It is a celebration of the highest form of research and creative work where the arts, humanities, sciences and other disciplines are all brought together.
This is how Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela P. Concepcion described the ceremony held last December 16, 2014 at the Executive House in UP Diliman for the awardees of the Gawad sa Natatanging Publikasyon sa Filipino and the UP Scientific Productivity System.
Concepcion, who spearheads the implementation of programs for the professional development of faculty and REPS, also thanked UP for increased research funds.
Distinction for Filipino publications
The Gawad sa Natatanging Publikasyon sa Filipino aims to enhance the production of written works in Filipino by recognizing those that have been published by respected bodies or have appeared in refereed and influential journals.
This year, the Gawad sa Malikhaing Panulat was bagged by UP Diliman Assistant Professor Eugene Evasco, author of Mga Pilat sa Pilak: Mga Personal na Sanaysay.
Evasco’s collection of 14 essays revolved around topics that transcend personal experience, making them relevant to Philippine society as a whole. Their scope, according to judges, is exceptional.
The Gawad para sa Publikasyon ng Orihinal na Pananaliksik went to Professor Rosario Torres-Yu of UP Diliman.
Her work BALAGEN: Edukasyong Pangkapayapaan at Panitikang Pambata meticulously analyses how the concept of peace becomes an issue and thus should be integrated into the formal and systematic education of children.
The research was praised for its theoretical underpinnings and practical applications.
New UP Scientists
Also recognized during the ceremony was the latest roster of awardees of the UP Scientific Productivity System (SPS).
The University conferred the title UP Scientist upon 48 faculty members. Thirty-one of them are UP Scientists I, nine are UP Scientists II and eight are UP Scientists III.
The list of the new awardees can be found here.
Concepcion said that the growing number of recipients only demonstrates that UP is “in the right direction” because it is they who will produce more young achievers.
Last year, only 28 faculty members qualified for the award.
The UP SPS was established in 2005 to support the development of science and technology, and to encourage and reward scientific output. It comes with a monetary incentive.
Speaking on behalf of the new UP Scientists III, Professor Antonio L. Dans of the UP Manila College of Medicine stated that although the monetary award helps, it is unnecessary as most of them would still choose to do research even without it.
Dans also put forth a rather bold proposal: to espouse irreverence in the teaching of research.
Irreverence, he explained, would enable researchers to separate ideas from personalities, to challenge what others may consider permanent, and to simply have fun while trying to change the world.
Towards a world-class research-intensive university
In his closing remarks, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual encouraged faculty members to work closely with graduate students to enhance productivity. Because constraints in resources – both human and financial – make it impossible to increase the total number of graduate students at the moment, the University in the meantime can focus on improving faculty-graduate student ratio.
He also acknowledged the importance of research to international ranking, and how ranking in turn is a big consideration when foreign universities look for partners in research.
But ultimately, “ranking is the result of what the University is trying to do to help the country through the application of knowledge,” said Pascual.
Performing the role of an enabler, the top official of the premiere research university in the Philippines is helping upgrade infrastructure in UP campuses, and negotiating for more teaching positions to solve overloading, thereby allowing the faculty to do more research.
For its part, the faculty should work on increasing the chances of journals to be included in the databases of Scopus and the Institute for Scientific Indexing (ISI).
There is also a need to further reach out by bringing knowledge out of the laboratories and into the communities.
With his term ending in 2017, Pascual hopes that the present efforts of the University to intensify research would continue so that “UP can claim its rightful place not only in Asia but also in the world.”
Photo credits: Misael Bacani
List of UP Scientists from 2006 to 2016
UP Scientific Productivity System guidelines and forms
Last updated: 23 December 2014