Six Filipina researchers were awarded the 2019 Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Newton PhD scholarship for their various studies on vaccine development, and molecular epidemiology, among others on Wednesday afternoon at the Marco Polo Hotel.
This year, all of the Newton Fund scholarship grantees were females who bested thirteen other applicants.
"The fact that they are all females is a very fortunate coincidence. The Newton Fund more broadly strives for the achievement of gender balance," said the British Council country director Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio.
She noted that around 40% of the grants are awarded to women researchers globally.
"I would like to thank the British Council and the DOST for giving this award to me. I would also like to say that this is not about me. I think I'm just representing my institution through this PhD scholarship," said Maria Jowina Galarion, one of the awardees.
Galarion, a research specialist from the University of the Philippines Manila, will be working with her team in enhancing the molecular surveillance and diagnostics of the dengue virus in the country.
Other PhD awardees include: Maria Carmen Fernandez (FEU Public Policy Center), Carla Mae Pausta (De La Salle University), Julianne Vilela (UP Los Banos), Pamela Louise Tolentino (UP Diliman), and Criselda Bautista (DOH-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine).
Fernandez's study focused on using spatial modeling to explore the dynamics of complex urban crises and the forced displacement on informal settlements.
Pausta's research aimed to assess the impact of nutrient recovery in improving urban wastewater management and protecting water quality in lakes.
Vilela's study tackled next-generation technologies in developing novel and advanced vaccines against viral diseases in poultry production.
Tolentino's study focused on investigating the role of catchment characteristics in the response of different basins across the country to hydrometeorological events.
Bautista's work aimed to shine a light on using molecular epidemiology to understand the burden of rabies and to develop elimination strategies through surveillance.
All of the six researchers will be sent to the UK, where they will be spending three years to collaborate and work on their respective projects with partner universities.
Each of the scholars will be receiving full tuition, living subsistence, travel expenses and other allowances related to their research.
They will be receiving 25 million pesos worth of funding from the British government, which will be matched by DOST.
During the awarding ceremony, the winners of the Researcher Links Workshops and Institutional Links grants were also announced.
The British Council will be giving 10 million pesos worth of funding to the sole Institutional Link grantee. Meanwhile, the three awardees of the Researcher Links Workshops will be receiving a total of 6 million pesos.
These will also be matched by the DOST.
The Newton Fund
The money for the DOST-Newton scholarships, research links workshops, and institutional link grants comes from the £1-million Newton Fund.
The fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Newton Fund has 17 partner countries, namely: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Now on its sixth year, the DOST-Newton Fund program has supported 15 PhD scholars, 2 researcher links travel grants, 8 research links workshop grants and one institutional links grant.
Last January, a team of Pinoy researchers headed by De La Salle University professor Dr. Michael Angelo Promentilla won the 2019 Newton Prize Philippines award for their study on turning wastewater into fertilizer. — LA, GMA News