DoST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and Hungarian Ambassador Titanilla Tóth sign the Memorandum of Understanding that will promote and develop scientific and technological cooperation. PHOTOS COURTESY OF DOST
Driving the country’s research, development and innovation (RDI) roadmap, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) sealed a bilateral agreement that “will promote and develop science and technology cooperation” between the Philippines and Hungary.
DoST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and Hungarian Ambassador Titanilla Tóth led the signing of the MoU on April 8 at the Hungarian Embassy in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
Mutual cooperation will focus on joint R&D initiatives on various technologies, overseas missions and exchange visits of scientists, researchers and experts; capacity building activities, including scholarships, fellowships and training programs; RDI policies, strategies and programs; and promoting collaboration between other relevant scientific institutions and organizations in the Philippines and Hungary.
The two sides will explore mutual cooperation in areas that include, but are not limited to, sustainable agriculture (including aquaculture), infocommunication technology (includes spectrum monitoring and Earth observation ) and quantum technology.
A brief discussion on areas of collaboration under the mutual cooperation agreement between the two countries.
Also present during the signing of the MoU were DoST Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation, Dr. Leah Buendia, Director of the Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, Dr. Franz de Leon, and Head of Deputy Mission of the Hungarian Embassy, Dávid Ambrus, and Commercial Attaché Gábor Lehocz.
Unknown to many, Hungary has a very strong strategic research, development and innovation (RDI) program under its National Office for Research, Development and Innovation – the country’s premier adviser in funding and RDI policy with the government. It also has a developed science and technology sector and an efficient RDI system that includes a reliable network of universities and industrial players.
In fact, Hungary is home to 12 Nobel laureates, including Albert Szent-Györgyi who discovered ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a substance that prevents scurvy. It is also the birthplace of Erno Rubik, the inventor of the world’s best-selling puzzle toy.
Ambassador Tóth mentioned several collaborations in the areas of dairy farming through local Philippine carabaos and water management using advanced water, mining and energy technologies. renewable. In the area of ICT, Ambassador Tóth also indicated that Hungary has companies and resource centers that are engaged in smart urban forestry and agricultural development in cities to help protect the environment. It was mentioned that the Philippines wanted to collaborate in the field of quantum computing.
Dr. de Leon from DoST-ASTI shared that the country would benefit from this very young technology because Hungary is already ahead in this field. He added that quantum computing would complement the Philippines Institute of Virology in terms of drug development, as it would need quantum computing to accelerate the development of new drugs and vaccines.
This new development of IT would benefit the following areas such as the optimization of logistics and transport processes in real time; drug and vaccine development; simulation and development of new materials; Weather forecast; and artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Currently, the country has limited capabilities in quantum computing and its subsequent hardware due to the prohibitive cost. In this regard, quantum computers are only limited to a few specialized R&D institutions performing complex R&D activities.
“This is the first time that we at DoST have discussed quantum computing in a bilateral agreement,” de la Peña said.
The DoST, through its Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation, promotes partnerships with several countries around the world in hopes of finding opportunities to leverage its R&D strategies and initiatives through collaborations and strategic partnerships.