The world is on a time-bomb race to beat the COVID-19 menace. And in the flurry of this pandemic and varying quarantine restrictions, Filipino inventors are challenged to provide solutions that could mitigate the impacts of the global health crisis.
On the side of the government, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) champions programs designed to sustain the ingenuity of Filipino inventors and address their need for funding support. Since its institution in 1987, DOST-TAPI has advanced the interest of local inventors by pioneering programs that pushed for technology transfer. In 1992, its mandates were expanded by virtue of Republic Act 7459 or the “Inventors and Invention Incentives Act of the Philippines” which gave priority to invention and its utilization.
“DOST-TAPI administers the so-called Invention Development Assistance Fund. This is earmarked to prioritize funding of invention-related initiatives, as provided for in the law”, said Engr. Edgar I. Garcia, Director of DOST-TAPI.
With the changing landscape, DOST-TAPI has continuously calibrated its programs to be at par and responsive to the needs of individual inventors. Under its i-INVENT campaign, the programs are holistically packaged through a framework which guides invention from ideation to commercialization stage:
- Concept Prototyping Program
Assists inventors in turning feasible ideas into full-blown proof of concept. It provides grant in the development of the first working prototype of a potential invention
- Intellectual Property Rights Assistance Program (iPRAP)
Provides assistance in securing appropriate protection of intellectual properties such as patent, utility model, and industrial designs.
- Industry-based Invention Development (iBID) Program
Funds the fabrication of the first commercial prototype of an invention.
- Invention Testing and Analyses Assistance Program (iTAAP)
Assists in testing, verifying and evaluating the functionality of an invention. It covers the cost of laboratory analyses and performance validations.
- Invention-based Enterprise Development (iBED)Program
Support the development of technology-based enterprises by providing pre-commercialization assistance in the pilot and market testing of inventions. Additional funding for full-blown commercialization is also available thru a repayment scheme, at 0% interest.
- Innovation and Technology (iTECH) Lending Program
Provides special low-interest, lending window through the Landbank of the Philippines and the Invention Guarantee Fund for commercialization of patented Filipino technologies.
Funding Innovation in times of Pandemic
In a country endowed with a wealth of brilliant minds, programs that value intellectual creation finds significance in the face of a global pandemic.
“Indeed, we were elated to have received several funding requests for COVID-related inventions, from special disinfection systems to personal protective equipment. But with any funding program, there are risks associated with financing novel technologies. Hence due diligence dictates that proposals undergo proper evaluation and technology vetting to ensure compliance with standards and criteria”, said Atty. Marion Ivy Decena, Chief of DOST-TAPI’s Invention Development Division.
One of the indispensable requirements set by DOST-TAPI is the patentability of inventions. The Institute advocates not only industrial applications but more so, its novelty and inventiveness. For this, the agency has partnered with top-notch private firms to augment its patenting services.
“We try to help as much as we could, within the bounds of government rules. But of course there are still limitations. For one, DOST-TAPI does not fund high R&D investment like clinical trials because these are under the thrust of other agencies, particularly the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). If necessary, we make the proper endorsements” added the Science Chief.
Despite its finite budget allocation, DOST-TAPI remains optimistic of the impacts of i-INVENT programs, with several success stories under its portfolio.
“We are proud to say that for decades, we have been a key partner of many inventrepreneurs, some of them are already successful in their respective industries. Our impact could be seen in the number of IPR applications, inventions that have reached the market, and tech-based enterprises that have flourished. ” said Atty. Decena.
Pushing Forward with Science
The COVID-19 pandemic has moved the spotlight to science and technology, with more people appreciating the value of local innovations. With the growing interest in research, DOST-TAPI has renewed its calls for quality proposals, taking special interest in inventions that could be used to fight against the pandemic or aid in the country’s post-crisis response.
“This pandemic is a battlefield and Filipino ingenuity is our greatest asset. With i-INVENT programs, we are giving Filipino inventors proper ammunition and critical support, so they could help move us out of this health crisis. ” remarked Dir. Garcia.
- To know more about the portfolio of programs under i-INVENT, refer to this link:
- For online submission, email your proposal and requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org
DOST-TAPI S&T Media Service
MARVIN ERIC DELA CRUZ