The Balik Scientist Program

Patriotism is being inculcated among Filipinos as early as childhood years. This is the same patriotism spirit Filipinos who left the country bring with them which encourages them to go back and serve our country. Through the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts are encouraged to return to the country and share their expertise in order to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of our human capital in science, technology and innovation.

Balik Scientist’s Journey to Digital Health Start-up Reaches Communities, Academe, and the Private Sector




A quick acceleration of UP Manila’s newly launched digital health startup served as the highlight of Dr. Arnulfo Rosario Jr.’s visual Exit Report Presentation last April 22, closing his third engagement with the DOST-Balik Scientist Program.

The start of the program with the opening remarks delivered by Dr. Jose Joven V. Cruz validated the success of Dr. Rosario’s engagement with the concretization of UP College of Medicine’s virtual campus, which had then become envy for other colleges in the UP System.

Thereafter Dr. Cruz’s message was Dr. Rosario’s ERP proper, where he started to narrate his journey.

Dr. Rosario’s passion for public health informatics started through the Association of Public Health Conference that was held in the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where he became the first Filipino fellow in CDC.

Not only did Dr. Rosario made the Filipino proud through his specialization in public health informatics but he was also the one who introduced Filipino movies to Netflix.

It was not long when Dr. Rosario returned to the Philippines, his first engagement with the Balik Scientist was in 2018 with the National Telehealth Center, while his second engagement was with the UP College of Medicine in which he focused on the college’s digital transformation.

The ERP held was his third engagement that focused on public health, medical informatics, and making eHEALTH a reality in the Philippines through two startup companies – Pivotal Peak and SeeYouDoc.

Not only did the local and private hospitals adopted the telemedicine application but also students, private businesses such as PLDT, and several restaurants, further Dr. Rosario made sure that these institutions’ human resources were properly capacitated in using the said technology through online training.

More so, the telemedicine application also reached the community through a home-based teleconsult as well as the frontlines at home that resulted in a Tagalog presentation of the application that helped kasambahays on COVID-19 care.

Dr. Rosario also improved the UP College of Medicine’s web portal with additional features such as the Manage Theses making it the total package of a one-stop-shop website, he also trained doctors, interns, and students to properly utilize the website.

The presentation of accomplishments concluded with Dr. Rosario’s plan with his host institution which is to maintain the UPCM’s website, strengthen linkage with stakeholders, and establish stronger network and linkages.

“Isipin natin yung mga kababayan natin sa Pilipinas. I am destined to the Philippines because I wanted to help. Let’s help each other,” Dr. Rosario answered when he was asked his advice to potential Balik Scientists during the open forum.

Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development ended the ERP with the challenge for the country to be competitive in the medical field and that the role of Balik Scientists is to help the country recover. He wished the program more success and collaborations.

Cheaper and More Accessible Treatment for Diabetes Mellitus:

On the Road to Revolutionize the Health Sector




Dr. Alfredo C. Acosta, a short-term Balik Scientist led the discussion of intestinal magnets as an alternative treatment for diabetes on his exit report presentation conducted last 10 March 2021, through Zoom Web Conferencing.

With a maximum peak of 103 participants, the event commenced as Dr. Jamie C. Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health, Research and Development cited the Philippines as one of the countries with the highest rate of diabetes mellitus. Further, he thanked Dr. Acosta for initiating the discovery of an alternative treatment to diabetes through his engagement to the Balik Scientist Program (BSP).

Dr. Acosta’s presentation proceeded as he was introduced by Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de La Paz, Executive Director of his host institution, the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UPNIH).

Insulin injections and weight loss surgery are some of the existing treatments being used in the country as narrated by Dr. Acosta.

The problem with the existing treatments as mentioned is that some medical facilities located in the provinces are not equipped to conduct surgeries hence, treatment is not accessible to the patients. This also resulted in an additional cost for transportation. With this, the research about the anastomosis magnets emerged with the hope of an increased survival rate of diabetic patients.

Currently, the use of magnets has been extensively studied and according to Dr. Acosta, the research needs to be validated through animal experiments and subsequently be tested through clinical trials. Therefore, bridges between veterinarians at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños College of Veterinary Medicine and bioengineers and doctors of UP Philippine General Hospital shall be created.

Also, during Dr. Acosta’s engagement with the BSP, the Animal Surginnovation Laboratory (ASL) construction proceeded after the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) has been lifted in Metro Manila and is expected to be functional at the end of the year.

As the event moved forward, Dr. Acosta along with Dr. Cutiongco-de La Paz, Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla, and Dr. Teddy Herbosa established way forwards to further strengthen research in the Philippines, one of which is a biotech park that will be established in UP Manila to cover research commercialization of health innovations and to protect the intellectual property of researchers.

