National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines

The country's premier recognition and advisory body on Science and Technology

NAST Tagline

" A Progressive Philippines Anchored on Science"
(This is used in letterheads and communications pieces from NAST)
 
NAST Vision
 
NAST as an academy of recognized experts serves as principal adviser to the nation on science, technology, and innovation contributing to national development.
(This is an internal image of what NAST expects itself to be in the future).
 
Mission
    • To recognize scientists for their exemplary science and technology achievements, and to identify and support emerging scientific talent.
    • To encourage Academy members to continue their own scholarly pursuits.
    • To provide independent advice on the utilization of science, technology, and innovation.
    • To promote a strong science culture in Philippine society.
    • To link with national academies of science and technology in other countries.
 
Strategic Plan 2014-2019
 
The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Strategic Plan is a rolling six-year program. In 2014 the strategic plan is for 2014 until 2019 inclusive. It shall be revised every year. In 2015 it will be Strategic Plan 2015-2020, dropping 2014 and adding a sixth year 2020.
 
This Plan consists of four major components:
 
I- Continuing Mandates, II- Themes, III- Special Initiatives, and IV- Support   Mobilization for S&T and Academy Programs. These components form an integrated whole because the Academy needs all of them in order to fulfill its responsibilities to both the nation and the international scientific community.  However, each component plays a different role in the life of the Academy.
 
I. The Continuing Mandates
 
The five overarching Continuing Mandates are:
  • Recognize exemplary science and technology achievements, and identify and support emerging scientific talent
  • Encourage and support the continuing scholarly work of academy members.
  • Offer independent advice on national problems substantially rooted in science and technology.
  • Strengthen Science and Technology Culture at All Levels in Philippine Society.
  • Link with National Academies of Science and Technology in other countries.
 
The Academy will appoint a Standing Committee for each Mandate, with members drawn from as many Divisions as appropriate. The Executive Council shall ensure that studies on the Mandates proceed on a continuous basis, and that their recommendations for policy and action are heard, promoted and implemented.  Each Standing Committee will plan for the development of each Mandate. The program may include research fellowships, round table discussions, science information fora, legislative fora, publications, and such other activities that the Committee deems appropriate. It may generate funding support for these purposes with the assistance of the Executive Council.  Each Standing Committee shall report to the Executive Council on its progress regularly.  Those reports will be shared with all Members of the Academy for their comments, critiques  and  continuing  support. Members are encouraged to get involved in these Continuing Mandates even if they are not in the Standing Committees.
 
a. Recognizing exemplary science and technology achievements, and identifying and supporting emerging scientific talent.
 
The Academy will recognize and support outstanding scientists and, to the extent possible, nurture their younger colleagues and S&T institutions.   Our programs of recognition are in support of this Continuing Mandate.  These include:
  • The election of Academicians
  • The selection of National Scientists
  • The election of Corresponding Members
  • The selection of various NAST Awardees

The plan of the Academy within this Continuing Mandate is to make our recognition system more financially viable so that the budget will not be a constraint to the election of outstanding scientists to the Academy and to the nomination of the best among us to be National Scientists. We shall also endeavor to streamline our awards system, so that it will become better known and more competitive. We also want, through them, to be able to encourage more scholars and students from all regions of the country to aspire for and win a NAST Award.
 
Some of our work in this area may be focused on developing particular types of scientists and scientific institutions.  For instance, for engineering education, the Engineering Sciences Division led in building consensus on the country’s position on membership in the Washington Accord.  The Philippine Technological Council is now a provisional member of the Washington Accord. The Division is also forging collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs to fund the promotion and enhancement of engineering education and engineering services.   Meanwhile, the Health Sciences Division is looking into the situation of medical education and how to retain more medical practitioners and researchers. Other Divisions may develop similar endeavors on behalf of their specialists and institutions.
 
b. Continuing Scholarly Work of Academy Members
 
We need to make our Research Fellowships better able to support the exemplary research of our Members.
 
c. Offering independent advice on national problems substantially rooted in science and technology.
 
