A plane, a boat and an Uber around the Philippines

I have had a crazy busy second week working in the Business Development Unit at FNRI. I started off the week by going on a business trip to Cebu for the Regional Technology Transfer Day. We then traveled North to do a site evaluation in the beautiful Bogo City. By the end of these three days, I had spent 3 hours in a plane and more hours than I can count in the car. You can read the article that I wrote for the FNRI newspaper about my experience in Cebu below this post.

This weekend, the FNRI interns as well as the Human Nature interns took a trip to Puerto Galera. It was amazing to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a long weekend and relax on the white sand beaches. We were able to go kayaking and snorkeling in the bluest waters I have ever seen. It was truly paradise.


Trip to Cebu:

During my recent trip to Cebu, I was able to gain a greater insight into the inner workings of the Business Development Unit. I had the privilege of attending the Region VII Technology Transfer Day as well as observing a site evaluation in Bogo City.

The Technology Transfer Day in Cebu City was put on by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) division of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Technology Transfer Days first started in the Philippines due to the Philippines Technology Transfer Act of 2009. This Act was introduced to facilitate the transfer and effective use of intellectual property, technology and knowledge resulting from research and development by the government for the benefit of the national economy. Since this Act was introduced, it is essential that all of the different projects that DOST works on be introduced to the community in order to be commercialized. DOST is focused on the research and development of cutting-edge products, but they do not have the capacity to commercialize those products on a large-scale basis.

Some of the products that FNRI orally introduced included stabilized brown rice, complementary foods, pancit canton with squash, and ready-to-drink mango juice. FNRI also presented posters on additional products including brown rice bars and all of the specific complementary foods including baby food blends, curls, and crunchies as well as posters on the products introduced orally. Other departments of DOST as well as entrepreneurs from the community also presented their research here for potential adopters to hear their product ideas. Some interesting ideas that I heard included carrageenan plant growth promoter, early detection dengue kits, and a hybrid electric road train.

After potential adopters are able to learn about all the different technologies, they can choose which technology they would like to move forward with commercializing. During normal protocol of a technology transfer, a formal letter of request by an adopter is required, followed by a consultative meeting. During a Technology Transfer Day, everything is accelerated so that negotiations can be made that same day. A Fairness Opinion Board was established to oversee negotiations made between government entities and the business adopters. This Board generates Fairness Opinion Reports which state whatever agreement has been reached is fair for the adopter who is commercializing the product, but it is also fair for the people who funded the research and development (the people of the Philippines).

Since the members of the Business Development Unit were already in Cebu, they decided to do a site evaluation in Bogo City, a town on the Northern coast of Cebu. Bogo City signed a contract back in 2015 in order to receive equipment to run a complementary foods plant. Bogo City had not yet built a manufacturing plant suitable for the equipment that they would be receiving. They had been through some hardships that they were trying to work through. The main engineer on the project did not work out and they ended up having to change the site of the construction. We went to look at the new site of the construction that should be up and running by June 15, 2018.

It was very interesting for me to be able to see the adoption of a technology at two different stages during this trip. During the Technology Transfer Day, everyone was optimistic and saw the bright future of many products. During the site evaluation, I was able to see how difficult it can be to put all of these optimistic words into action. There can be many obstacles when one is trying to commercialize a technology, but it is all about how one decides persevere through those obstacles that make a technology succeed.


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