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DOST-PCHRD-supported projects empower communities and health innovators towards tech utilization
Supported projects of the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), PUGAD and University Innovation Fellows (UIF) for Health, shared their efforts in assisting communities and health innovators in pursuing technology utilization in the Talakayang HeaRT Beat on 24 May 2023 held on Zoom and Facebook live.
The latest episode of the DOST-PCHRD press conference series highlighted the Technology Transformation and Empowerment of Knowledge Generators and Innovators or TEKI in Health Program which supports technology utilization through community adoption or creation of spin-off companies.
Launched in 2021, TEKI in Health offers three tracks of assistance which focus on: 1) business incubation for health research technologies where health innovation ideas are validated, incubated, and nurtured until ready for adoption by intended end-users; 2) community-based incubation for delivery of healthcare innovations which helps implement innovations in health care delivery in the community-level, embodying the principles of universal health care; 3) and supporting innovators from health institutions in developing their technologies and in linking them with potential partners for eventual transfer, adoption, or commercialization through its HeaRTNovation Hubs component.
“These three tracks, although focusing on different stakeholders, are all equally very important,” said DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya. “The Council aims to engage both our communities and researchers in creating and bringing technologies to address healthcare needs,” he added.
Joined by Dr. Montoya, representatives of the PUGAD Project Dr. Cynthia Goh and the University Innovation Fellows for Health Dr. Luis Sison shared their insights on technology generation and utilization in connection with their respective projects.
L-R, from upper row: Dr. Karell Calpito and session moderator, DOST-PCHRD S&T Fellow; Dr. Cynthia Goh, representative of the PUGAD Project and Professor of Chemistry, University of Toronto; Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director, Dr. Luis Sison, project leader of the University Innovation Fellows for Health and Director of the UP Technology Transfer and Business Development Office during the Talakayang HeaRT Beat Forum with the media.
The PUGAD Project, implemented by the PPS Innovations Inc. under the leadership of Dr. Josefina Goh-Cruz, is the pioneering community hub project under the TEKI in Health Program. It empowers locals in Puerto Princesa, Palawan to cultivate ideas and generate health technologies that will address the community’s needs. Some of the technologies the project has worked on alongside the community is a malaria surveillance tool and a virtual library that can be accessed offline, which are now already being used by the locals.
“The way we do PUGAD is we start with the user and try to understand, and involve the community in figuring out what the community needs,” said Dr. Cynthia Goh, emphasizing how PUGAD is different from the usual research process which starts from the lab going to users. “And then [we] help the people develop the technology that answers their needs.” she added.
To date, the project has conducted Youth TechnoFair as well training activities including training on intellectual property.
On the other hand, the UIF, led by Dr. Luis Sison of the UPSCALE Innovation Hub, focuses on capacitating health researchers of DOST-PCHRD-supported projects in technology utilization. “Our key output is to prepare them and connect them to potential partners, clinical industry partners, for deployment and progression on the path of eventual scaling up,” said Dr. Luis Sison. Specifically, the project helps researchers determine the commercial readiness of their research, develop a technology transfer plan, and find a potential industry partner (for industry licensing) or prepare the venture team (for spinoffs).
To date, the UIF has supported a total of 13 projects, including DOST-PCHRD-supported projects dedicated to battling COVID-19 such as the Sanipod, CleanIntubate, and MyBESHIE.
Other projects supported by the TEKI in Health Program are the Inclusive Innovations for Localized eHealth Platforms: The Smarter and Integrated Local Health Information Systems (SMILHIS) which aims to assist local government units in the utilization of an interoperable platform for health information management at the local health system level, and the Science and Technology Enhancement Project for Upgrading of Potentials with Skills Enhancement towards Entrepreneurial-Mindset Development: Raising The Transfer Potentials of Health Technologies of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (STEP UP with SEED) which focuses on technology transfer activities for research outputs of the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI).
To watch a replay of the Talakayang HeaRTBeat episode featuring the TEKI in Health Program, visit: https://www.facebook.com/dostpchrd/videos/955640412128287.