The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI), has officially launched the country’s first internship program for its Technology Transfer Officers.
About the initiative
As reported, the program will strengthen their skills, network, and industry competence in commercialising government-funded technologies.
Project Hirang, which stands for Honing Innovations, Research Agreements and Negotiations of Government-funded Technologies, was designed for DOST Research and Development Institutes (RDI).
The Department presented the interns from seven RDIs, together with their industry mentors in a formal ceremony held recently.
The interns shall undergo an intensive six-month, one-on-one mentoring that includes hands-on coaching on the fields of Intellectual Property protection, valuation, and management.
Actual negotiations with industry partners and potential investors are expected to result in signed licensing deals and collaborative contracts.
Dr Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, explained that the work of Tech-Transfer Officers is considered to be very difficult since their task is considered the last mile.
They are expected to translate to smiles with signed agreements.
The Department’s commercialisation experience needs building-up and Project Hirang is the perfect opportunity to close the remaining gap.
The Undersecretary shared that “Hirang” translates to chosen ones and as part of handpicked few, the expectations are high.
The RDIs are expected to score licensing contracts amounting to at least 1% of their agency’s Grants-in-Aid.
Everyone was challenged to be part of the movement towards better commercialisation landscape.
The Project Hirang is under the umbrella of the InventED package of DOST-TAPI, which capacitate inventors and innovators in the country.
The project runs in partnership with the Balik Scientist Program and Visiting Consultancy Program of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).
Balik Scientist Program
OpenGov Asia earlier reported on the Philippines’ signing of Republic Act No. 11035 or the “Act Institutionalising the Balik Scientist Program”.
The Balik Scientist Law would provide benefits and grants that would entice Filipino experts, scientists, inventors, and engineers to return to the Philippines so that they can share their knowledge in the country.
Various compensations can also be enjoyed by Balik Scientists. They can have tax and duty exemptions on the importation of professional equipment and materials.
They will also receive free medical and accident insurance benefits, which would cover the award period.
Commercialisation is significant, particularly for research and development as well as technology. As such, countries have, in one way or another, developed initiatives.
New Zealand, for instance, boosts Technology Incubators to promote commercialisation of innovation.
The Government is committed to building a modern economy that supports innovators in the early phases of their business development.
New Zealand Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods shared that Technology Incubators will be receiving an extra NZ$ 9 million in Government funding to support businesses to scale up and commercialise their ideas.
The funding announcement is on top of the NZ$ 25.5 million support allocated in Budget 2019 for initiatives to promote the commercialisation of innovation.
The Government has already introduced the 15% R&D tax incentive through Budget 2018. In addition, the refundability measures were announced more recently.
This means that pre-profit business will be able to get cash back, which is of more use to them than a credit.
Meanwhile, The Indian Government launched a series of challenges with the aim of harnessing innovation from companies, primarily Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and start-ups as well as individual innovators in 2018.
These innovations should solve problems, improve the lives of citizens and generate employment.
The aim is to incentivise innovation in areas critical to India’s growth. This includes health, housing, hygiene, energy and water.
It also aims to address the second ‘Commercialisation Valley of Death’, in which innovators are unable to access resources for piloting, testing, and market creation by helping new deep-tech products find markets and early customers in the context of India.