Incorporation of S&T in Legislation and National Policies. Preparation of Position Papers on public issues with substantial scientific content and public policy implications. Academicians with their institutions and/or private associations are involved in various initiatives of NAST.
 
d. Strengthening science and technology culture at all levels in Philippine society.  
 
If the country is to progress, it must develop a culture that recognizes the ways of thought, findings and limitations of science.  It must also develop and recognize the scientific capability of persons and institutions that will further contribute to the growth of science and technology.  To echo the Mission Statement of the Inter-Academy Panel(now the Global Network of Academies) to which we belong:
 
IAP and its member academies believe that science, scientific knowledge and scientific progress are essential to advance human welfare and well-being.  They also believe that the scientific method has much to offer in the pursuit of just and fair societies. These beliefs are the foundation of IAP and all its does.
 
The Academy plans to promote science education and culture through liaisons with CHED and the Department of Education, to ensure that the essential ways of thought, findings and limitations of science are the bases in science courses.
 
Our programs also include:
    • The  creation  and  operation  of  the  Salinlahi  or  the  Philippine Science Heritage Center
    • The publication of Transactions, and NAST monographs and books
    • The  weekly  columns,  “Educators  Speak,”in  the  Manila  Bulletin and “Star Science” in the Philippine Star contributed by Academicians and Outstanding Young Scientists
 
Initiate a new weekly column, “Scientists Speak” in a newspaper contributed by Academicians and other scientists, particularly on issues touching on policy, and contributing to public understanding of science, technology, and innovations, as they impact national issues
 
e. Linking with National Academies of Science and Technology in other countries.
 
The Academy will continue to establish links with various Science and Technology academies of the world.
 
The Academy presently has linkages with  national academies of sciences and their equivalents and is a member of the Global Network of Science Academies (Inter Academy Panel, IAP) and the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA).
 
II. Themes
 
The Academy recognizes that at this stage of this country’s development, it faces significant problems in the solution of which science and technology are indispensable. The Academy will appoint a Standing Committee on Themes, to consider a set of selected thematic areas judged to be of strategic and immediate importance to the Philippines. These thematic areas would be broad and cut across the scopes of the six divisions of NAST. Typically, two or more divisions would have significant expertise and involvement in each of the thematic areas.  One of these areas would be selected as the theme for an Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM). One Division would be designated as primarily responsible for planning an ASM with substantial support and participation from other Divisions of the Academy. The set and description of thematic areas might change during a six-year strategic planning period due to the occurrence of unpredicted events. The activity of the Academy on a specific theme might go beyond the holding of an ASM. The Standing Committee on Themes will ensure that the thematic areas address critical science and technology issues of the nation, and the timely consideration of themes for the ASMs.

Each ASM Theme will be the subject of intensive discussion during an Annual Scientific Meeting, as well as of round-table discussions, workshops and other fora, and other activities of the Academy preceding the ASM.

The Academy will encourage each Division to develop an ASM theme as it sees fit and appropriate.   It will in no way restrict the creativity of the membership in advancing understanding of the chosen themes, in consultation with the other divisions.
 
III.  Special Initiatives
 
In the past, Special Initiatives have been devoted to research, publications or seminars that an Academician or group of Academicians may propose for funding support or sponsorship by the Academy.  Following our tradition, a research fellowship is given for a year and may be renewed for another year.  Publications or seminars may be done in shorter periods of time.
 
In addition to continuing the types of activities carried out in the past, this third component of the Strategic Plan, Special Initiatives, will be utilized by the Academy to undertake short term and medium term projects involving groups of Academy members to take leadership roles in several S&T initiatives that are being launched in 2013. For example, the Philippine-California Advanced Research Initiative (PCARI) is a massive project funded by CHED to significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of graduate programs in targeted areas of S&T to enhance the direct impact on the economy. There is a similar effort from the USAID-Philippines, Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE). Finally, the Philippine Development plan from NEDA has a substantial component of S&T. The NAST should have a substantial role, as adviser on S&T for the nation, to ensure maximum benefit of these activities, to the Filipino people. These additional Special Initiatives will require quick action of the NAST Executive Council as opportunities arise rapidly in 2014. They are directly related to supporting Mandates 3 and 4.

