The Department of Science and Technology calls on young Filipino scientists to join the Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp) to be held July 12, 2010 at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Conference Center in Makati City. Deadline for registration and application is July 2, 2010.
Selection will be based on academic excellence and professional focus. Novartis shoulders all travel and accommodation expenses of the selected students.
During said BioCamp, two students will be selected to represent the Philippines in the International BioCamp to be held August 30 to September 2, 2010 at the Novartis International Headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. The International BioCamp is a pioneering biotechnology seminar for entrepreneurial, postgraduate students in science or business who are interested in pursuing a career in biotechnology, according to Novartis.
Building up country’s pool of scientists
“Novartis conducts annual Local BioCamps to enhance the country’s research and development capabilities crucial for improving the quality of Philippine healthcare,” according to Mr. Eric van Oppens, President & CEO of Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
“We are trying to help improve the healthcare system on several fronts,” van Oppens explained. “One of these fronts is biotech research, which has been pivotal in advances made in the life sciences and medicine.”
DOST Secretary Dr. Estrella Alabastro lauded Novartis for helping develop the country’s next generation of scientists and researchers, a breed of professionals she described as fast becoming an “endangered species”. She underscored the urgency of addressing the dwindling number of scientists and researchers who are actually practicing in the Philippines.
“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Novartis Philippines in supporting and complementing the government’s efforts in developing a culture of science and research in the Philippines as well as in building up the country’s pool of competent and highly skilled scientists and researchers,” Secretary Alabastro said.
Secretary Alabastro noted that young Filipino scientists chosen to represent the country in the International BioCamp “stand to learn so much—not only in starting up a biotech company, but also industry secrets on how to attract investors, which is a very important component for technology commercialization.”
The future of Philippine R&D
In 2006, Mr. Dennis Bela-Ong, currently taking up a Ph.D in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and Ms. Frances Vega, who holds a M.S. in Chemistry and M.A. in Political Science (Major in Global Politics/International Relations) from the Ateneo de Manila University, represented the Philippines in the International BioCamp in Singapore.
In 2007, Mr. Michael Bahrami Hessari, a cum laude graduate of B.S. Microbiology from the University of Santo Tomas, and Ms. Carla Bianca Victorio, a magna cum laude graduate of B.S. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from UP Diliman, were chosen to represent the Philippines in the International BioCamp in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2008, Mr. Jun Ryan Orbina, a Masters in Public Health student from U.P. Manila, and Ms. Christina Leyson, a Masters in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology student from U.P. Diliman were chosen to represent the country in the International BioCamp in Hong Kong.
In 2009, Mr. Janill Magano, a 21-year-old second year academic scholar at the Far Eastern University-Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, and Ms. Kellsye Fabian, a 22-year-old molecular biology instructor at UP Diliman, represented the country in the International BioCamp in Cambridge, Massachusetts.