Paris, France — Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal signed a Program of Cooperation (POC) in Science, Technology, and Innovation which will update the implementation of the 1978 Philippines-France Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation on May 23, 2019.
Under the POC, the Philippines and France will cooperate on mutually beneficial scientific technological, and innovative activities on various areas, including nuclear applications in the health sector, biological sciences, researches on genomics and personalized medicines, agri-tech, industry, energy, and other emerging technology, among others.
The POC details the commitments by the two sides to facilitate and encourage collaborative activities that will deepen the Philippines-France relations on science, technology, and innovation.
Prior to the signing of the POC, Secretary de la Peña and Minister Vidal exchanged views on how to further promote and expand the Philippines-France bilateral engagements. In particular, Secretary de La Peña conveyed the plan to send more Filipino scholars and scientists to France to undertake post-graduate studies and research. He also expressed hope for more French scholars and scientists to go the Philippines. Minister Vidal said that both countries can build on this collaboration for the long-term.
The Science and Technology Secretary also raised closer bilateral cooperation in health and agri-technology. He also sought closer links with France in space development as the Philippines is in the process of establishing its own Philippine Space Agency. Minister Vidal said that she will ask the concerned French agencies to contact their Philippine counterparts.
During his three-day official visit, Secretary De La Peña visited facilities such as Institut de la Vision, one of the most prominent eye diseases research centers in Europe; Institut Imagine, a research and innovative healthcare institution that gathers under one roof researchers, doctors and patients with the objective of treating genetic diseases; and Station F, the biggest start-up campus in France.
Included as well in his three-day itinerary were meetings with UniLaSalle President Philippe Choquet where discussions focused on possible partnerships between UniLaSalle and Philippine colleges and universities specifically in the field of agri-technology, Filipino scholars in Paris, and French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) Vice Chief Executive Officer Claire Giry, who reaffirmed INSERM’s commitment to continue discussions on holding a joint scientific seminar with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Secretary de la Peña was joined by Science and Technology Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Christina L. Guevara, and DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development executive director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya.