Filipino researchers have once again proven their excellence after bagging top honors at one of Asia’s most prestigious science and technology award-giving bodies. 

Researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) space science and technology team took home a handful of awards at the second Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Awards, which released its list of winners on January 31, 2022.

The country’s crop of science inquisitors, who were recognized for their research on innovative mining, sustainable agriculture, and space technology for watershed protection, were among only 12 recipients of the 2021 iteration of the ASEAN-wide event, which aims to promote science, technology, and innovation to reach United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The delegation bested other Southeast Asian nation participants from various institutions and universities who 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.

Here are the winners: 

  • Herman Dumpit Mendoza – Outstanding Innovation Award

Photo from Hitachi Global Foundation

Professor Herman Dumpit Mendoza works for the Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering of the College of Engineering at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman). 

He received this year’s Outstanding Innovation Award for his research titled “Community-Led Integrated Non-Mercury Non-Cyanide Gold Extraction Method (CLINN-GEM) Technology for People’s Empowerment and Participation,” an alternative to traditional gold mineral processing technology that doesn’t use harmful chemicals like mercury and cyanide. 

  • Virginia Castillo Cuevas – Encouragement Award

Photo from Hitachi Global Foundation

Dr. Virginia Castillo Cuevas, Dr. Charina Gracia B. Banaay, and Dr. Alfredo M. Sinohin, who are all from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), received the Encouragement Award for their study titled “Trichoderma Technology for Sustainable Agriculture,” which aims to support Filipino farmers affected by global climate change and weather phenomena like El Niño, La Niña, and typhoons. 

The research developed a faster way to decompose agricultural wastes, which will help in preserving soil health in fields. 

  • Roel Mallari de la Cruz – Encouragement Award

Photo from Hitachi Global Foundation

Engineer Roel Mallari de la Cruz, who leads DOST-ASTI’s space science and technology team, took home the Encouragement Award for their research titled “Space-Based Management and Monitoring System for Watershed Protectiom,”

It “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.”

Now in its second year, the Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award is a program that aims to encourage and foster research and development of science, technology, and innovation that will help address social issues in ASEAN countries and help them achieve sustainability. 

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Image credit: Hitachi Global Foundation