/ 29 April 2021

TO CONTINUE research and innovation amid the pandemic, the United States Agency for International Development granted nearly P12 million to five higher educational institutions in the country.

“As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the US-Philippines diplomatic relations, these grants are another milestone in this longstanding partnership as we work together to make higher education and innovation a driver of inclusive growth in the Philippines,” Lawrence Hardy II, USAID Mission Director, said.

The grants, dubbed as the “Widening Applications of Research within the Pandemic,” will help HEIs build on previous USAID-funded research to address new challenges created by the Covid19 crisis.

The five HEIs chosen to receive the grants are La Union-based Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University;  Mariano Marcos State University in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; University of San Carlos in Cebu City; University of the Philippines-Visayas; and Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology.

Researchers of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University will use the money to analyze the properties of high-value extracts from ube and corn for possible use in ready-to-eat foods, and as a replacement for commercial food coloring.

The University of San Carlos will develop novel antiseptic patches for wound dressing and skin healing while the team from the University of the Philippines-Visayas will help establish a tuna jerky product enterprise that can improve economic opportunities of local fishermen.

Meanwhile, the Mariano Marcos State University will expand village-scale ethanol production in the Ilocos regions to sustainably supply much-needed disinfectants for public health use.

The Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology will convert waste from coconut oil processing into an economically viable substitute to imported chemicals used in insulating foam production.

USAID said the grants will also create partnerships among universities, industries, and local governments.

USAID has provided grants supporting innovation initiatives in almost 60 research groups in 20 HEIs throughout the country since 2013.