SEARCA awards outstanding academicians with Regional Professorial Chair Grants

  • 30 April 2020

searca awards outstanding academicians regional professorial chair grants 01

Los Baños, Laguna – SEARCA recognized six outstanding experts in the academe from 16 endorsed applications by different universities in Southeast Asia for the Regional Professorial Chair Grant. This award is given to those who Accelerate Transformation through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN) in Southeast Asia which was based on the Center’s 11th Five-Year Plan. All of the awardees have contributed greatly to agricultural innovation through their research and inventions. Among them, three came from Universiti Putra Malaysia, one from Kasetsart University in Thailand, and two from the Philippines, Mariano Marcos State University and Visayas State University respectively.

For the FY 2019-2020 award, the following grantees excelled in the priority areas of the 11th FYP such as Agri-Business Models for Increased Productivity and Income, Sustainable Farming Systems and Natural Resource Management, Food and Nutrition Security, Transformational Leadership for ARD, Gender and Youth Engagement in ARD, Enhanced ARD towards Climate Resilience, and Eco-Health/One-Health Applications to ARD:

Dr. Felix M. Salas is a Professor at the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, in Visayas State University, Philippines. Dr. Salas was awarded the grant in the field of Agricultural Chemistry and will lecture on “Innovative liquid nutrient formulations for improved yield and chemical characteristics of horticultural crops under an aggregate hydroponic system”. Dr. Salas obtained his PhD in Bio-Regulation Studies from Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan. He has been active in community engagements serving as resource person for trainings led by the Agricultural Training Institute and the Department of Agriculture Region 8 as well as in projects funded by FAO-UN, Climate Change Commission, and the Philippine Red Cross.

Dr. Norsida Man is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Agriculture Technology in Universiti Putra Malaysia. Dr. Norsida was awarded the grant in the field Agricultural Extension and Development and will discuss “The role of ICT-Driven tools and technologies to spread innovation for adaptation to climate change”. Dr. Norsida obtained her PhD in Agricultural Economics and Management from Kagoshima University, Japan. She specializes in agricultural extension, agriculture development and management, and economics and has led numerous projects related to these. Besides being a prolific researcher, she also holds a patent to the Questionnaire for Study on A Challenge on Farmers Preparedness against Flood and Natural Disasters to Develop Agriculture in East Coastal Malaysia.

Dr. Nazmi Mat Nawi is the Head of Laboratory of Farm Machinery, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, in Universiti Putra Malaysia. Dr. Nazmi was awarded the grant in the field of Agricultural Mechanization and Post-harvest Engineering and his lecture will be on “Enhancing crop production and sustainability through appropriate mechanization and automation technologies”. Dr. Nazmi finished his PhD in Agricultural Engineering at University of Southern Queensland, Australia and specializes in the areas of farm machinery design, post-harvest engineering, non-invasive assessment of fruit quality, and emergency response and planning. Besides his numerous publications, he also holds the Intelectual Property Rights on Integrated System for Processing Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches (OPEFBs).

Dr. Shuhaimi Mustafa is a Professor and the Director of Halal Products Research Institute in Universiti Putra Malaysia. Dr. Shuhaimi was awarded the grant in the field of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology. His lecture is on “Rapid DNA-based analytical techniques to verify the authenticity of Halal products”. Dr. Mustafa finished his PhD in Enzyme and Food Biotechnology at Universiti Putra Malaysia and has received multiple awards and Intellectual Property Rights for his research. As an inventor, he has also created commercialized products such as the Porcine DNA Test Kit and Thohira.

Dr. Anchasa Pramuanjaroenkij is an Associate Professor in Kasetsart University, Thailand. Dr. Anchasa was awarded the grant in the field of Agriculture and Food Engineering. Her lecture is on “Effects of global warming to agricultural food production in Thailand”. She obtained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Miami, USA and has published numerous journal articles, books, and book chapters in the fields of alternative energy, thermo-fluid sciences, nanofluids, solid oxide fuel cells, agriculture and food engineering. Dr. Anchasa is currently awaiting her patent on Raw Material Preparation Equipment for Communities Transforming Insects: An Oil Selaration and Meat Processing Machine for Sago Beetle Caterpillars.

Dr. Virgilio Julius P. Manzano Jr. is a Professor VI and Dean of Graduate School in Mariano Marcos State University, Philippines. Dr. Manzano was awarded the grant in the field of Precision Agriculture/Smart Farming and will lecture on “Mainstreaming and harnessing precision agriculture for sustainable and resilient Philippine agriculture”. A SEARCA Alumnus, he received his PhD in Agricultural Engineering from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Dr. Manzano then took his Post-Doctoral degrees in the field of Precision Agriculture, specifically on Seasonal Climate Forecasting and Crop Yield Prediction in Columbia University, New York and Agro-Informatics in University of Tokyo, Japan. His research is geared towards decision support in agriculture, agro-informatics, soil and water resources development conservation, irrigation and drainage, seasonal climate forecasting and crop yield prediction. Dr. Manzano likewise designs surface and pressurized irrigation systems.

To date, SEARCA has awarded 38 Regional Professorial Chair Grants to deserving individuals since academic year 2012/2013 as part of its mandate to contribute to the agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia and following the focus of the Center’s suceeding Five-Year Plans. Information about the grant and the past awardees are available at