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Bringing Science, Technology, and Innovation to the Forefront of Philippine Economic Development

The Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program supported the path towards innovation-led inclusive growth in the Philippines


With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program strengthened higher education institutions, government programs, and the regulatory framework towards innovation-led growth in the Philippines.  


STRIDE leveraged multi-sectoral collaborations and targeted technical assistance to increase the impact of science and technology. By improving research productivity at Philippine universities and promoting collaboration among stakeholders, a robust innovation ecosystem was fostered that drives economic development.


STRIDE engaged 125 Philippine and 54 U.S. higher education institutions (HEIs) while also helping mobilize $7.2 million in Philippine government funding towards an enhanced innovation ecosystem. When STRIDE started in 2013, the Philippines ranked 90th in the Global Innovation Index (GII).  Since then, through visionary leadership at all levels, bold initiatives, strategic investments, and sustained collaboration, the Philippines rose to the top half of the rankings and was recognized as an “innovation achiever” for three years in a row (2019–2021).


The Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Program, funded by USAID and implemented by RTI, was USAID/Philippines’ flagship higher education project supporting the country’s path toward innovation-led inclusive growth.  

From the beginning, STRIDE aimed to improve research capacity and output, as well as enhance the qualifications of faculty and staff in select programs and universities in the Philippines. The program also focused on strengthening linkages between industry and academia and worked to establish or strengthen partnerships between U.S. and Philippine universities.

As the program progressed, STRIDE also provided targeted technical assistance to the Philippine government on innovation, including:

  • Strengthening the capacity of agencies and institutions central to the innovation ecosystem, including the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, Commission on Higher Education, National Economic and Development Authority, and the Philippine Association for State Universities and Colleges.  
  • Enhancing linkages between industry, academia, and the government, including providing on-demand analysis and studies to inform strategic decision-making, and organizing events and activities to provide venues for stronger collaboration.
  • Supporting policy and regulatory frameworks aimed to address national and institutional policy efforts to streamline grant and scholarship mechanisms, improve procurement policies impinging on science and technology research, as well as enhancing communications efforts of various agencies towards a broader appreciation of the benefits of science and innovation. 

Philippine Universities Creating Impact

STRIDE introduced various mechanisms that demonstrated best practices in strengthening relevant student and teacher training, while also increasing innovation outputs at HEIs.  

The program provided grants and scholarships to Philippine students and researchers to expand their expertise in science and technology research and applications. STRIDE also supported HEIs to better access government funding by increasing institutional capacity for research and supplementing research management and productivity skills of staff through the Skills in Technical and Advanced Research Training (START) program courses.  

STRIDE also worked with HEIs to improve their capability to link with industry through the development of career centers and industry-driven curricula through the establishment of several Professional Science Master’s degrees and Knowledge and Technology Transfer Offices (KTTOs).

Results by the Numbers

  • 125 Philippine HEIs supported.
  • 54 U.S. universities engaged in various STRIDE activities.
  • 57 scholarships awarded to scientists and engineers to study or conduct research at U.S. universities.
  • 73 research grants awarded totaling $5.6M.
  • 100 capacity development programs and services established.

Fostering Sustainable Innovation in the Philippines

For innovation efforts to be impactful, the regulatory and policy pathways need to be clear and supportive for everyone in the innovation ecosystem — from the academic researchers churning out new technologies to the government implementers funding research and development (R&D). STRIDE tackled various policy aspects to further unlock the potential of Filipino innovators.

Results by the Numbers:

  • 40 policies, strategies, and plans approved and implemented.  
  • 700+ government officers and university faculty trained.

Convening Diverse Stakeholder to Promote Innovation in the Philippines

Despite the Philippine government’s commitment to increasing expenditure for science and technology, the various actors within the innovation ecosystem remained siloed when STRIDE began its activities. Close coordination was necessary to harmonize policies and address institutional constraints, all of which hindered progress.  

STRIDE partnered with the relevant government agencies to support cohesiveness of the government’s innovation strategy, promote coordination between agencies, and identify policy constraints to be addressed.

Results by the Numbers

  • 8 Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers established.
  • 417 partnerships formed.
  • $7.5M mobilized for innovation.  

Throughout its nine years of implementation, STRIDE’s approach towards achieving its objectives centered on serving as the multisectoral partner of choice for innovation initiatives. From targeted capacity building impacting 125 Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs), to orchestrating a cohesive network of different stakeholder groups for eight Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers, STRIDE’s dynamic interventions were responsive to evolving partner needs that spanned two government administrations, as well as the massive disruptions of the global pandemic.  

Ultimately, the project brought people together to make meaningful changes in the innovation space.