UP's Pride and Glory

Philippine Genome Center Mindanao, 2020

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Achievements

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Philippine Genome Center Mindanao reported on its mission from April 2020 onward to capacitate hospitals to do COVID-19 testing by training personnel on SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Since April 2020, PGC Mindanao trained 45 medical technologists, doctors, and biologists from six hospitals and institutions in Mindanao: the Dr. Royeca Hospital in General Santos City, the Lanao del Norte Medical Center, the Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, the Butuan Medical Center, the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City, and the Cotabato Regional Medical Center. PGC Mindanao also reported the success of the Ciudad Medical Zamboanga and the Butuan Medical Center in acquiring the accreditation for COVID-19 testing from the Department of Health.
Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao will offer a "Mindanao-wide webinar on Omics Research: Moving Past Pandemics” throughout October 2020. Omics are the branches of science in the various disciplines of biology that have names that end in -omics, such as genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, to name a few. The month-long webinar will feature omics in health, agriculture, and food research. PGC Mindanao is located at the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao in Davao City. 

UP retains rank in top 500

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Achievements

UP retains rank in top 500 world university rankings, leads in ASEAN in terms of global research influence

Jo. Lontoc, UP Media and Public Relations Office

The University of the Philippines (UP) retains its spot in a roster of the top 500 universities of the world. According to the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE-WUR), UP remains in the 401-500 bracket, after being assessed alongside 1,527 research-intensive universities.

The country’s national university maintained its overall rank despite the number of universities ranked this year increasing from last year’s 1,396. Overall, UP is ranked fifth among noted universities in Southeast Asia (SEA): National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), University of Malaya, and the University of Brunei Darussalam.

UP garnered its highest score in the criterion of citations or global research influence, which accounts for 30% of its total score. THE-WUR comes out with the citation score by capturing the average number of times a university’s published work is cited by scholars globally. This year, bibliometric data supplier Elsevier examined 86 million citations from 2015-2020 across 13.6 million journal articles, article reviews, conference proceedings, books and book chapters published from 2015-2019. [View the Times Higher Education World University Rankings report for the University of the Philippines here.]

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Breakdown of ranking for the University of the Philippines. Source: Times Higher Education

According to the THE, citations are a way of measuring a university’s role in spreading new knowledge and ideas and its contribution to the sum of human knowledge.

The other performance indicators are grouped into the areas of teaching (30%), research (30%), international outlook (7.5%), and industry income (2.5%).

UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Carla Dimalanta notes that UP outranks universities in neighboring countries in terms of research citation. Its score of 86.7 outperforms the 81.5 of NUS and the 83 of NTU, the top two ranking universities in the ASEAN region. Singapore’s NUS and NTU are ranked 25 and 47, respectively, in the World University Rankings.

“Our citation score is still a high 86.7, albeit down by a not so significant 0.2 points,” UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Ma. Cynthia Rose Bautista tells UP News. “It has been our strongest criterion, propelling UP to be among the top 500 universities in the world in the last 5 years. Interestingly, UP was among the top 10 universities in the world in terms of its citation score in the clinical, pre-clinical and health disciplines in 2020. Its score was higher than that of the top 10 universities in this field—the University of Oxford, Harvard University, University of Cambridge, Imperial College of London, Stanford University, University of Toronto, John Hopkins University, UCL UK, Yale University and Columbia University,” Bautista explained. THE’s 2021 world university ranking by subject has not yet been released.

UP is the first Philippine university to figure in the THE-WUR and the only one to break into its top 500. The national university first figured in the THE-WUR in its 2017 rankings where it placed in the 801+ bracket. It climbed to the top 601-800 in the 2018 rankings and to the top 501-600 in the 2019 rankings. UP then broke through to the top 500, within the 401-500 bracket, in the 2020 rankings.

UP’s jump into the top 500 has been powered mostly by its outstanding score in research citations or “influence in spreading new knowledge and ideas”. Its score leaped from 69.1 out of 100 in the 2019 rankings to 86.9 in the 2020 rankings.

De La Salle University is the only other Philippine university figuring in the THE-WUR, breaking into the top 801-1,000 in the 2019 rankings, before slipping to 1,001+ in the 2020 and 2021 rankings.

According to the THE-WUR website, “The University of Oxford tops the rankings for the fifth consecutive year, while mainland China’s Tsinghua University becomes the first Asian university to break into the top 20 under the current methodology.”

THE publishes some of the most influential rankings used by the global academic community, which include the Asia University Rankings, Asia-Pacific University Rankings, Emerging Economies University Rankings, and the World University Rankings by Subject.

Aside from the Elsevier data, responses from 22,000 scholars around the world are also used by THE, specifically in determining the academic reputation of universities. ###

Professor Emeritus Eufemio T. Rasco Jr.