Dr. Acosta’s certificate of appreciation was then awarded by Dr. Rohani Cena-Navarro, a Research Faculty in UPNIH.

The event ended as Dr. Padilla encouraged everyone most especially the youth to continue dreaming for a heart of a Filipino is to serve its countryfolks.

Within 76 days, Balik Scientist Dr. Laurence Delina makes life-changing Energy Transition Reserve Engagements at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP)




A virtual exit presentation showcasing transformative engagements served as a page turner to Balik Scientist Awardee, Dr. Laurence L. Delina’s short engagement to the Balik Scientist Program (BSP), conducted through Cisco Webex and broadcasted live through Dr. Delina’s host institution, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP)’s Facebook Page, last March 4, 2021.

The hope in hosting more Balik Scientist in USTP highlighted Dr. Ambrosio B. Cultura’s opening remarks as he acknowledged that collaborations such as the BSP help to uphold the university’s vision.

Dr. Delina’s recommending council, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology (PCIEERD), the Executive Director, Dr. Enrico Paringit mentioned that one of the notable accomplishments that PCIEERD have is that through the program’s goal in bringing back Filipino Scientists from other countries.

The Five Activities

The presentation of exit report covered Dr. Delina’s five activities that produced notable outputs accelerating the energy sector of USTP

First activity covered the planning for a community energy transition demonstration facility, especially in terms of new technologies, within the university’s Science and Technology Park at the Alubijid (AGILA) Campus. This included eight (8) meetings and discussions with USTP’s faculty and researchers that helped utilized the entire campus as a site for the sociotechnical energy transition community and as a training and extension facility introducing concept of energy transfer.

Through the first activity, Dr. Delina drafted nine policy recommendations such as:

    1. A law allowing, supporting, and nudging Filipino households to deploy, install, and maintain solar home PV systems through capacity building, capital financing, and progressive tariff rates;

    2. Revise the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and realign/adapt its mechanisms to the new realities of low-cost wind and solar, and the country’s ocean and geothermal tariff rates;

    3. A complementary law to make energy systems resilience part and parcel of disaster and risk reduction programs;

    4. LGUs including barangays, should adopt energy transition as a key policy in their jurisdictions;

    5. Energy transition should be institutionalized in education;

    6. Energy resilience should be made part and parcel of energy transition policy;

    7. Future adaptations must be included in the planning of energy systems;

    8. Energy resilience should be incorporated in disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction plans; and

    9. LGUs should strengthen opportunities for community participation in energy transition.

Dr. Delina’s second activity was meetings with USTP’s faculty members and researchers in order to assist funding for energy sufficiency and energy transition projects and community energy that is demonstrated in Southern Philippines.

As for the third activity, Dr. Delina mentored Dr. Liezl M. Jabile and Engr. Rosalie Virtudes which are faculty members of USTP on energy transition research.

Dr. Delina also developed elective and special courses on sustainable energy transition that can be offered by USTP which marked his fourth activity.

Finally, his fifth activity involved two public lectures on sustainable and just energy transition, community energy, and energy resiliency in Southern Philippines.

Way-Forward after the BSP Engagement

USTP assured the stakeholders to forward Dr. Delina’s policy recommendations through collaborations with Cagayan de Oro’s representative to the congress.

Dr. Delina also encouraged LGUs to adopt the demonstration facility established at USTP, he also wished to continue rapport with the BSP since his goal is to be a long-term Balik Scientist.

Dr. Ruby Raterta, the Chief Science Research Specialist of PCIEERD’s Human Resources and Institution Development Division awarded the certificate of recognition to Dr. Delina.

Final congratulations for a fruitful engagement closed the ceremony lead by the Chancellor of USTP Cagayan de Oro, Atty. Dionel O. Albina.

Balik Scientist Program 2020 Annual Convention launches online




As part of the Department of Science and Technology’s annual National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) for 2020, the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) conducted an online forum with the theme “Balik Scientists: Kabalikat sa Agham at Teknolohiya sa Pagharap ng Hamon sa Kalusugan, Kabuhayan, Kaayusan at Kinabukasan” last 17 November 2020 through zoom conferencing, broadcasted live through BSP’s facebook page.

The webinar commenced with Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Guevara’s welcome remarks. She emphasized how the program adopted alternative strategies and engagements during the pandemic. Undersecretary Guevera also acknowledged the Balik Scientist Awardees who volunteered in sharing their knowledge to combat the pandemic. Finally, she hoped for a productive webinar.

Following Undersecretary Guevera’s welcome remarks was DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña giving a brief history of the Balik Scientist Program – how it started in 1975 up until present.

