3 DOST scientists vie for the prestigious Newton Prize PH

January 29, 2020


Cutting edge research will define who among the five Filipino scientists, three of whom are funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will snatch the prestigious Newton Prize Award come 28 January 2020 to be held at the equally upscale Manila Polo Club in Makati City. The event is being hosted by the British Embassy Manila.

The Newton Prize Philippines celebrates the partnership of the United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Philippines as well as the success of the Newton Agham rPogramme. This initiative that started in 2014 supports British and Filipino researchers and institutions that work together to develop science, technology, and innovation solutions to pressing problems in their respective countries.

There are 17 Newton countries and the Newton Prize 2019 countries include China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The Newton Prize is a 1 million pound-fund that recognizes the excellent research and innovation works in various disciplines like food security, health, and waste management that is aligned with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

At the start, there were 20 Newton Prize applications from the Philippines that was trimmed down to five after passing through rigorous evaluation by the Newton Prize judges made up of experts from the UK and the 2019 countries together with feedbacks from expert peer reviewers.

Four finalists are competing for the Newton Prize Philippines Award while one finalist will be competing with the other countries’ nominees for the coveted Newton Chair’s Prize. The first award will be given the prize of up to 200,000 pounds per country while the Newton Chair’s Prize has up to 500,000 pounds to be awarded to the project proposal that best demonstrates knowledge and partnership working. The winner for the latter will be announced in the Newton Prize London on 12 February 2020.

One of the three nominees whose projects were funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development and its counterpart in the UK, UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, are Professor Michael Angelo Promentilla from De La Salle University and Dr. Devendra Saroj from University of Surrey. Their project is titled “Water-Energy-Nutrient Nexus in the Cities of the Future”. The entire Philippine Team also included Professor Aileen Huelgas-Orbecido, Dr. Arnel Beltran, Engineer Carla Mae Pausta, and Professor Luis Razon.

The next nomineesare Dr. Fe Espino from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and Professor Chris Drakely from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with their research project titled “ENSURE: Enhanced surveillance for control and elimination of malaria in the Philippines”. The entire team is composed of the following: Dr. Jennifer Luchavez, Dr. EdelwisaSegubre-Mercado, Ma. Lourdes Macalinao, Inez Andrea Medado, Alison Paolo Bareng, Ralph Reyes, BeaulahBoncayao, Ellaine de la Fuente, HenneseySabanal, and Christian Anthony Luna. The research project is funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and UKRI Medical Research Council.

The third, a nominee for the Newton Chair’s Prize, is composed of JopethRamis from the Technological Institute of the Philippines and Professor Felicity Rose from the University of Nottingham with their project titled “Tissue engineering of bronchi in health and sickness: assessing the effect of matrix stiffening on cellular changes in the airways”. Their work is jointly funded by the DOST-Science Education Institute and the British Council.

The other two nominees are funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) together with the UKRI Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The first is titled “Low-cost Portable Molecular Diagnostic Platform for Rapid Detection of Poultry Infectious Pathogens (LMDP) by Dr. Dennis Umali from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and Professor Wamadeva Balachandran from Brunel University London. The second is titled “Using genomics to trace Salmonella transmission and antimicrobial resistance in the poultry and swine food chains in Metropolitan Manila” by Professor Windell Rivera from the Natural Sciences Research Institute of the University of the Philippines Manila and Professor Taane Clark from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Since its inception, this will be the first time for the Newton Prize Philippines to be held in the country to showcase the best research or innovation that promotes economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries. The application process was administered by the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) in London by appointment from the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Aside from the DOST and DA, the other Newton Agham Partner is the Commission on Higher Education.  (S&T Media Service)




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