Dr. Emily S. Antonio, a scientist newly appointed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under its Balik Scientist Program (BSP), is keen on encouraging the youth to pursue higher studies related to agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources (AANR) sector.
In the forum titled, Strengthening Connections from Mountain to Sea through Collaborative Research and Education in Davao Gulf, Dr. Antonio presented an approach implemented by the Japanese government in partnership with universities and research agencies to address declining interest of the youth in the said sectors.
This involved conducting short courses for primary and secondary students during winter and summer in camps on basic research activities in the agriculture and aquatic sectors, which she hopes can be the model for a strategy in the Davao Gulf Region.
The said event of the BSP was held at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) in Davao City.
During the event, Dr. Antonio laid out the target outputs and expectations for her three-month stint in an orientation meeting with representatives from the University of the Philippines-Mindanao (UP Mindanao), Davao del Norte State College (DNSC), Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) and Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST).
Responsibilities and obligations of the institutions involved, including that of DOST, Dr. Antonio, and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), which is coordinating this initiative, were also discussed during the meeting.
Dr. Antonio is the first Balik Scientist from South Africa. She was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences Major in Coastal Ecology from the Kyoto University, Japan.
Dr. Antonio’s fields of expertise focus on the trophic ecology and nutrition of benthic animals (fish and Invertebrates) and their relation with terrestrial and adjacent riverine and coastal ecosystems. With these experiences under her hat, she wanted to come back to the country to share her expertise, particularly to her home region.
“We are indeed grateful to Dr. Antonio and the four host institutions for taking on this challenge of engaging the youth back to agriculture,” said Dr. Juanito T. Batalon, Director of DOST-PCAARRD’s Institution Development Division (IDD) during the said event.
The BSP is Philippines’ brain gain initiative, which is implemented by the DOST. It aims to strengthen the scientific and technological human resources of academic, public and private institutions to accelerate the flow of technologies and stimulate the development of new or strategically important technologies that are vital to national development and progress.
The DOST-PCAARRD component taps the ingenuity of scientists and experts residing abroad and of Filipino-descent, to strengthen the S&T capabilities of local researchers and scholars in addressing critical and emerging concerns in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources sector.