Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Department of Science and Technology is aiming to lure more overseas-based Filipino scientists back to the country to help more state universities and colleges (SUC) and private higher education institutions (HEI) as well as for the benefit of the DOST’s various research and development institutions as they embark on bigger and better R&D projects.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that the signing of Republic Act 11035 or the Balik Scientist Law by President Duterte last June 15 allowed the DOST to give more incentives to returning Filipino scientists, inventors and engineers.
“This year, we have 40 Balik Scientists. With the law, we hope to make a significant increase in the number of our foreign-based scientists,” Dela Peña recently told science reporters during the opening of the 2018 National Science and Technology Week held in Davao City.
“Right now, we’re looking at increasing the number by 50 percent starting next year, for three years,” he added.
Since its implementation, several scientists have returned to the country on short and long term bases to mentor science and engineering students and faculty along their lines of expertise through R&D, teaching and other activities. This sharing of expertise has significantly contributed to the acceleration of the scientific, agro-industrial and economic development of the country.
Increasing the number of overseas-based Filipino scientists will also complement the DOST’s push to address the inequality in the grant of R&D funds to SUCs and HEIs.
Filipino scientists can hold their own among the best in the world but unfortunately for the Philippines, those that do well are no longer based in the country. The yawning gap in science education, research, development and training could be addressed by a well implemented Balik Scientist program which would allow our scientists and innovators to catch up with their peers in the realm of science of technology that has been one of the major drivers of progress and innovation in most first world societies.
One way the Filipino brain drain can be reversed is by inviting and providing incentives for our scientists who have made their mark in foreign lands to come home to share their knowledge and expertise for the sake of our nation. Hopefully the Balik Scientist law provides the DOST with the right tools to lure our scientists home.*