Economists predict that the Philippines will be the world’s 16th largest economy in 2050—currently, the nation is 44th—so there is a significant demand for more technologically savvy, globally-focused, and properly trained labor in the Philippines. A five-year, $32 million USAID grant, the “Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE)” project, aims to expand sustainable economic growth by improving collaborative science, technology, and innovative research between the U.S. and the Philippines.
Rutgers’ participation in the project—under the direction of Dr. Mark Robson, dean of agricultural and urban programs at the Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS)—focuses on economic development, science and technology investment, and training of young Philippine scientists through faculty exchanges, country visits, master’s programs, mentorship programs, and scholarships.
This week, Rutgers welcome the first three STRIDE scholars from the Philippines to study under the professional science master’s (PSM) program at Rutgers: Micaela Cristina Perlada, Arlan James Rodeo, and Peter Immanuel Tenido. A fourth scholar, doctoral candidate Richard Licayan, will arrive in October.
“Rutgers has one of the largest PSM programs in the US,” Robson said. “Under the STRIDE project, Rutgers is developing 10 professional science master’s (PSM) programs in the Philippines and will assist in training 55 Filipino scientists who will come to the US for master’s in business and science (MBS) degrees."
The STRIDE consortium is led by RTI International, a nonprofit organization that provides research and technical services to governments and businesses in more than 75 countries in health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, energy, and more; other partners include Florida State University, William Davidson Institute, and the University of Michigan.
Through these participating universities, the project aims to award 30 Philippine faculty members with research grants that allow them to spend one academic year in the United States; 27 smaller grants that support collaborative research; 55 scholarships to Philippine university instructors seeking advanced degrees; 55 scholarships for Philippine graduate students to conduct dissertation research in the United States; and 150 postdoctoral training fellowships. The project will also facilitate visiting faculty appointments and connect them to the needs of local industry.
Rutgers and the Philippines have had formal relations nearly 15 years, resulting in two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that establish a scholarly exchange and cover a range of research topics. The university currently hosts more than 25 students from the Philippines and fosters a cross-cultural environment through student-run programs like the Rutgers Association of Philippine Students.