Despite the Covid-19 pandemic cases in the country since March 2020, a series of teleconference meetings on capacity building, customer interviews, and lecture discussions on technology transfer and commercialization was facilitated by the Department of Science and Technology – Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI) and in partnership with Visiting Experts Program (VEP) mentor, Dr. Gonzalo Serafica, and the Department of Science and Technology – Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) for the HIRANG Internship program. The shift into video conferences for the implementation of HIRANG activities were recommended in order to accomplish the project deliverables of the program towards capacitating the DOST-FPRDI Interns on technology transfer, commercialization, negotiations, and preparation of valuation report and licensing agreements.

A total of eleven (11) teleconference meetings between DOST-FPRDI, Dr. Serafica and various industry stakeholders and customers for technology adaption were arranged and facilitated by DOST-TAPI since the Luzon lockdown last 16 March 2020. Among the notable industries and stakeholders that showed their intent and willingness to adopt the DOST-FPRDI technologies include the Pampanga Furniture Industries’ Foundation, Inc. (PFIFI) and Lambs Agri Mechanicals for the Bamboo Flattening Machine and Dielle’s Apiary & Meadery, Inc. and Angeles Woodworks for the FPRDI Wine Barrel.

During my initial conversation with Dir. Alex Madrigal of DOST-IVA, we both wanted to promote local wood species for the manufacture of wood barrels for wine production… I need at least three (3) to six (6) months for the ageing of fruit wines using our local wood species,” Mr. Macababbad of Dielle’s Apiary & Meadery, Inc. said during the interview with the DOST-FPRDI Internship team last 06 May 2020. The FPRDI Wine Barrel technology is currently under the pilot testing stage and is expected to begin actual trial, testing, and storage runs of fruit wines starting June 2020.

In the case of technology adoption for the Bamboo Flattening Machine, the main concern lies on the availability of bamboo wood and the cost of production for the manufacture of chairs and desks for use by the Department of Education (DepEd). “There was an advocacy towards the promotion and use of bamboo materials prior to the implementation of the law related to the use of bamboo for school chairs and desks… We are dealing with the concerns on the availability of raw material as well as the price point of the products being produced,” Mr. Repato of PFIFI said during the team’s discussion on how they can revive the bamboo industry towards the production of various furniture products.

The true value of the technology depends on the costs and value of the products made based on customers’ perspectives”, Dr. Serafica said regarding the importance of knowing the demands of the market or the customer requirements that shall adapt the technology for their production use. He emphasized the significance of discovering other high-end, valuable applications of the technology for the production of high-end products that may be more beneficial for their target customers who will adopt the technology.

On-going and future activities of DOST-FPRDI on the HIRANG Internship Program include collaboration with various industry stakeholders, drafting of IP Valuation report and technology licensing agreement (TLA), collaborative development for the two parties, and final presentation of the project deliverables for HIRANG.

The HIRANG (Honing Innovations, Research, Agreements, and Aegotiations of Government-funded technologies) Internship program is part of the DOST 500 project, “Support to the Commercialization of 500 DOST Generated Technologies and Strengthening the Country’s Intellectual Property and Technology Portfolios”.

Figure 1. Dr. Serafica, DOST-FPRDI Interns, and PFIFI representatives discussed on the recent updates for the technology requirements of DOST-FPRDI Bamboo Flattening Machine via Zoom teleconference meeting held last 28 May 2020.

 

DOST-TAPI

Lester Angelo D. Alfonso