SciCommPh, SEARCA forge partnership to promote S&T research, innovations

THE Science Communicators Philippines Inc. (SciCommPh) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) teamed up to promote the outputs of science and technology (S&T) research, development and innovations in agriculture.

SciCommPh Chairman Angelo B. Palmones and SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) to communicate and even "laymanize" S&T innovations to the public.

Under the MOU, SEARCA and SciCommPh will undertake programs, projects and activities to promote S&T as a game-changer in social and economic development by highlighting their relevance and practical use in the lives of Filipinos.

SciCommPh officers and members and SEARCA officers and staff attended the virtual signing ceremony on September 4.

SEARCA Deputy Director, Associate Professor Joselito G. Florendo and SciCommPh President Atty. Melvin G. Calimag signed as witness for their respective organization.

Gregorio emphasized the role of SEARCA and the media in translating intricate research findings into easily digestible forms, allowing for an effective transmission of evidence-based knowledge to a wider audience.

"This concerted effort would significantly enhance understanding among the general public," Gregorio said as SEARCA signed its first MOU with a media organization.

He pointed out the importance of collaboration in communicating S&T, citing its significance in the current program of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Pagtanaw 2050, in which SEARCA is involved in National Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization and Industrialization Plan.

Palmones, for his part, said the collaboration will "immensely contribute to the development and adoption of innovative products and processes in agriculture that are not only viable but also sustainable."

He said SciComm—an organization of scientists, science journalists and science communicators—recognizes that science is "the key to solving most of the pressing problems of the country."

"SciCommPh is committed to communicate the value of R&D and its products to the public, and ultimately pave the way toward evidence-based mindset, decision-making, technology adoption, and the development of a science culture," he explained.

Palmones acknowledged, however, the "daunting task to mainstream [these] game changing innovations" and "develop enabling policies to support R&D, S&T human resources development and retention, and science education."

"With SEARCA and SciCommPh working together, we hope to find better ways of reaching out to the stakeholders of the various processes and outputs of agricultural research," he said.

In doing so, their beneficiaries will understand that "the products of the works of our scientists in biotechnology, genomics, plant breeding and horticulture, animal science, and other disciplines contribute to attaining food security in the country and the whole of the Southeast Asian region."

Through the collaboration, he added, SciCommPh commits to work with SEARCA in capacity-building, media networking, communication research and media studies, and other related areas.

Soon after the MOU was signed, SEARCA Project Director Jerome Cayton C. Barradas announced the partnership's first project, "Media Briefing on the Status of Biotechnology in the Philippines."

With Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines and ISAAA Inc. as partners, the forum on research-based agricultural technology was held onsite at SEARCA Drilon Hall in College, Los Baños, Laguna, and online via Zoom on September 8.