BPI, DOST Award Young Outstanding Scientists

The 2016 batch of BPI-DOST Science Awardees pose with Ramon L. Jocson, Executive Vice President, BPI; Dr. Josette T. Biyo, Director of the Science Education Institute of DOST, and Faye A. Corcuera, Executive Director of BPI Foundation

MANILA, PHILIPPINES. The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) presented the Best Project of the Year Award to Jerome Alan S. Japitana, a BS-Chemistry student of the University of Santo Tomas at the 2016 BPI-DOST Science Awards, held at The Mind Museum, Taguig last April 5, 2016.

Also the winner Best in Basic Research Award, Japitana’s study “Using Non-Precious Materials in the Development of a Cost-Effective Cathode Catalyst for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells”, studied the use of cobalt to improve the efficiency of fuel cell performance. Fuel cells are a viable option for environmentally-sustainable and economically-feasible source of energy.

The Best in Applied Research Award winner Joselv E. Albano is a BS Biology student from Ateneo de Davao University. His project “Molecular Detection and Expression of merA and Mercury Reduction by Pseudomonas putida”, demonstrates the promising ability of the mercury-reducing bacteria in the bioremediation of contaminated areas. Bioremediation can be a less expensive and more efficient method of alleviating elemental mercury that pose a great danger to human health.

With the aim to generate and reinforce the interest of our youth to pursue science and technology as a career, BPI Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, launched the BPI-DOST Science Awards a decade ago to primarily inspire, recognize, and support the most outstanding young scientists and innovators from across the Philippines.

Against the backdrop of global warming and a climate-defined future, our theme for the search for the 2016 Best Science Project: “Engineering our Future through Environmental Sustainability” has resulted in the identification of 30 brilliant young scientists from 11 partner Universities whose research projects focus around the discovery and use of sustainable materials, solutions for agriculture, disaster mitigation, health, technology, and many more.

“Scientific research is critical to help meet the challenges for sustainable development as it lays the foundation for new approaches, solutions and technologies to identify, clarify and tackle global challenges for the future,” said Faye Corcuera, Executive Director of BPI Foundation.

She added: “This is precisely why, BPI through the BPI Foundation, supports the endeavor to encourage and recognize promising university students on the pursuit of their scientific research. Throughout our 165 year history, BPI takes its role in economic development to heart.  Thus, in our own way, through such advocacies and programs as the BPI-DOST Science awards, we commit to encourage our youth to pursue STEM education and scientific research and innovation as a means to sustainable development.”

Preceding the Awarding Ceremonies, a short Environmental Forum focused on “Engaging the Youth for Environmental Sustainability” took place to discuss the pressing environmental issued The Philippines currently deals with. The Panel included Atty. Gia Ibay, head of the Climate and Energy Programme of WWF Philippines, Tony Lambino, Head of Public Policy of Ayala Corporation and Carlo Delantar, Country-Director of Waves for Water Philippines. Moderated by Glenn Banaguas of the Environment and Climate Change Research Institute, the discussion tackled the delicate water, energy and food nexus, currently being threatened by effects of climate change.

Now on its 27th year, the BPI-DOST Science Awards has recognized over 800 outstanding science awardees from its partner universities nation-wide: Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Davao University, De La Salle University, MSU – Iligan Institute of Technology, Saint Louis University, Silliman University, University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Los Baños, University of San Carlos, University of Santo Tomas and Xavier University. Up to three exceptional students are selected per partner institution every year. An awardee is selected on the basis of his academic performance and must be nominated by the school.

Aside from the cash awards, all awardees went through a Technopreneurship Workshop facilitated by Maoi Arroyo, Ariel Lopez and John Christopher Orlina of Hybridigm, and her team last April 4, 2016, in the hopes of planting the seeds of entrepreneurship in young budding researchers and innovators as a career option.

BPI Foundation will be holding awarding ceremonies at the campuses of its partner universities in the months of April and May 2016 for the awardees to be locally recognized for their achievements and contributions to nation-building.

Please visit http://scienceawards2016.bpifoundation.org for more information on the speakers and the 2016 awardees.