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Achievements

Rasco Professor Emeritus18percentProf. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., PhD, a retired professor of the University of the Philippines Mindanao and an academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) of the DOST, has been conferred the title of Professor Emeritus by the UP Board of Regents during its 1352nd Meeting on 30 July 2020. Prior to joining UP Mindanao, Dr. Rasco served as a faculty member and an official of UP Los Baños and as a scientist in agricultural organizations. Prof. Rasco’s research and advocacies were plant breeding, genetically modified crops, underutilized bioresources, sustainable modern agriculture, and rural transformation through science-based support system for rice farmers, just to name a few. He is the author of The Unfolding Gene Revolution: Ideology, Science, and Regulation of Plant Biotechnology, which won the NAST Most Outstanding Book Award in 2008, and The Nypa Palm: Nature's Gift from the Age of the Dinosaurs, published in 2011. Some of the awards conferred to Dr. Rasco are the following: Outstanding Senior Staff from the UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding in 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1990; UPLB Outstanding Alumnus for Vegetable Breeding in 1986; Achievement Award for Agriculture from the Camarines Norte Association in 1987; Bicol Exemplar Award from DOST in 1989; Outstanding Senior Faculty from the UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. in 2009; and the Outstanding Alumnus Award conferred by the UP Alumni Association in 2009. Dr. Rasco served for 18 years as a faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies from 1997 until his retirement in 2015. He served as dean of CSM for two terms from 27 August 1998 to 26 August 2004, and he was seconded to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to become its executive director in July 2011. Dr. Rasco is the first professor emeritus from UP Mindanao.

Speakers, 9th International Conference on Agribiz Econ & Mgt

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Achievements

The keynote and plenary speakers in the 9th International Conference on Agribusiness Economics and Management, 13-15 November 2019

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Professor Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr.

Prof. Nayga is the Distinguished Professor and Tyson Endowed Chair in Food Policy Economics and Agribusiness at the University of Arkansas, United States. He received his PhD in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University, MS from University of Delaware, and BS in agribusiness economics from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). His research interests include the economics of food consumption, policy, and health. Prior to joining the University of Arkansas, he was a professor at Texas A&M University for twelve years and was a faculty member at Rutgers University, United States, and at Massey University, New Zealand. He has published more than 250 refereed articles in several economics, behavioral science, marketing, and public health journals. Prof. Nayga worked with other universities such as Korea University, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Zhejiang University, Waseda Institute of Advance Studies, Wageningen University, and the Institute of Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast

Mr. Grahame Dixie

Mr. Dixie is the executive director of Grow Asia, a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that catalyzes action on inclusive agricultural development in Southeast Asia. The platform convenes governments, farmers, nongovernment organizations, and other stakeholders to co-create value chain initiatives focused on smallholder farmers and environmental sustainability of agriculture. Mr. Dixie brings over thirty-five years of professional experience as a practitioner of agricultural development in over seventy-five countries, including an early career in the private sector. For the past decade, he served as the World Bank’s lead agribusiness advisor where he was involved in the design and review of the World Bank’s portfolio of projects linking smaller scale farmers to markets and agribusinesses. These programs leveraging public and private investment involved innovative financing and research on key issues. His work included advising World Bank teams globally on project design, emerging good practices, and key trends in the food and farm sector, with a focus on market-oriented farming and multi-stakeholder partnerships. More recently, he has served as an advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Dr. Kenneth Menz
Dr. Menz began his career as an agricultural scientist before spending the bulk of his working life as an agricultural economist. He specialized on the interface between agricultural science and economics from a range of perspectives (e.g., farming systems research, evaluation of agricultural research, factors affecting agricultural productivity, social science). He spent twenty years as research program manager for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), where such a multi-disciplinary orientation proved valuable. He has worked for universities (Queensland, Minnesota, RMIT), government agencies (Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics), international agencies (IITA, Nigeria), and he spent six years undertaking graduate work in the United States. Since “retiring” from ACIAR ten years ago, he continued engagement in head office consultancies as well as via active research roles in ACIAR research projects in Vietnam and the Philippines. Dr. Menz’ notable publications are in weed control economics and impact assessment.

Mr. Howard Hall
Mr. Hall is the research program manager for agribusiness in the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). He finished a bachelor of applied science (rural technology) from the University of Queensland and a graduate diploma of business studies from the University of New England. Prior to joining ACIAR, he founded and operated a specialist agribusiness consultancy for almost thirty years, working across tropical and temperate horticulture, intensive and extensive meat and seafood industries, grains, pulses and field crops, food packaging and processing. He has also worked as a senior manager in corporate agribusiness in the agricultural inputs sector and in both food manufacturing and food and grocery distribution. Mr. Hall has worked across North and Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific.

