UPLB holds first consultative meeting for the new UPLB Research Agenda

  • Written by  Mariz Diagan
  • Published in News

More than 250 UPLB staff members from various units and disciplines participated in the first consultative meeting held on 21 July to formulate the university's new research agenda.

The meeting, initiated by the ad hoc committee tasked to develop the UPLB Research Agenda, is part of a series of consultations that aims to bear out the status of research and innovations within UPLB and the way forward. Ultimately, the intent is to form the strategic plan for more collaborative and cohesive activities toward Accelerating Growth through ONE Research and Action (UPLB AGORA).

The UPLB AGORA visualizes UPLB as a marketplace (agora) of future-proof and innovative ideas, focusing on four areas: food security and sovereignty; resilience and sustainability; future cities; and One Health.

The two-hour online conference was held via Zoom, with research, extension, and professional staff (REPS) and faculty members weighing in on issues about the formulation of a unified research agenda for UPLB. The event was facilitated by Prof. Anna Floresca F. Firmalino, director of the UPLB Office of International Linkages and member of the Ad Hoc Committee on UPLB AGORA.

In his opening remarks, Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. expressed his recognition of the thriving research culture in the university, citing the quantity and quality of studies being conducted here. He also expressed his appreciation for the “research frontliners” who continue to respond to the needs “of the country and of our times”.

Chancellor Camacho delivers the opening remarks for the 1st Consultative Meeting for the UPLB Research Agenda (Zoom screenshot)

Prof. Firmalino then introduced her co-members, starting with Dr. Rico F. Ancog, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee and dean of the School of Environmental Science and Management. Other members are Dr. Rosanna Marie C. Amongo, dean of the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology; Dr. Barbara L. Caoili, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Science; Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Fides Marciana Z. Tambalo; Dr. Arnold R. Salvacion from the College of Human Ecology; and Prof. Geny F. Lapiña from the College of Economics and Management.

While an ad hoc committee and a panel of key persons had been put together, “UPLB AGORA is for everyone in UPLB and in our network”, Prof. Firmalino clarified.

Dr. Ancog then presented an initial framework for all research projects conducted within, and in partnership with, the university. Aside from identifying the four thematic focus areas of UPLB AGORA, he also presented key considerations in situating research activities within the larger framework, that is, within levels of analysis, the nodes of the value chain, and the pillars of the thematic areas.

Through Dr. Ancog, the committee communicated their hopes of conducting research activities that aid in achieving the sustainable development goals, while cementing the university’s place in the international community.

Dr. Ancog also emphasized the importance of including the brand of UPLB (i.e., prioritization of farmers, agriculture, and food production) in future research projects, and ensuring that research goes “beyond publication, concepts, and theories” and translates into “solutions and innovations that will really empower people”.

Also discussed during the presentation was the matrix of research projects by all UPLB units going as far back as 2015, which researchers will be requested to fill out.

Dr. Ancog discusses the thematic focus areas and objectives of UPLB-AGORA and the matrix for all research projects conducted in and with UPLB (Zoom screenshot)

Various concerns, such as funding, identifying key partners, improvement of research management and operations within the university, assistance in accomplishing the matrix, providing an enabling environment for researchers, and the role of humanities and social sciences in the research agenda, were raised by the participants during the open forum. The role of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) in expediting the compilation of research projects for the matrix was also discussed. OVCRE manages the database of all research projects conducted in the university.

In her closing remarks, Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Merdelyn Lit reiterated that the university’s human capital plays the most important role in the success of the “new and improved” UPLB Research Agenda.

Meanwhile, the Ad Hoc committee on the UPLB Extension Agenda is expected to present a unified framework for the university’s extension activities in the coming weeks. The committee is headed by Dr. Rowena dT. Baconguis, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Development.