Chem Industry supports ERDT scholars

(December 16)—Forty Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) scholars at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) are now assured of support from major companies in the chemical industry with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between UPD and Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriyang Kimika (SPIK) on December 10.

The MOA which establishes the UPD ERDT-SPIK Industry-Academe Research Program will “endeavour to achieve the following targets: 10 first year scholars for SY 2013-2014, 20 first and second year scholars total for the program for SY 2014-2015, and 40 total for the program for SY 2015-2016.” 

SPIK is a 37-year-old association of 70 companies comprising the country’s chemical industry. It also represents the country in the International Council of Chemical Association. Among its members are the United Laboratories (UNILAB), Salinas Corporation and Bayer Philippines, Inc.

Meanwhile, ERDT is a consortium of eight member universities in the country that offers Masters and doctoral degrees in various engineering fields. According to the Science Education Institute of the Department of Science and Technology, the ERDT seeks the “implementation of high impact research agenda that are aligned with the National Science and Technology Plan and Medium Term Philippine Development Plan; upgrade the qualifications of practicing engineers; upgrade the quality of engineering colleges and make engineering graduate education accessible; and develop a culture of research and development.”

The MOA was signed by UPD Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma and SPIK president Engr. Roberto F. Batungbacal. Witnesses to the MOA signing were Dr. Aura C. Matias, UP College of Engineering (CoE) dean; Dr. Augustus C. Resurreccion, UPD ERDT project leader; and Engr. Oscar S. Melencio, SPIK executive director.

The MOA states that SPIK shall “seek suitable SPIK host companies to facilitate the thesis research of selected ERDT scholars taking graduate programs in Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Energy Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering as recommended and endorsed by the UPD CoE through the ERDT Program.”

In addition, SPIK shall “provide an industry mentor to each of the selected ERDT scholars; said industry mentor is expected to work with the student, the UP-based adviser and the SPIK Committee Chair on Education, Research and Innovation (currently Prof. Elsie M. David), for two years towards ensuring the success of the respective thesis by selecting relevant topics, developing the research methodologies and sharing of facilities.”

SPIK shall also “provide additional assistance to the selected ERDT scholars as may be deemed necessary to successfully carry out the thesis research of said scholars.”

The MOA signing coincided with the 2nd SPIK Innovation Forum held at the CoE Theater.

With a theme “Creating Value Together in an Innovation Economy,” the forum organized by the UPD ERDT and SPIK aims “to gather a deeper discussion on innovation and the ways and means on how academe and industry can work together to achieve the needs of the growing innovation economy.”

The forum was attended by over 100 members of the SPIK member companies, UPD students and faculty. The highlight of the event was the launching of UPD ERDT and SPIK Research and Innovation Program.—Haidee C. Pineda, images by Leonardo Reyes




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