24 SUCs trained on crafting winning research proposals

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) conducted an Online Training-Workshop on Developing Fundable Research Project Proposals for Transformational Agricultural and Rural Development for Higher Education Institutions (FundableProp4HEIs) for 24 state universities and colleges (SUCs).

The training-workshop was implemented in 10 half-day sessions on 18-29 April 2022 via the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagement (SOLVE) Platform with funding from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

“The FundableProp4HEIs is part of CHED’s Levelling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUpHEI AFAR),” said SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio.

The LevelUpHEI AFAR project includes mentoring and nurturing members of the State Universities and Colleges Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines, Inc. (SUC ACAP).

At the opening of the training, Atty. Lily Freida M. Milla, Director IV of CHED’s International Affairs Staff, emphasized the need to beef up capacity of HEIs in producing quality proposals for local and international funding.

She also expressed her hope that the training-workshop will prepare the participants for the challenges they will face as leaders of their institutions and empower them in their role as contributors and experts in the field of agriculture.

For his part, Dr. Gregorio said the country’s eventual return to normal will offer many opportunities for research funding. He stressed that HEIs should therefore be ready to have “winnable and meaningful” project proposals on hand.

“In view of competing priorities and limited resources, the training-workshop is designed to enable HEIs make their research more appealing to funding agencies towards the greater goal of reshaping agricultural research and development to achieve national and global development targets,” Dr. Gregorio explained.

“As such, they can become champions of transformational agriculture and rural development through research projects that promote food security and sustainable agriculture,” he said.

The SUCs that participated in the FundableProp4HEIs are Abra Institute of Science and Technology, Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology, Benguet State University, Camiguin Polytechnic State College, Cagayan State University, Cebu Technological University, Central Luzon State University, Central Mindanao University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Guimaras State College, Ifugao State University, Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College, Iloilo State College of Fisheries, Laguna State Polytechnic University, Negros Oriental State University, Occidental Mindoro State College, Partido State University, Southern Luzon State University, Sorsorgon State College, University of Antique, University of Eastern Philippines, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), University of Southern Mindanao, and West Visayas State University.

Dr. Gregorio said the FundableProp4HEIs systematically details the process of developing and packaging research project proposals. It introduced participants to the transformational perspective to the agricultural and rural development paradigm. It also developed their skills in project ideas generation and prioritization, project design, and packaging proposals.

“Moreover, the training-workshop intended to enable the participants to serve as transformational managers in the research and development sector,” he said.

Dr. Gregorio also emphasized the roles of educators and researchers as frontliners for agriculture and education. He said a crucial part of this role involves bringing forth relevant and timely research outputs that respond to the needs of farmers and the society at large.

He added that the promotion of the academe-industry-government connectivity is also integral to ensure that research produced are translated into useful outputs that stakeholders can benefit from.

Designed to walk the participants through the various stages of research project proposal development, the FundableProp4HEIs was structured into five modules delivered in lectures and workshops.

Module 1 focused on transformational agriculture and rural development and project cycle management, with emphasis on the drivers and strategies towards innovation and transformation in agricultural development, SEARCA’s Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN) strategic framework, and the Project Life Cycle Approach.

Module 2 delved into project ideas generation and prioritization, including key concepts and application of tools in situation analysis, generation, selection, and prioritization of project ideas.

Module 3 covered project design and business canvas formulation. It discussed the tools in project design preparation.

Module 4 tackled project proposal packaging wherein the key elements and desired features of a winning proposal are discussed. It also included helpful tips in project proposal writing.

Finally, Module 5 explored the role of project transformational managers in managing the project life cycle toward innovation leading to transformation.

UPLB College of Public Affairs and Development Adjunct Professor Wilfredo B. Carada headed the training team from UPLB as lead faculty and technical coordinator for the training-workshop.