Driving growth in the Philippines by linking education and industry

STRIDE—Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, Florida State University, Rutgers University, Philippine Business for Education

The Philippines has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, expected to grow from the 44th to the 16th largest by 2050. To keep up with this rate of growth, the nation’s industries will have to more clearly define their need for science and technology services, while enhancing the capacity of universities to train graduates in high-demand skills.

Similarly, initiatives are needed to encourage collaborative innovation between and among universities and industry—in order to harness the intellectual capital of the country’s higher-education system to sustainably and efficiently support Philippine prosperity.

Connecting Universities and Industry through Grants, Scholarships, and Infrastructure

To address these needs, we are leading a five-year effort, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, known as STRIDE—Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development.

Launched in 2013, STRIDE works in support of the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth with Equity, a White House initiative that promotes broad-based and inclusive growth. The program helps form partnerships between universities and industries to enhance the nation’s capacity for innovation-led economic growth.

Using a number of initiatives, STRIDE seeks to

  • Improve research qualifications of faculty and staff
  • Boost research capacity in key disciplines
  • Strengthen university-industry links in high-growth economic sectors
  • Bolster the policy and management capacity of higher-education institutions in science, technology, and innovation

In pursuit of these goals, we are administering a grants program to support collaborative industry-university research projects and research exchanges between Philippine and U.S. universities, as well as awarding scholarships for advanced studies and research in the United States. We are also managing a visiting U.S. faculty program, placement of faculty externs in industries, the establishment of Professional Science Master’s degrees, and advanced technical training for research professionals. Under STRIDE, we are also mentoring a network of nearly 40 Knowledge and Technology Transfer Offices in universities and working to improve university career centers for sustained linkages with Philippine industry.

Our experts are supporting improvements in Philippine infrastructure and helping local universities manage research more efficiently through diagnostics that improve their administration and business processes. Working with the Philippine government, we are passing on good practices from our grant and scholarship programs and assisting in bringing together relevant government departments to form an inclusive innovation strategy.

Building a Foundation to Strengthen the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ecosystem

To date, STRIDE has awarded 68 research grants, worth over USD5.5million, to Philippine universities collaborating with Philippine businesses and U.S. universities, as well as 56 scholarships to Filipino graduate students to allow them to study in the United States. In addition, STRIDE has conducted assessments of the Philippine innovation ecosystem, the Philippine agribusiness innovation ecosystem, and Philippine industry-innovation needs.

STRIDE also hosts innovation workshops that provide a forum for industries and academia to share new ideas in alternative energy, translational medicine, electronics, chemical industries, agribusiness, and information technology, with cross-cutting themes of manufacturing and new product development. Subsequent calls for grants are focused on one or more of these sectors.

By helping industries to become active stakeholders in university research and universities to become market-driven providers, and building institutional structures to support and sustain this system, STRIDE is playing an active role in facilitating economic development in the Philippines. Along the way, we are helping to build a professional workforce with world-class technology, equipping more graduates to participate in the global economy as employees, researchers, and entrepreneurs.