Subsequently, three host institutions of the program delivered their testimonials emphasizing how the Balik Scientist Awardees made significant contributions within their organization. Dr. Laura David, director of the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) manifested that Balik Scientists helped in identifying gaps and how to address them. She mentioned that the Awardees focused on mentoring, publishing, training, and development of facility and database. On the other hand, Dr. Carlo Arcilla from the UP Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (UP-PNRI) mentioned that nuclear medicine can help the late diagnosis of cancer for the Filipino. This is being developed through the help of the awardees in their institution. Lastly, Dr. Eugenio Guhao from University of Mindanao demonstrated the engagements of the Balik Scientists in their university. Some of the engagements he mentioned are infrastructure programs, activated charcoal, characterization of nanomaterials, as well as trainings and workshops for Chemical Engineering students.

The highlight of the webinar was the three parallel sessions that discussed the New Normal for Education, New Normal for Health, and New Normal for Livelihood. In every session, five Balik Scientists conversed about the different adaptation engagements for each sector.

The New Normal for Education was facilitated by Balik Scientist Dr. Ryan Arevalo. The session started with Dr. Maryrose Salvador’s initiatives to education such as the Barrio Agham, Hackathon for Science Education, and Technofair. Next is Dr. Lawrence Limjuco’s discussion on the promotion of Material Science and Engineering amidst the isolation and remote learning through international collaborations. Dr. Jayvee Saco discussed how social media help the education sector through IEC Materials, video series, and online lecture series. Dr. Nikki Heherson Dagamac summarized three techniques adopted during the pandemic which are software utilization, virtual and home experiments, and modeling simulations. Last for this session was Dr. Gerard Dumancas that tackled strategies in mitigating COVID-19 in the education sector.

On the New Normal for Health was moderated by Balik Scientist Dr. Arnulfo Rosario. Dr. Thomas Neil Pascual, Dr. Romulo De Castro, Dr. Jhalique Jane Fojas, Dr. Fidela L. Moreno, and Dr. Joselito Quirino shared their knowledge towards the innovations for the sector. Some of the highlights of the discussion was how medical records were digitalized, effective data management, affordable medicines for the Filipino, and SARS Cov-2 diagnostic through microfluids.

New Normal for Livelihood was the last session facilitated by Balik Scientist Awardee Dr. Venecio Ultra. The first speaker for livelihood was Dr. Anthony Halog who tackled circular economy and bioeconomy for sustainable livelihood. Dr. Halog discussed potential products that can be derived from biomass. Dr. James Li discussed the impact center model. Dr. Roleda then shared his initiatives in enhancing seaweed productivity and novel strain selection to enhance livelihood outcomes for small-scale fisherfolk. Dr. Divina Amalin, on the other hand, manifested about how to sustainably develop and efficiently manage cacao. She also mentioned the development of extension materials such as modules, and field guide to insects, pests, and diseases. Lastly, Dr. Narceo Bajet presented about enhancing sweet potato productivity through the use of virus-free planting materials.

The Executive Director of DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology (DOST-PCIEERD), Dr. Enrico Paringit marked the webinar to its closing remark. He thanked everyone for their lively participation. Finally, Dr. Paringit hopes that online initiatives such as the annual convention will encourage more Filipino Scientists in serving the country through the program.

Balik Scientist COVIDeo Encounter and Website Launching




Pinoy students from Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, USA, Sweden, Canada, and Germany were gathered by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in a virtual conference to witness the unveiling of the improved Balik Scientist Program website last Saturday, 10 October 2020. The event enabled students to interact with Balik Scientists and find out about the program’s contribution on the Philippines fight against COVID-19.

“The Balik Scientist Program has been instrumental in progressing science and technology especially in areas where we have limited local expertise,” shares DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña. “Even with the pressing conditions brought about by the pandemic, our Balik Scientists continue to serve and impart their expertise to the country.”

The Balik Scientist Program (BSP) continues to uphold its goal to strengthen the scientific and technological human resources of the academe, public and private institutions including locally registered enterprises to promote knowledge sharing and accelerate the flow of new technologies.

Three Balik Scientists imparted their experiences to Pinoy scholars during the event. All capturing the different sectors such as agriculture, health and industry. Though the Balik Scientist – Dr. Nelzo Ereful, Dr. Jonel Saludes, and Dr. Annabelle Vilallobos likewise imparted their contribution on the country’s fight against COVID-19 even beyond their Balik Scientist Engagements.

“It is our hope that in the coming years, we will be able to achieve greater heights by bringing home more scientists based abroad and help enhance the expertise and resources that we have here,” says Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara. “Through the program, we envision that more Filipinos would opt to stay home and pursue their career here, with the mission of caring for and providing better solutions for our fellow Filipinos. The R&D of Balik Scientists will make change happen for the betterment of our country.”

