scholarship program, knowledge management on R&D needed to advance innovation in PH – NEDA

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) continues to push for efforts on enriching Research and Development (R&D) to bolster the government’s efforts in advancing innovation in the country.

During a round table discussion on the research paper by Dr. Karl Robert Jandoc, Dr. Benjamin E. Radoc Jr., and associates titled: Productivity-enhancing Research and Development; Public Spending and Institutions held at the House of Representatives on January 31, 2024, NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Group Rosemarie G. Edillon emphasized the need for more R&D outputs and to make it more accessible to investors and markets.

“I remember an analogy I heard before…’When you do innovation, it’s like playing scrabble’. You only have so many blocks or letters to make a word, and those blocks of letters are your R&D outputs. So, if you have more of these ‘blocks’ of R&D, you can make more words — you can innovate more,” Edillon said.

The NEDA official said that one of the first steps to increase the number of R&D outputs is to increase the number of researchers. According to the Global Innovation Index, there are only 174 researchers per million population as of 2018.

“We will be pushing for a massive scholarship program to help us reach our target of 500 researchers per million population by 2028,” Edillon said.

She also acknowledged that while there are already a lot of R&D outputs available in the country, these are dispersed which makes it difficult for market players to access and utilize.

“Many would say ‘nagawa na ‘yan eh’ [someone has already done it] but the problem is no one knows about [it]. So, what’s important right now is having a good knowledge management system for R&D outputs and having platforms that tell innovators where they can find the outputs they need to innovate,” Edillon said.

Citing the National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document 2023-2032, Edillon added that there are other facets of a dynamic innovation ecosystem that also need to be developed to foster R&D and ultimately innovation.

“We need to create a culture of innovation, where innovators are constantly looking for ways to improve products and services whereas consumers are willing to try innovative products and provide constructive feedback,” Edillon said.

The NIASD 2023-2032 is a document that lays out the goals, roadmap, and strategies for enhancing innovation governance and establishing a dynamic innovation ecosystem in the country.