MORE YOUTH IN STEM.  DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (center), and Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) director Edgar Garcia (second from right), hope more youth would be interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, during a press conference held at the SMX Aura, BGC on Tuesday (March 3, 2020). They are also hopeful that more students would develop a culture of innovation. Other officials in the photo are Science and Technology Information Institute director Richard Burgos (left), Phivolcs director Renato Solidum, Jr. (second from left), and DOST Assistant Secretary Diana Ignacio (right). (PNA photo by Cristina Arayata

MANILA — Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officials are hoping more youth would be interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and would also try innovation.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Taguig City, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña and DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) director Edgar Garcia both mentioned they noticed many good entries of students in the National Invention Contest & Exhibits (NICE) currently being held at SMX Aura, BGC in Taguig.

“Maraming kabataan ngayon ang nagpapakita ng husay sa invention (Many of today’s youth show their skills in invention),” dela Peña said, adding that there are some entrees that look better than those made by older people.

NICE is a biennial activity that showcases inventions that won in the regional leg. Winners in the national level would receive cash prizes, certificate of recognition. TAPI may also assist them in working on the inventions’ intellectual property registration.

“We really encourage the youth, our students, to be more interested in STEM,” he remarked.

The contest has five categories: “Likha” (creative research) for patent-pending inventions, registration-pending utility models and industrial designs, and research results not yet applied for patent, utility model, and industrial design registration; “Sibol” (student creative research category) for new and innovative projects or models developed by college and high school student; “Tuklas” (invention) for new and innovative projects/models developed by college and high school students, to be awarded to the most outstanding invention with the most potential for widespread commercialization; “Utility Model” for any technical solution of a problem in any field of human activity which is new and industrially applicable; and “Industrial Design” for any composition of lines or colors or any three-dimensional form whether or not associated with lines or colors, provided that such composition or form gives a special appearance to and can serve as pattern for an industrial product or handicraft.

TAPI staff Sonia dela Corte told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that ideally, there are first, second and third prizes per category. However, it is possible that judges may not choose any entry for an award (e.g. no qualifier for the third place). It is also possible that judges may announce a tie in a prize, she added.

Winners may win PHP30,000 to PHP300,000, depending on the category.

Winners will be announced during the NICE closing ceremonies on Thursday.

There are 13 entries from college students, and 14 from high school students in the “Sibol” category. These will be judged based on originality (30 percent), methodology (30 percent), market potential (30 percent), presentation (10 percent).

Dela Peña and Garcia both clarified that those who would not win may still seek for assistance from TAPI through its various programs. “We, of course, would like to select the best (in this contest),” dela Peña said. (PNA)