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON



Balik Scientist Dr. Cynthia Goh's first engagement started in 2008. She has continued to be a Balik Scientist in the succeeding years (2009,2017,2020). Dr. Goh is an expert on Physical Chemistry with a diverse set of research interests, including fundamental studies of complex systems biomaterials, interfaces, probe microscopy, the development of new research instrumentation and nanotechnology. She invented the technique of diffraction-based sensing, a highly sensitive approach for the detection of biomolecules with applications in medical diagnostics and in drug discovery. The video presents her work in helping her hometown in Palawan.

22 APRIL 2019 -- Balik Scientists Engr. Antonio Reyno and Engr. Vicente DyReyes pay a courtesy visit to PCIEERD...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Monday, April 22, 2019

Get to know our Balik Scientists! During her visit to DOST PCIEERD, University of Bremen guest scientist Dr. Deborah...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Thursday, March 28, 2019

Dr. Jorge A. Lubguban, a DOST Balik-Scientist Program (BSP) grantee, delivered his exit presentation yesterday at the...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Monday, April 1, 2019

Get to know our Balik Scientists! During his visit to DOST PCIEERD, Curtin University Lecturer Dr. Richard Alorro...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Thursday, March 21, 2019

25 March 2019 -- Balik Scientist Dr. Amador Muriel pays a courtesy visit to PCIEERD Executive Director, Dr. Enrico C....

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Monday, March 25, 2019

18 March 2019 -- Balik Scientist Dr. Jorge A. Lubguban pays a courtesy visit to PCIEERD Deputy Executive Director, Engr....

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Monday, March 18, 2019

20 MARCH 2019 -- The Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) held the first DOSTkusyon: Science for the...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Thursday, March 21, 2019

Get to know our Balik Scientists! During his visit to DOST PCIEERD, Stanford University post-doctoral fellow Dr. Daniel...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Thursday, March 14, 2019

16 MARCH 2019 -- DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technical Services Dr. Carol M. Yorobe talked about the Balik...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Sunday, March 17, 2019

BALIK SCIENTIST DR. RICHARD ALORRO VISITS DOST-PCIEERD


Last January 22, Balik Scientist Dr. Richard Alorro paid a courtesy visit to PCIEERD Executive Director, Dr. Enrico Paringit.

Dr. Alorro is an expert in Geo-Environmental Engineering. He is hosted by the Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), where he will be conducting special seminars and lectures to undergraduate and post-graduate students, academic staff members, and government and industry representatives, together with other universities in Mindanao. He will also be assisting the MSU-IIT College of Engineering and Technology in mentoring graduate and senior undergraduate students on research and development of Metallurgical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Sustainable Development.

Dr. Alorro is currently a university lecturer at the Western Australian School of Mines in Curtin University, West Australia.

The Balik Scientist Program (BSP) is a brain-gain initiative of the Department of Science and Technology to encourage Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts in other countries to return to the Philippines and share their expertise to accelerate scientific, agro-industrial, economic, and human resources development in the country. For more info, visit www.bsp.dost.gov.ph.




20 February 2019 -- Balik Scientist Dr. Ryan G. Banal pays a courtesy visit to PCIEERD Executive Director, Dr. Enrico...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

BALIK SCIENTIST DR. DANIEL IBARRA KICKS OFF THE UP-NIGS 2019 LECTURE SERIES


17 JANUARY 2019 -- To kick off the 2019 UP NIGS (National Institute of Geological Sciences) Lecture Series, Balik Scientist Dr. Daniel Ibarra of Stanford University gave a talk entitled, "The Influence of Erosion, Lithology, and Plants on Weathering."

Dr. Ibarra is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Geological Sciences in Stanford University. He is hosted by UP NIGS and is currently a part of the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of DOST.

The Balik Scientist Program (BSP) is a brain-gain initiative to encourage Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts in other countries to return to the Philippines and share their expertise to accelerate scientific, agro-industrial, economic, and human resources development in the country. For more info, visit www.bsp.dost.gov.ph.






Ngayong araw, ating silipin ang kaganapan sa Tela Conference ng DOST - Philippine Textile Research Institute! Ano nga ba...

Posted by DOSTv on Wednesday, February 6, 2019

10 January 2019 -- Balik Scientist Dr. Daniel Ibarra pays a courtesy visit to PCIEERD Executive Director, Dr. Enrico...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Thursday, January 10, 2019

17 JANUARY 2019 -- To kick off the 2019 UP NIGS (National Institute of Geological Sciences) Lecture Series, Balik...

Posted by DOST PCIEERD on Thursday, January 17, 2019

BALIK SCIENTIST PROGRAM

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