Role of HEIs, R&D priorities in food security during pandemics cited

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) came up with a paper discussing the critical role of higher education institutions to undertake research and development initiatives that contribute to food security during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Authors Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Searca director, and Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Operations Consultant for Emerging Innovation and Growth, also of Searca, said there is a needed transformative change in the agricultural food systems would stem right at the hallowed halls of the universities and colleges.

Titled “Food security amid the COVID-19 pandemic: research and development priorities for Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines and Southeast Asia” has been published in the Central Mindanao University Journal of Science Volume 23, Issue 2 on 2 July 2020.

A peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal accredited by the Commission on Higher Education, the Journal publishes research outputs in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and social sciences from local, national, and international contributors.

In the paper, the authors noted the strategic position of HEIs to pursue projects and initiatives related to food security and their agility in designing their curricular and extension programs to produce professionals who can actively engage in achieving food security goals.

They explained that as agriculture remains a major engine of economic development in most Southeast Asian countries, HEIs are expected to up the ante in knowledge generation and scientific productivity.

To afford a systemic change in the agriculture sector, they said there is also a need to reorient the agricultural research themes and modalities already in place from a business perspective

“A country like the Philippines needs an adequate cadre of researchers who appreciate the need to shorten the gap between research productivity and its translation to economic development,” Dr. Gregorio and Dr. Ancog said.

“Challenges in terms of research funding due to COVID-19 is already imminent but innovations in fiscal and research implementation abound,” he added.

“At the current scenario, various modalities of Academe-Industry-Government interconnectivity models need to be explored so it can be customized to their specific needs,” Dr. Gregorio said.

They also said HEIs can do aspire to contribute beyond---toward an economic development that is sustainable, inclusive, environment-friendly, and most importantly resilient to current and future pandemics.

“Publishing our work in the CMU Journal of Science is SEARCA’S way to show support to the journals of state universities and colleges,” Dr. Gregorio said..