A research and development (R&D) center is designing, developing and fabricating an electric tricycle (e-trike) that focuses on the reduction of weight through an improved body shell design and lightweight materials.

Besides that, the e-trike will be responsive to the pandemic situation by ensuring that its design allows physical distancing and prevents the spread of viral infections.

The project is one of the highlights of the first summit of the Niche Centers in the Region for R&D (Nicer) that was held on Friday by the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Science for Change (S4C) Program, a news release said.

The online event titled, “Conference on Accelerating STI in the Country through a Regionally Inclusive R&D,” showcased 37 innovation hubs from the 17 regions in the country.

The e-trike is a project of the E-Mobility R&D Center led by Cagayan State University and the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The Nicer will redesign a lightweight chassis, improve mechanical energy transmission systems, and determine the optimal electronic/electrical systems for the mechanical design of the tricycle.

After assembly and integration of the different parts to create the e-trike, its performance will be tested in actual road conditions.

Besides, the center will design the electrical and electronic components of e-tricycle. It will also determine if the conversion of conventional tricycle to e-trike will be viable.

Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said: “Our Nicer Centers are actively taking on the challenge of elevating the products, commodities, and expertise of the regions through the development of smart and innovative solutions and strategies.”

“Through inclusive innovation  where no Region will be left behind and  a properly supported R&D network, our country will be able to sustain itself and remain resilient, particularly in difficult times,” de la Peña added.

For her part, Science Undersecretary for R&D, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said: “The Nicer Program has catalyzed collaborations among academe, national government agencies, local government units, and private industry, which in turn, contributed to accelerating the country’s social and economic development.”

Guevara explained that through the establishment of the Nicers,  Filipino researchers “were able to advance their role from the status quo of peer-centric R&D toward a society-centric R&D.”

This advancement ensures that the researchers are focused on achieving socio-economic impact from their research efforts in addition to training young scientists, frequent publications, and technology development, she said.

“Through society-centric R&D efforts and inclusive innovation, the Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved,” she added.

The event called for the universities and research institutions, in collaboration with the government agencies and the private sector, to join the aspiration of pursuing inclusive innovation. The next Call for Proposals is on March 2022.

With all the stakeholders engaged in the establishment of the Nicers, it is evident that academe-industry-government collaboration really works and indeed boosts regional development.

“We are excited how these collaborations and partnerships will grow, continue to expand, and give birth eventually to new national research, development, and innovation institutions. We need the commitment, support, and assistance of everyone in making it happen in the not-so-distant future,” said Science Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang.

The House of Representatives approved the Science for Change Program (S4CP) bill, in its third and final reading in September. It is hoped that the Senate will soon start discussing the S4CP bill.

By institutionalizing the S4CP, a massive increase in R&D investments will address issues that hold back the Philippines from fully benefiting from science, technology, and innovation, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the S4C news release said.

Image courtesy of S4CP photo

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