Filipino scientists returning to Philippines honored as modern-day heroes

Filipino scientists modern-day heroes
The Department of Science and Technology is leading the Balik Scientist program to encourage overseas Filipinos to return and help the Philippines. DOST photo.

Filipino scientists returning to help the Philippines were honored as modern-day heroes during the National Heroes Day celebration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The DOST-Balik Scientist Program live stream of “BSP Talks” on August 30, 2022, aired on FB Live, presented testimonies from 10 local researchers who paid tribute to the scientist-returnees who are contributing to nation-building by nurturing, strengthening, and guiding the researchers in the implementation of their Research & Development and technology transfer initiatives.

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Some of these Balik Scientists were involved in planning the structure for the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Dr. Homer D. Pantua, an expert who is passionate about vaccine research for African Swine Fever (ASF), customized veterinary vaccines and diagnostics, and surveillance of food animal diseases and zoonotic diseases, was among the Balik Scientists that were featured.

Another Balik Scientist, Dr. Thaddeus Carvajal, who is an expert in vector biology and currently works on research that helps in curbing the incidence of dengue, is also one of the modern-day heroes.

Through the Balik Scientist Program (BSP), Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts are encouraged to return to the country and share their expertise in order to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of our human capital in science, technology, and innovation.

The BSP webinar served to promote the program to all potential countries abroad and was conducted in collaboration with members of the Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea, Inc. (PIKO).

The members showed the steps in preparing a Balik Scientist’s Terms of Reference (TOR) or the BSP Form 2 and submitting one’s BSP application.

The BSP Form 2 served as a reference for activities that will be done by the Balik Scientist that will assist and help the host institution through the conduct of R&D activities, seminars and lectures, teaching, and mentoring their local counterparts. Additionally, the document indicates specific and tangible outputs and the expected impact of a Balik Scientist’s engagement.

Aside from the competitive incentives and benefits provided to our Balik Scientists, the Balik Scientist Program also draws one-time incentive for Balik Scientists who had outstanding completion of engagement. This one-time incentive is not an outright grant but rather given to Balik Scientists upon evaluation of the National Academy of Science and Technology.

The program was established in 1975 to counteract the nationwide concern on “brain drain” or the emigration of highly trained professionals from our country, in search of a better standard or living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide.

For applications or inquiries about the Balik Scientist Program, you may email the BSP Secretariat at bsp@dost.gov.ph. Interested parties may also visit the BSP website at bsp.dost.gov.ph and the BSP Facebook Page.

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.