UP professors, DOST-ASTI space team honored in Asia Innovation Awards for UN SDGs

UP professors DOST-ASTI  Asia Innovation Awards
Filipino honorees in the Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award program: Herman Dumpit Mendoza (Outstanding Innovation Award), Virginia Castillo Cuevas (Encouragement Award), Roel Mallari de la Cruz (Encouragement Award). Photos from Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award program.

Filipino researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), along with the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) space science and technology team have bagged top honors in the second Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Awards.

Three teams representing the Philippines with their research in innovative mining, sustainable agriculture, and space technology for watershed protection are among the twelve recipients of the 2021 edition of the ASEAN region award program which promotes science, technology, and innovation to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

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The Filipino-led teams competed amongst fellow Southeast Asian nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, in the second year of the award program which revealed winners on January 31, 2022.

Participants from universities and institutes were invited to submit research and development (R&D) achievements in science and technology that contribute to this year’s targets of Goal 14 “Life Below Water” and Goal 15 “Life on Land” of the SDGs.

The following are the Filipino honorees of the 2021 Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award program:

Herman Dumpit Mendoza
Outstanding Innovation Award

Professor Herman Dumpit Mendoza of the Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering of the College of Engineering at the University of the Philippines Diliman was honored as this year’s sole Filipino recipient of the Outstanding Innovation Award.

The UPD professor received the award for his research titled “Community-Led Integrated Non-Mercury Non-Cyanide Gold Extraction Method (CLINN-GEM) Technology for People’s Empowerment and Participation.”

CLINN-GEM was developed in continuous collaboration with small-scale mining communities and is a clean and sustainable gold mineral processing technology that wholly eliminates the use of mercury and cyanide. Beyond being safer and more eco-friendly, it also has a quicker processing time, a higher gold recovery rate, and has operating costs at par with traditional methods.

Mendoza’s research advocates green, responsible mining in the country, and is able to provide a source of livelihood to our small-scale miners without compromising their health and the state of the environment.

Virginia Castillo Cuevas
Encouragement Award

Dr. Virginia Castillo Cuevas from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and her colleagues Dr. Charina Gracia B. Banaay and Dr. Alfredo M. Sinohin won the Encouragement Award for their research titled “Trichoderma Technology for Sustainable Agriculture.”

The research aims to help small Filipino farmers whose livelihoods are most affected by events caused by global climate change, such as El Niño and La Niña, as well as strong typhoons.

The Trichoderma technology (TT) includes “activator for rapid decomposition of agricultural wastes and Trichoderma microbial inoculant (TMI) for crop growth promotion, biocontrol of crops’ diseases and biofertilizer.”

“The activator converts crop residues into compost, which enriches soil biota and improves soil physical and chemical properties. It endows the soil ecosystem with resiliency, especially during drought, by increasing soil water-holding capacity. TMI increases yield, although the use of chemical fertilizers is reduced by 50%, and with zero to minimal pesticide use. Trichoderma improves nutrient use efficiency, protects crops from diseases, and gives systemic resistance to pests,” the research description reads.

The benefits of the technology lead to the preservation of soil health and an increase in farmer incomes. Healthy soils, in turn, lead to healthy crops that feed healthy communities, increase farmer income, and improve quality of life.

Roel Mallari de la Cruz
Encouragement Award

The DOST-ASTI’s space science and technology team, led by engineer Roel Mallari de la Cruz, bagged the Encouragement Award for its research titled “Space-Based Management and Monitoring System for Watershed Protection.”

The research aims to “develop a satellite-based monitoring system for forest and watershed resource management that will enable access to innovation on technologies through remote sensing and geospatial analysis.”

Keeping pace with the SDGs, DOST-ASTI along with its partner agencies, forged a collaboration for data-gathering, data-sharing, strategic assessment, mapping initiatives, and forest and watershed preservation.

According to the DOST-ASTI, the partnerships seek to integrate hazard maps and EO data appropriate for forest and watershed monitoring, as well as aquaculture mappings such as the fishponds, fish cages, fish pens, seaweeds, oyster/mussels farm site management employing remote sensing and geospatial analysis.

The Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award is an award program launched in 2020 to promote science, technology, and innovation that contributes to solving social issues and realizing a sustainable society in the ASEAN region.

The program aims to achieve the United Nations’ SDGs and recognizes individuals and groups that served the public interest through their outstanding achievements in research and development, incorporating plans for social implementation of science and technology including their visions of an ideal future.

In 2021, three university teams from the Philippines won Haquathon 2.0 (H20), an ASEAN regional hackathon for tech-based solutions to save our seas.

In 2020, Filipino startup CirroLytix Research Services won the GEO Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Awards for applying Earth observations towards the achievement of the SDGs.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the Filipino researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman and the University of the Philippines Los Baños, along with the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute Space Tech Team for bagging top honors in the second Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award program.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.