DOST’s Three R&D Centers Help UN Pursue its Development Goals

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) unveiled three Niche Centers in the Regions (NICERs) on Monday to promote the UN’s Sustainable Cities and Communities goals. 

The DOST, through these NICERs, is providing possible R&D (research and development) interventions that will enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization, reduce the negative environmental impact of cities, reduce economic losses caused by natural disasters, and develop holistic policies and community plans in support of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

 Rizal Technological University (RTU) Center for Astronomy R&D has trained over 500 young scientists in the field of astronomy and space science in senior high schools and colleges in the NCR, as well as developing the Pollution Luminance or Pollux device to monitor light pollution. 

The center would develop a local policy for local government units based on these R&D efforts in partnership with the Philippine National Police, to reduce light pollution and energy consumption in cities and improve lighting in crime hotspots. 

The Mountain Engineering R&D Center of the University of the Cordilleras (UC) in Baguio City was also showcased for the mountainous communities. 

The center offers research and engineering solutions to help people avoid landslides and serious flooding. 

Through collaborative water resource management and governance, such efforts are expected to save an estimated PHP200 million per year in infrastructure damage due to mountain landslides, increase rice terrace agricultural production by 20%, and provide 2 million Cordillerans with sustainable clean water. 

Another NICER is the University of the Philippines Cebu’s Environmental Informatics R&D Center in Central Visayas, which will benefit the country’s forests and farming regions. 

The center has started work on a Cebu biodiversity atlas and has used microcontroller-based sensor devices to track mango pests and diseases. 

It has also created species distribution maps for 103 native species of flora and fauna, published biodiversity threat maps to track human settlement pressures on biodiversity richness, and generated surface water maps and groundwater potential maps for 46 Cebu municipalities, all to aid in the rehabilitation and reforestation efforts of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape.