UK Recognizes UP Scientists’ Contributions to Philippine Research and Development

Students using VISSER, a portable learning device CS Dean Giovanni Tapang helped commercialize (Photo credit:

By Harvey Sapigao

Pamela Louise Tolentino of UP Diliman College of Science National Institute of Geological Sciences (UPD-CS NIGS) and CS Dean Giovanni Tapang are among the Filipino scientists highlighted by the UK in their decadal recap of joint scientific achievements with the Philippines.

Since 2014, Filipino scientists have been collaborating with UK scientists through the scientific partnership between the two countries. In 2016, the Newton Agham Fund was launched, aimed at providing £3 million (about ₱180 million) of funds for key research projects in health and life sciences, environmental resilience, and energy security.

Tolentino is one of the lead investigators in their project examining where rivers flow and how they change landscapes. By understanding the geomorphological processes behind river systems, their work provides evidence-based solutions for a more effective flood risk assessment and planning. Tolentino and colleagues’ work is under the “Understanding the Impacts of Hydrometeorological Hazards in Southeast Asia Programme” and is funded through the Newton Agham Fund.

In 2016, Dean Tapang was a Leaders in Innovation Fellow, a program that trains and mentors scientists in bringing their inventions to the market. Last year, he spearheaded the commercialization of the Versatile Instrumentation System for Science Education and Research (VISSER), a portable learning device that allows students to conduct 120 experiments in chemistry, biology, environmental science, and physics. At the end of the year, the company distributed 43 VISSER units and generated ₱3.4 million in total revenue. Read the VISSER press release here.

“Every project should have collaboration and inclusion at its core to have impacts that last way beyond its lifetime,” said Tolentino in UK’s Science Snapshot. “I honestly believe that more than the outputs such as methods and data developed from the project, it is truly the conversations where the common goal of providing a better future for everyone that will drive the changes.”

To express interest in continuing the partnership, the UK and the Philippines held the first Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) at The Manila Peninsula Makati City on February 22, 2024. The JCM would now be held every two years to bolster cooperation between both parties.