Dr. Rica Joy Flor
Dr. Flor is a postdoctoral fellow of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Wageningen University, the Netherlands (Wageningen University Postdoc Talent Program). She received her bachelor of arts in anthropology (cum laude) and master of arts in anthropology from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She got her PhD in social science (innovation studies) from Wageningen University where she was on a Global Rice Science Scholarship from IRRI. Dr. Flor has relevant experiences in applied social science research on technology adoption and innovation, impact assessment of technology change in agricultural innovation systems, and facilitating multi-stakeholder processes in agricultural research for development (AR4D) in Southeast Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.  See the video here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DRZY7uonW8rx3zDFszMKoTfyBdr765al/view?ts=5e181bc9

Synthesis of the talks by School of Management dean Pedro Alviola IV:
"The keynote and plenary speakers in their talks don't give definitive answers to some of our present problems because research is a process of discovery and learning. For that, I find the talks envigorating and inspiring. 
For Dr. Nayga who gave a talk on lab-produced meat, he motivated that major issues in the industry such as new and emerging diseases in commercially-imported livestock such as health risks or cardiovascular diseases, and that the agriculture sector especially the livestock sector is a major generator of greenhouse gasses in the world, there is impetus for developing sustainable technologies such as for example this lab-produced meat or in vitro meat that should be acceptable to consumers. They are predicated on the premise that consumers are willing to pay for these products. From the work of Dr. Nayga, there are insights that have been generated in terms of making sure that the information regarding these new technologies can be used by policy-makers and consumers in terms of the food labeling, food policies, and so on. It is important to communicate this information to consumers because  consumers are key to making sure that these products will be produced in the market. 
Mr. Grahame Dixie, in his talk, emphasized the inclusivity of value chains, because this can result in positive welfare and improved outcomes such as improvement in productivity, increased social benefits, with the goal of reducing poverty, increasing incomes, give better opportunities, and contribute to sustaining the environment. 
Dr. Menz talked about the importance of social capital where members of the community can access skills, expertise, knowledge, and information so that both the individual and the commnity can take advantage of its benefits. He emphasized that the provision of social capital can lead to better outcomes and can increase access to nutritionally better and safe foods. 
For Dr. Flor, her talk starts with a question. Why, despite the availability of integrated pest management packages, the farmer still heavily relies on pesticides? And she enumerated three reasons why. One, some people don't want to do that. Leave the insects alone. At the same time there are other policy imperatives such as food security which in the traditional sense increases the use of perticides for them to increase yield. Finally, there is a dearth of available technologies for possible alternatives towards methodologies or approaches that we use pesticides to control pests and diseases. Finally, she says there is a need to reconfigure the way we present incentives especially for alternative technologies to society and, much more importantly, there is a need to look at how acceptable these technologies are to farmers especially because farmers view these financial and technological constraints differently from the rest of us. 
Mr. Hall, in his talk, asks why, in spite of the significant contribution of smallholder farmers in the agrifood system are they still disconnected from the commercial agrifood chain? He enumerated some of the weaknesses such as issues in land ownership, limited credit access, risk aversion to technologies, disconnected farm-to-market roads, low business skills, little political and social voice, and outdated and unsustainable production processes. But despite this, farmers have been identified as agents of social change. They have real access to land, they are local experts, have good work ethic, they are innovators, are efficient, and most importantly, they generate ideas. The question Mr. Hall says is there is a need to reconfigure all of these private and public partnerships, that everyone needs to be on board and for everyone to re-assess from time to time what the modality should be so everyone is going to be there. So, again, the talks do not give definitive answers, perhaps they give more questions, but, more importantly, they give a road map on how to address these challenges."

UP breaks into top 500 in world rankings, 2019

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Achievements

London-based magazine Times Higher Education (THE) has placed the University of the Philippines in the world’s top 500 universities and fourth in the ASEAN region, according to the 2020 THE World University Rankings.The national university is listed in the 401-500 group of 1,396 ranked research universities.

This is UP’s fourth year in the rankings. It was included for the first time in 2017 among the top 1,000. The succeeding rankings showed marked improvement for UP as it climbed to the top 800 in the 2018 edition and to the top 600 for 2019.

THE assesses research-intensive universities based on 13 performance indicators in five pillars: teaching (30 percent), research (30 percent), research influence/citations (30 percent), international outlook (7.5 percent) and industry income (2.5 percent).

For 2020, UP has been ranked 159th in citations which places it in the top 11 percent of prestigious universities that have “influence in spreading new knowledge and ideas.” Its score in citations went up from last year’s 69.1 to 86.9. As indicator of research influence, 'citations' refers to the average number of times a university’s published work is cited by scholars globally. This year, THE's bibliometric data supplier Elsevier examined 77.4 million citations to 12.8 million journal articles, article reviews, conference proceedings, books and book chapters published over five years. The data include more than 23,400 academic journals indexed by Elsevier’s Scopus database and all indexed publications between 2014 and 2018. Citations to these publications made in the six years from 2014 to 2019 are also collected.

UP also scored better in teaching (from 21.7 to 24.1), research (from 16.4 to 17.2) and industry income (from 35.8 to 39.4). A global academic reputation survey partly determines the scores for teaching and research.UP, however, slipped in international outlook, with its score down from 39.5 to 37.9. International outlook considers the number of international students and staff as well as international collaboration.Only two universities from the Philippines appeared in the latest table. UP is still the leading university in the country.

THE publishes some of the most influential rankings used by the global academic community which include the Asia University Rankings, Asia-Pacific University Rankings, Emerging Economies University Rankings,  World University Rankings by Subject and Impact Rankings.

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