Young Filipino researchers hone expertise to compete for $20K grants

Competing for $20,000 grants, young Filipino researchers joined their contemporaries from Indonesia and Vietnam in a recent mentorship workshop that helped them improve their proficiency in crafting research proposals.

According to Dr. Glenn Gregorio, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) director, the mentorship workshop was convened by SEARCA in partnership with the Sweden-based International Foundation for Science (IFS).

'With the long view of improving the quality and effectiveness of research in agriculture and food systems, the workshop is an integral part of the IFS-SEARCA Mentorship Program for Advance Grants for individual and collaborative research initiatives that will contribute to solutions in times of crisis such as the global pandemic," Gregorio said.

Dr. Nighisty Ghezae, IFS director, noted that "the pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses in the global food system, the risks of excessive agri-food value chain specialization and concentration, and the need for built-in redundancy as systemic insurance in the face of natural and manmade shocks that scientists expect will grow in frequency and severity in the years ahead."

Gregorio said the IFS-SEARCA partnership for the mentorship program was to help strengthen the research processes of established scientists and early-career researchers and intends to ensure that their projects are of high quality and produce useful results.


Affirming this, Ghezae said to help address growing problems like the Covid-19 pandemic, IFS and SEARCA initiated the Call for Research on Food Security in Southeast Asia which focused on initiatives that contribute to solutions or provide evidence in support of food security policy and programming during this time of global pandemic, economic and social crisis.

Dr. Pedcris Orencio, SEARCA program head for Research and Thought Leadership, said the workshop participants are IFS-SEARCA grant applicants who passed the pre-screening and have been recommended for continued consideration for funding support of up to $20,000.

Orencio said the workshop particularly on current issues in agriculture, food systems, and climate change as well as discussions on research concepts, approaches, designs, methods, and data analysis helped the participants refine their research proposals.

He said also discussed in the workshop include expectations and skills associated with advanced research to prepare them for future engagement in the global mission to fight food insecurity, reduce poverty and support sustainable development.

According to SEARCA, presentations by the participants, featuring lessons they learned and how they plan to reflect these in their research proposal revisions, capped the virtual workshop which ran on June 15 to 21.