and support young entrepreneurial talents in technology and creative industries. Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can use the RIIC to position their products in the global value chain, giving them a competitive advantage in the global market.

“The presence of start-up enterprises capitalising on rigorous R&D to generate new products, services, processes, or other solutions is vital to the growth of the country’s knowledge economy,” he said.

He also stated that developing local talent in technology and creative industries will aid in job creation, increased customer demand, and more vibrant trade in goods and services. The DTI Secretary went on to mention start-up development programmes that will help promote Philippine products and services in the global market.

Global Acceleration Programme (GAP), Strategic MSMLE and Start-up Link (SMARTLink), Start-up Acceleration and Incubation by DTI (AID), International and Local Exposure Assistance Programme (iLEAP), and Start-up Venture Fund are among these programmes (SVF).

In addition, according to the DOST Secretary, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allocated over PHP208 million for the six virtual niche centres. In response to the government-led efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, we are establishing six new R&D centres in agriculture, livestock, and natural resources. These R&D centres will “open facilities, devise new strategies, and ramp up initiatives and efforts toward food resiliency in the new normal.

The DOST’s Niche Centres in the Regions for R&D (NICER) programme allows higher education institutions (HEIs) to significantly improve regional research by integrating development needs with existing R&D capabilities and resources.

The DOST provides institutional grants to HEIs in the regions through NICER for them to conduct high-quality research that will catalyse and promote regional development and industrial competitiveness.

Ultimately, the industry is working to enhance the country’s semiconductor and electronics manufacturing index by identifying customer needs, understanding suppliers’ baselines, developing relevant capabilities, matching industry supply and demand, and conducting periodic performance assessments. Furthermore, the industry suggests that the government maintain its scholarship programme for operators and technicians, improve the country’s business environment, conduct R&D capability development, and aggressively promote local industries and SMEs through investment missions abroad.

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