SEARCA director pushes for culture of agri-innovation

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Director and National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) Academician, reaffirmed the need to build a culture of agri-innovation in action among the Filipino youth at a webinar organized by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) on 20 January 2023.

Speaking at the sixth session of the Webinar Series on Nanotechnology titled “Empowering Young Filipino Researchers for an Emerging Technology Ready Philippines,” Gregorio emphasized the innovations for transformational change and how to reinforce a transformed agricultural food system in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

He said inclusive social service and protection schemes to all sectors, especially the women and youth; innovative new sourcing of funding and financing; and new policies on innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship are needed for policy innovation.

“S&T for social innovations to scale wider and faster, use of digital technology platforms for business models, and IT-based education and collective learning are needed in technology innovation,” Dr. Gregorio said.

He added that social innovation will come with public and private sector players adopting new ideas, strategies, and practices to better meet social needs.

Gregorio also discussed policy recommendations to sustain the growing interest in agriculture among young people and to promote and generate more agripreneurs.

“We must encourage full participation, particularly among the youth and women, through a number of systematic education and mentorship programs with sustained incentives and innovative training modalities with social safety net systems,” Gregorio said.

The SEARCA Director also expressed that young researchers must get themselves involved in more public value-driven research initiatives that are geared towards strengthening the welfare of their stakeholders.

He stressed that the key to communicate the plight of farmers from the nano or micro level of poverty to the policymakers is to strengthen the agricultural extension system of countries and conduct integrative studies exploring how to capacitate local government units and agencies.

“Inventions happen in universities or higher education institutions. Partnering with the industry and commercializing these is where innovation happens. Thus, innovation is the way of transferring research results into profits for economic, environmental, and social gains. In the end, let us all remember that what matters the most is building relationships,” Gregorio said.

The webinar series is part of Nanohubs, PCIEERD’s platform for nano-research and development, nano-education, and nano-entrepreneurship.

PCIEERD is one of the three sectoral planning councils of DOST mandated to serve as the central agency in the formulation of policies, plans, and programs as well as in the implementation of strategies in the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors.

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