The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao opened the first semester of Academic Year 2019-2020 with 111 graduate and 727 undergraduate students. University officials, faculty members and staff welcomed the 340 First Year students at the University Convocation for First-Year Students on 5 August 2019. Chancellor Digal also led the swearing of new University Student Council officers (in photo, right).
In a highlight on 7 August, the School of Management reviewed the agribusiness research and development in Mindanao at the “Agribusiness Economics and Management Forum: Works and Achievements of Prof. Sylvia B. Concepcion” held in Lorenzo Hall. Colleagues recalled the research projects from the vegetable supply chain started by Prof. Concepcion that had grown to include value chain studies in tuna, corn, palay, kalamansi, mango, and Cavendish bananas, and had broadened to encompass aspects of gender, environment, poverty, jobs creation, and capability-building of farmers and researchers. In her response, Prof. Concepcion expressed her satisfaction at seeing people continuing what she started and acknowledged the Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao for having undertaken the development journey alongside UP Mindanao.
In a welcome surprise from students, BA Communication and Media Arts sophomores Catherine Joy Catulong and Jasmine Nicolle Jain won a Special Jury Prize in the 2019 Cinemalaya Campus Short Shorts Competition for their short film "Praktis" in ceremonies held on 13 August. Films by students from the Bicol Region, Iloilo City, and Davao City were showcased in the competition.
On 9 August, the Center for the Advancement of Research and engagement in Mindanao organized the In-House Research Review for selected research projects to prepare these for publication, possible patentable technologies, and contributions to sustainable development goals for Mindanao. The research presentations on smallholder Cavendish banana farmers and livelihood in conflict-vulnerable areas, map-making for flood effects and risks in southeastern Mindanao, and marine fishes in Davao and Sulu were among the externally-funded projects presented. The smallholder goat value chains, the pollination ecology of cultivated durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.), the molecular characterization of bats, and the environmental compliance of the UP Mindanao campus were among the internally-funded projects. In addition, researches on the nitrate/nitrite levels in longgonisa, the potential antioxidant and anticancer food components from various plant sources, and the probiotic potential of lactic acid bacteria isolates from the UP Mindanao culture collection completed the presentations that were heard by a panel of experts from partner universities. Assistant professors Joseph Acosta [map-making] and Fritzie Camino [pollination ecology] were named best presenters for the external- and internal-funded research, respectively.
On 15 August, Prof. Joel Cuello, a world-renowned professor of agricultural bio-systems engineering of the University of Arizona, delivered a landmark public lecture on the topic "Strengthening the Innovation Ecosystem of the Philippines Toward Inclusive National Development" as part of the UP World Experts Lecture Series. In his talk, Prof. Cuello envisioned a stronger and deeper tripartite partnership between academe, government, and industry in the Philippines in order to create a science and technology innovation ecosystem that can drive the economy forward, similar to Silicon Valley in the United States.
In closing, Prof. Cuello showed photos of his projects such as bio-system farms inside buildings and his academic institution, “This is my university, the University of Arizona in Tucson. I hope you can visit and it is my sincere hope is that we’ll have long term relationship with UP Mindanao,” he concluded.
On 29 August, UP Mindanao welcomed a delegation of professors from the Republic of China (Taiwan) National Sun Yat Sen University (NSYSU) Department of Biological Sciences and the Institute of Medical Science and Technology. The UP Mindanao panel presented its research projects having common areas of study with the visitors: genomics, anticancer drug discovery, reef fisheries, flood hazard mapping, organic polymer science, polylactic acid, and artificial intelligence and robotics. The two parties discussed possible research collaborations, faculty and student exchanges, and joint academic offerings. UP Mindanao also arranged the visits of the NSYSU team to the Davao Colleges and Universities Network, Davao Medical School Foundation, Ateneo de Davao University, and University of Southeastern Philippines.
These public service highlights in August are among the contributions of UP Mindanao in fulfillment of its mandates as a graduate university, a research university, and a public service university as it moves toward it's 25th anniversary in 2020.