UPLB REPS research and opportunities highlighted at conference

UPLB’s researchers, extensionists and professional staff (REPS) took the virtual stage at the 7th UP REPSS Annual Scientific Conference and 11th General Assembly Meeting organized by the UP Society of Research, Extension, and Professional Staff (UP REPSS).

With the theme “Reinforcing Equilibrium: Professionals Supporting Academic Initiatives for Society and Knowledge,” the two-day online event on April 29 to 30 featured the latest research work from UPLB’s REPS sector and the various funding opportunities and research areas that they could explore to increase their productivity.

The REPS led in presenting research posters and papers in four major sub-themes, namely, Sustainable Food Security for Healthy Community, 4IR Shaping Research in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Environment and Climate Science Management, and Public Health & Wellbeing.

The conference was opened by keynote speaker, UP Staff Regent Mylah R. Pedrano. Regent Pedrano discussed the long on-going challenges of the REPS in receiving enough support in the UP System and the limited opportunities available to them. 

She highlighted the need for a designated REPS representative at the BOR so that their rights and needs can be better addressed by the university.

“Gustong gusto kong makita na magbago iyong mindset, na tatlong sektor ang nagpapatakbo ng university: faculty, administrative staff, at REPS,” she said.

The event was also headlined by plenary speakers who discussed research opportunities for the REPS.

Academician Eufemio T. Rasco, chairperson of the Agricultural Division of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), presented possible research areas that the REPS can explore in NAST Philippines’s Food System Vision. 

In his presentation, he discussed how the UP research community can respond to the challenge of creating a functional food system, starting with Metro Manila, in 30 years. This approach looks at the production, marketing and waste management aspects of the food system, with the consumers placed at its core as its main drivers.

Some research challenges that he identified are weaning Filipinos away from unhealthy food and encouraging them to eat more diverse and healthy food, achieving circularity in the food system in which waste is reduced and all resources are utilized, reviving biodegradable food packaging, and maximizing the use of renewable energy in farming.

The second plenary speaker was Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) at the UP System. In her talk, she highlighted the various funding and grant programs managed by the OVPAA which aim to increase the volume of research work and the number of doctoral degree holders among UP’s teaching and non-teaching staff.

Among the programs that were featured during her discussion were the Emerging Interdisciplinary Research (EIDR) Program, the Enhanced Creative Work and Research Grant (ECWRG), the Balik PhD Recruitment Program, and the UP Faculty, REPS, and Administrative Staff Development Program (FRASDP). She also promoted the Scientific Career System under the Civil Service Commission and NAST.

As part of the REPS General Assembly, Ms. Fides Marciana Z. Tambalo, assistant to the vice chancellor for research and extension and REPS welfare committee representative, also presented updates regarding policy reforms for REPS welfare.

In his message, Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. recognized the integral role of the REPS as UPLB fulfills its mandate as a research and public university. 

“In these two functions, it is the University’s REPS who are working full-time — in initiating, fulfilling, and sustaining UP’s various research, extension, and public service endeavors,” he said.

Dr. Merdelyn C. Lit, vice chancellor for research and extension, likewise expressed her appreciation for the REPS and emphasized the importance of collaboration among the REPS in producing and communicating science-based solutions to address the country’s challenges in achieving sustainable social and economic development. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)

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