In partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the British Embassy held an awarding ceremony last February 7 to recognize eight universities in the Philippines that will each receive P10 million worth of research grants through the Newton Fund Programme.
The awarded universities will partner with academic institutions in the United Kingdom (UK) to do research in the fields of Engineering and Physical Science, Social Science, Biological and Medical Science, and Environment and Agriculture starting April 2017.
The Newton Fund Programme is a development assistance program from the UK government which provides technical expertise in research and innovation to socioeconomic programs in partner countries. This includes a partnership with CHED and the British Council to promote research projects for national development.
CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan highlighted that the collaboration directly responds to urgent needs in higher education.
“It is critical to invest in building capacity in emerging fields that remain unavailable locally through our best faculty members. And in parallel to investing in faculty, that we invest in the upgrading our institutions so that they become a nurturing academic environment for our learners,” Licuanan said.
“With this Newton-CHED partnership, we hope to take advantage of this 5-year transition period to develop our faculty and increase the quality of higher education in the country,” she added.
The research partnerships are as follows: University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and Newcastle University, UP Manila and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UP Los Baños and University of Warwick, University of San Carlos and University of Southampton, Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and Keele University, De La Salle University and University of College London, Ateneo De Manila University and University of College London, and University of Cebu and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.
UK Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad emphasized that the institutional partnerships present a huge opportunity for local institutions to improve their respective university rankings.
“We’ve always been highly committed as far as our internal science is concerned and wanted to reach out. I believe in the end that the programs will strengthen academic discovery as well as the institutions here locally,” Ahmad said.
Aside from the institutional partnerships, the UK government’s other major programs with CHED include the Newton Fund PhD Scholarships for college faculty and the STEM Education Programme, all of which are coursed through the CHED K to 12 Transition Program.