The 1st ERDT Congress
Dr. Menandro S. Berana
The 1st ERDT Congress was held at the Philippine International Convention Center, Metro Manila on February 24, 2012. With the theme “The Inventive Engineer: Patents and Commercialization”, the event aimed to educate the attendees, who are mostly Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) scholars, the systems on intellectual property protection and technology transfer and ways of nurturing an innovative idea from inventive steps to commercialization. As of that date, the ERDT program has graduated 249 masters and 5 doctorate scholars. Some of these graduates ventured into introducing new or innovating current technologies and formed their start-up companies. Aside from providing engineers with advanced knowledge to work for the industry, the ERDT program also envisions to have its graduates create industry out of their innovative ideas that spring out from their expertise. Prelude to the event were seven conferences that served as avenues for synergy among the academe, industry and government. During the conceptualization of the event, it was decided to hold a congress every year.
The event was graced by Dr. Aura C. Matias, the Program Leader of the ERDT, by welcoming guests and attendees and reporting a brief update of the ERDT program. The keynote speech on Filipinnovation by DOST Undersecretary Fortunato T. Dela Peña soon followed. He reported on the accomplishments of the Filipinnovation program in its action on the four strategic areas of the National Innovation Strategy namely strengthening Filipino human capital, supporting business incubation and acceleration efforts, regenerating the policy environment for innovation and upgrading the Filipino mindset towards a culture of innovation. The keynote highlighted the supports offered by DOST to Filipinos on developing human capital and commercializing innovative ideas.
The first panel focused the discussions on current regulations on intellectual property rights and systems of technology transfer which are important information to ERDT scholars in nurturing their innovative ideas. The panelists were Atty. Andrew Michael S. Ong, Deputy Director-General of IPO Phils.; Atty. Jose Maria A. Ochave, Senior Vice President of Unilab; Dr. Reynaldo L. Garcia, Director of the Technology Licensing Office of University of the Philippines System and Ms. Patricia Georgina G. Domingo, Program Manager of PhilDev. The moderator of the panel was Dr. Jonathan L. Salvacion, ERDT Project Leader of Mapua Institute of Technology.
The second panel discussed the importance of assessing the market and intellectual property potentials of an idea or product. It was stressed that even though innovative ideas and products that sell in the market should be applied for intellectual property by the owners for protection and benefits, it is not guaranteed that ideas and products that are applied for intellectual property rights but not tested in the market will sell. The panelists were Engr. Ramon I. Castillo, President of Innovatronix Inc. and Dr. Benjamin S. Santos, National Chairman of the Board of Filipino Inventors Society, Inc. The panel was moderated by Dr. Arnold R. Elepaño, ERDT Project Leader of University of the Philippines, Los Baños.
The third and last panel was sharing of success stories of technopreneurs and a discussion on entrepreneurial strategies and advice intended especially for startups. This panel served as an encouragement to scholars to search for technopreneurial opportunities. The members of the panel were Mr. Jose Avelino Flores, Co-Founder of Plug and Play Tech Center; Engr. Roland Jay Miguel, an ERDT alumnus and CEO of GSMetrix Technology Solutions, Inc. The moderator was Dr. Luis G. Sison, Professor and Program Leader of Enterprise in University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Awarding of the winners in each of the four tracks for the poster competiton took place. The event was concluded by Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit, ERDT Project Leader of Ateneo de Manila University, by mentioning the challenges from innovation to commercialization that should be intended for the development of the country and global competitiveness. The knowledge that they gained from the event can help them in facing the challenges.
Dean Aura C. Matias gives opening remarks at the 1st ERDT Congress held at PICC Manila.