Another Special Initiative is to start a dialogue with a government agency to explore the agency’s need for advice from NAST, in the form of a Study Project, to be funded by the agency. The Project could be a study by a committee or group of experts, whereby the members might not all be members of the Academy. The members would be chosen so that conflicts of interest are avoided. If a certain view can be expected from a member, another member is added to represent the alternate view, so that the committee as a whole would be balanced. It is hoped that in a few years, NAST would be conducting commissioned studies, as requested by government agencies. The government is stimulating the growth of Public-Private-Partnerships to have significant influence on the economy and more specifically to improve the welfare of the Filipino people.  The Academy could explore the development of Public-Private-Partnerships that have substantial S&T components.
 
A final special initiative is to conduct a study to forecast the growth of the Academy in terms of projected numbers of National Scientists, Academicians, and Corresponding Members, if there were no limits in the existing laws. A collateral part of the study is to explore the feasibilities and realities of proposing amendments to the law if the projections exceed the limits.

IV. Support Mobilization for S&T and Academy Programs
 
This set of activities encompasses how research and action on the Continuing Mandates, the Themes, and the Special Initiatives will involve other scientific organizations, universities, government agencies and other S&T stakeholders. For this purpose, the Academy shall endeavor to use its prestige to rally other institutions to pay attention to these issues not only by their involvement in its public meetings but also through such devices as a national focus on a continuing mandate or theme, the promulgation of a NAST President’s Statement, the circulation of a NAST Resolution, and the publication of a NAST White Paper.
 
a. A National Focus on a Theme. 
 
The Academy may seek a presidential proclamation of a particular year as the Year of a Theme (e.g., 2008 as The Year of Biotechnology) similar   to   the   annual   pronouncements   of   the   United   Nations. Alternatively, or in conjunction with that proclamation, the NAST may secure the commitment of government departments and international organizations for their respective research agencies to  provide  funds  and  resources  in  support  of  that Theme’s development. The NAST may also recommend to academic and research institutions that the various facets of a Theme be the subject of research, dissemination and publication throughout that year. It would also rally other stakeholders such as business and industry to consider possibilities of commercialization, media to popularize these issues, universities to undertake special seminars or courses on these issues, and so on.
 
b. “The NAST President’s Statements”
 
The President of the Academy may issue a Statement when there is a matter of immediate and urgent concern to the nation where the voice of science and technology must be heard.  A Statement is a public position of the Academy on a scientific or societal problem. Each Statement will introduce the issue, state its S&T basis (and therefore the rationale for NAST involvement), and declare the recommendation, policy proposal or position of the Academy on the issue. It will be brief but will be better fleshed out than a NAST Resolution.
 
A Statement may be based on a finding and recommendation of a Standing Committee on a Continuing Mandate, the result of a Round Table Discussion, or a NAST Resolution promulgated during an Annual Scientific Meeting.  It may also be based on the recommendations of a Task Force called by the President or the Executive Council for that purpose.
 
c.  NAST Resolutions
 
A Resolution is a product of an Academy’s program, be it a round-table discussion, a workshop, or a discussion at an Annual Scientific Meeting. It embodies the conclusions of the body of Academicians and other stakeholders on an issue that has been publicly presented and discussed. It states the premises for the resolution, the actions to be executed, and the institutions and persons the Academy deems appropriate to do something about the situation. NAST has produced such resolutions for ASMs for a long time.  Under this Strategic Plan, more thorough follow-up of the fate of our Resolutions will be undertaken.  For a Resolution requiring urgent action, the Executive Council may decide to lend it the gravitas of the NAST leadership by transforming it into a NAST President’s Statement.
 
d. NAST White Papers
 
A NAST White Paper on the other hand is a more lengthy and detailed exposition of a national issue – be it a problem, a challenge or an opportunity. It will explain more fully the bases, origins and consequences of the issue and NAST’s recommendations on how it may be resolved beneficially.