SEARCA boosts research skills of HEI researchers, faculty

The project titled "Leveling Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR)," which was funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), was concluded last March 11.

The project was spearheaded by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca). It was a 10-week Online Training Course on Research Designs and Methods for Higher Education Institutions (Research4HEIs) via the Searca Online Learning and Virtual Engagements or Solve platform.

There were 18 mid to junior faculty members, researchers and education leaders from 16 State Universities and Colleges-Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines (SUC-ACAP) Inc. member-institutions from across the Philippines that attended the training-workshop.

With scientific research as one of the mandates of SUCs, Searca said the training course aims to enhance the capacity of faculty members and researchers of HEIs in coming up with well-planned research designs and methods to generate evidence effectively and efficiently.

Participants were expected to design a research proposal ready for submission as the end-result of the online training.

Dr. Edgardo Tulin, Visayas State University president and concurrent SUC-ACAP president, emphasized the importance of having a good understanding of how to develop a vigorous research design that is internally and externally valid, and the use of appropriate analytical methods as critical factors in attaining high-quality research.

He also expressed his appreciation that the training course has included interesting and relevant topics that are important for junior researchers when conducting research.

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, Searca director, also emphasized that the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted fast-evolving food systems and its effect in changing the landscape of agriculture education.

Gregorio challenged each participant to stay focused and be able to demonstrate the ability of higher education institutions to be creative and innovative in crafting their research agenda.

Dr. Maria Ana Quimbo, professor of the Institute of Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), served as the technical coordinator and lead faculty of the online training course.

According to Quimbo, the 10-week online training course was designed to build the participants' capacity to develop a research framework focusing on their objectives/hypotheses based on their knowledge of the situations/conditions under which they are to conduct their research.

She highlighted that the major output of Research4HEIs is a Re-entry Action Plan or REAP that includes developing a research proposal that provides the participant an opportunity to apply the learnings and skills gained for which he/she will receive constructive and academic feedback.

This online training was organized and coordinated by Searca's Education and Collective Learning Department-Training for Development Unit with assistance from its Management Information Systems Unit.