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Philippine government sets aside PHP1.92 billion to support knowledge economy

Adrian M. Reodique | Feb. 21, 2017
Seven new projects, which focus on healthcare and infrastructure, are expected to take off soon.

The Philippine government has allotted PHP1.92 billion to develop technologies that could help boost the 'knowledge economy', the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.

The report defined 'knowledge economy' as a system of consumption and production based on intellectual capital. The technologies to be developed will focus on healthcare and infrastructure.

Seven new projects have been approved under Commission on Higher Education's (CHED) Philippine California Advanced Research Institute (PCARI) programme. These include:

1.       Arrhythmia sensor

This project involves the development of a wearable cardiac arrythmia monitor, which costs lower than what is currently available in the market. The monitor will be suitable to be worn for a long period of time while consuming low power. 

"It is critical to have a device to monitor cardiopulmonary functions as part of treating arrhythmia or the irregular heart beat that raises a patient's risk of stroke and heart failure," said PCARI Executive Director William Padolina.

PCARI has awarded a research and development (R&D) aid for the development of this monitor.

2.       Irrigation information system

The project will see the construction of an observatory that will provide real-time information on soil (moisture), meteorological (atmospheric), and hydrologic (surface and subsurface water source) conditions in the farm. This will then enable automation of irrigation of farms.

3.       Water purification

The project involves the development of a design for graphene-based materials to produce devices for water purification and desalination. Graphene-based materials are seen to be a solution to global water crisis as they allow water and other liquids to be purified at an estimated rate of nine times faster than top commercial filters.

4.       Portable sensor

According to PCARI, the project aims to develop portable and low-power graphene-based gas sensors  using a wafer-level packaging processes for applications on cellphones, wearable devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

5.       Mobile diagnostic tool

The mobile health tool is a mobile application that enables each professional group (medicine, veterinary medicine, and agriculture) to collaborate. As such, it will be made available to community health workers, livestock and agricultural extension workers.

6.       Cancer-phenome biobanking

The Philippine Cancer Phenome-Biobanking System and Biomonitoring Programme aims to provide health workers access to relevant patient information, supply of human tissue samples, human cell culture materials, and data on the levels of endocrine disruptors in Filipinos.

In line, two new extensions will be set up, namely: the human cell repository system, and the biomonitoring programme.

7.       Capability building

PCARI will train 968 specialists on scientific writing, research administration, laboratory management, and courseware development. The project will provide 163 scholarships , of which 79 will be for infrastructure (under the Institute for Information Infrastructure Development or IIID). The remaining 84 will be given to the Institute for Health Innovation and Translational Medicine (IHITM).


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