Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines and Switzerland may soon collaborate on several researches, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, de la Peña said he is hoping a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the research collaborations will be drafted early next year.

He said the DOST would need funds to finance the partnership.

“(The budget) will depend on the number of research partnerships. For example, there would be six projects a year at an average of PHP50 million per project, we would need around PHP300 million a year,” he said.

De la Peña added that Switzerland would also allocate budget for the research collaborations.

“They are (also) likely to sponsor the scholarships,” he said.

He said training of researchers and scientists are other targets for this partnership and the DOST would shoulder the flights and allowances of the researchers should there be a need to go to Switzerland.

“Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, meetings are being held virtually, just like for UK and Philippines research partners in the Newton-Agham program,” de la Peña said.

The DOST chief said he met with Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen on November 16 to discuss strengthening science, technology, and innovation cooperation between the two countries.

The DOST, he said, expressed commitment to pursue research and development (R&D) on nutritional genomics, virology, disaster-resilient infrastructure, naval infrastructure, smart agriculture, among others.

“(These are) problems of common interest. For example, in engineering geology, a research on landslides (can be) done in both countries, and we learn from each country’s findings or observations. Same on nutritional genomics,” he explained.

De la Peña said he is eyeing the public university, ETH Zurich, for partnerships in science and engineering, and Lausanne for partnerships in bio sciences.

European research organization, CERN, would be considered for partnerships in high energy physics, while pharmaceutical firm, Novartis, may likely accommodate internships, he said. (PNA)

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