Woman of science advocates making basic research accessible



The Manila Times


Public Square

FORMER director of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DoST-NRCP) and currently Professor 12 of Economics at the University of Philippines (UP) Visayas Tacloban College, Marieta Bañez-Sumagaysay (MBS), shared on how her advocacy to make basic research accessible started, “When I was interviewed by the executive director search committee in 2015, they asked me about my plans. I only had one — make NRCP visible in all regions and make an army of scientists and artists in all the provinces of the country. I came from the province (Leyte) and NRCP was not known by most in the academe.” Through increased funding for basic R&D of researchers all over the country, storytelling, digitization, and digitalization, the DoSTNRCP, under the leadership of MBS, was able to make the presence of basic research felt in all regions. As the council’s head, MBS wanted all her units to have their own budget to meet its targets. “They cannot give what they don’t have. So, provide a good budget, and expect impactful outputs,” she thought. MBS’ advice to young Filipinos who want to become scientists and leaders in the future is, “Always have a pen and paper with you, even at your bedside table, or better still, your mobile phone. Write immediately the ideas (crazy as they may be) that excite you, each time they pop up in your mind. Get back to it when you wake up. Enjoy the ride. Have time to dance and sing. Always ask: what’s new?”