What is the Department of Science and Technology?
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is the Philippines’ leading scientific and technological body.
As the country’s top scientific institution, DOST is responsible for directing, coordinating, and leading all activities related to science and technology in the Philippines.
DOST was established on June 13, 1958, under Carlos P. Garcia’s administration. It was initially called the National Science and Development Board and then reconstituted as the National Science and Technology Authority on March 17, 1981.
DOST was finally elevated to a full cabinet stature when Executive Order 128 was signed by then-president Corazon Aquino in 1987.
Upon becoming a part of the Cabinet, DOST’s functions and responsibilities were accordingly expanded. The executive order also gave the new department the mission to “direct, lead, and coordinate the country’s scientific and technological efforts geared towards maximum economic and social benefits for the people.”
DOST’s main office is located in Taguig City, Metro Manila, with satellite offices across the Philippines’ 17 regions. Secretary Fortunato dela Peña currently heads the department and has been with the department for over three decades.
What does the DOST do?
In accordance with the department’s mission of spearheading the country’s scientific and technological progress, DOST has launched several projects, collaborated in crafting policies geared toward science and technology, and offered frontline services in all its offices nationwide.
Among DOST’s most notable initiatives are the following:
Balik Scientist Program
The Balik Scientist Program (BSP) aims to encourage the Philippines’ scientists and other experts in science and technology to return to the country. The BSP seeks to incentivize Filipino scientists to share their knowledge and expertise to foster growth in the country’s scientific, economic, and agro-industrial fields.
Specifically, the BSP aims to:
- Mitigate the effect of brain drain in the country
- Boost the country’s science and technology capabilities
- Stimulate the flow of technology
- Promote transfer of knowledge
Biosafety Clearing-House of the Philippines
The Biosafety Clearing-House of the Philippines (BCH Pilipinas) is a joint initiative of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), and DOST under the purview of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines.
The purpose of BCH Pilipinas is to create a national framework and guidelines for developing, adopting, and implementing policies concerning biosafety.
Working under the National Biosafety Framework (NBF), DOST upholds its constitutional mandate and leads the joint initiative to evaluate and monitor genetically modified plants and plant products.
DOST Biosafety Committee
The DOST Biosafety Committee (DOST-BC) is an offshoot of the NBF. The committee works in tandem with its counterparts in DA, DENR, and DOH in aiding the concerned agencies deal with any problems related to biotechnology.
DOST-BC’s chief responsibility is conducting the first level of assessment of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) experiments. The committee also supervises the implementation of approved projects and ensures that their proponents adhere to the committee’s biosafety measures.
DOST Grants-in-Aid Program
The DOST Grants-in-Aid (DOST-GIA) Program is the department’s funding body that aims to maximize the country’s competencies in the field by allocating grants to science and technology (S&T) programs.
DOST-GIA is envisioned to improve Filipinos’ productivity and quality of life through the funding of S&T projects. The program also seeks to promote participation among various S&T sectors, especially in the following:
- research and development
- human resources development
- information dissemination
- technology transfer and utilization
Any Filipino entity with proven competence, whether public or private, can apply for DOST’s GIA support as long as its projects benefit Filipinos and the Philippines.
DOST also offers scholarships to students who show a high aptitude in science and mathematics through the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) system. The PSHS is another system utilized by DOST to strengthen the Philippines’ S&T fields by preparing students to become future professionals.
Another scholarship offered by the department is the DOST Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Scholarship.
DOST-SEI’s mission is to accelerate the S&T human resources development in the Philippines by providing undergraduate and graduate scholarships and advanced training. To this end, DOST-SEI has offered scholarships to qualified students willing to pursue careers in science and technology.
DOST has also recently worked with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in making the research and development (R&D) products of its scientists available in the market.
Through the Philippine Council for Industry and the Board of Investors, DOST and DTI have collaborated to introduce these R&D products and services to the various industries that might benefit from them.