DOST-ASTI’s Technology Licensing Office holds its first Regional Stakeholders’ Meeting
By Jervic Perlas
Participants crowded the function room amidst rainy weather in Tagbilaran City, Bohol where the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI)’s Technology Licensing Office (TLO) held its first Regional Stakeholders’ Meeting as part of its technology transfer initiatives. Carrying the theme “Bridging Technology and People,” the event showcased DOST-ASTI-developed Advanced Remote Data-Acquisition Unit (arQ), and designed Automated Weather Stations (AWS). Such event was organized in order to transfer aforesaid technologies to the private sector for the maintenance of previously deployed stations, which are outputs from various Research and Development (R&D) projects, and to install more stations whenever necessary in certain remote areas around the Philippines, especially in the typhoon-battered Visayas.
“Our [technologies] can compete with the quality, performance, and accuracy… of those technologies from outside the country,” Engr. Edilberto Paradela, Regional Director of the DOST Region VII said in his opening remarks. He highlighted the importance of the data gathered from almost 500 deployed stations in the Visayas during recent typhoons like Urduja and Yolanda. “Flooding is still a perennial issue, and assessment using weather data from the AWS is essential,” he added.
“Bridging technology and people has been the primary goal of the DOST-ASTI TLO, as we want the research be utilized not only by technical people who needs scientific data but also by our fellow citizens, who are the primary end-users of this research,” said Ms. Maria Irene Amatorio, Technology Transfer and Business Development Officer of the ASTI-TLO. She discussed the objectives of the meeting in her opening remarks which covered topics on making technologies easier to be acquired and accessed by end-users by licensing private companies to reproduce them at an affordable price. Further, she mentioned, technology transfer also aims to promote the thriving success of the local business community which contributes to the growth of the local economy.
The event highlight was the presentation of DOST-ASTI technologies which are available for commercialization. Mr. Nash Prado, a technical staff from DOST-ASTI’s Solutions and Services Engineering Division, shared the history on the creation of said technologies. Among the reasons of its creation was due to the disaster caused by the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. This inspired the DOST-ASTI researchers in the development of the arQ and the different kinds of AWS. The creation of a locally-made data logger proved crucial in the successful deployment of the various weather stations. Over 2000 stations, which included the Automated Rain Gauge, Flood and Tsunami Alerting Stations, Water Level Monitoring and Tandem Stations, were among the installed technologies nationwide in less than a decade. Mr. Prado then presented data collected by the combination Rain Gauge and Water Level Monitoring Station during the landfall of typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines which affected Loboc, Bohol. A correlation between the peaks in the amount of rainfall and the sudden rise of the level of river water showed a simple and effective use of the gathered information. These data are freely available in the Philsensors website, a visualization tool also developed by the DOST-ASTI researchers. Mr. Prado added that Information and Education Campaigns and Trainings were conducted by DOST-ASTI for local government units and agencies. However, stations sometimes remain unmaintained. Some have components which were stolen, some became non-functional due to surrounding wild vegetation. These are challenges due to different factors, including funding, shortage of technical manpower, and the lack of local community involvement. A solution to the above mentioned challenge would be the licensing of these technologies to private companies, the protocol of which was discussed by Ms. Michaela Gonzales of the DOST-ASTI TLO up to the submission of the final Technology Licensing Agreement to the DOST Secretary-convened Fairness Opinion Board (FOB).
In addition to the topics discussed, a venture financing assistance program for the potential licensees and other interested small and medium enterprises (SMEs) businessmen who would want to invest on innovative and Philippine-developed technologies, was presented by Ms. Mylene Alano, Senior Science Research Specialist of DOST-TAPI’s Investment and Business Operations Division. Independent private meetings were held after the presentations until the following day with interested technology adoptors–from Bohol, Cebu, and Manila. With the guidance of the DOST’s legal consultant, Atty. Lucieden Raz, the commercial terms and requirements in licensing the arQ and AWS were discussed.
The DOST-ASTI TLO event was held with the support from the DOST-TAPI, the DOST-Bohol Provincial Science and Technology Center, and the DOST Region VII from November 12 to 13, 2018 at the Belian Hotel in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, prior to the opening event of the Regional Science and Technology Week on November 14, 2018. Attendees were mostly from the following fields: Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) officers, non-governmental organizations, and heads of locally-based engineering and electronics business coming from the Visayas and Manila.
Photos by Anichie Itoh of the DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute.