VC Bantayan talks about UPLB AGORA on Tuklas UPLB Season 4 episode
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Tuklas UPLB opens its fourth season by featuring UPLB’s newest research and extension agenda called “AGORA” or Accelerating Growth through One Research and Extension in Action, as explained by Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Nathaniel C. Bantayan.

VC Bantayan told during the interview, “Ang UPLB AGORA ay pinakabagong research and extension agenda na isang pagtugon sa plataporma ni Chancellor Dong Camacho,” which is to strategize the university’s R&E efforts to ensure that these will reach various communities and address society’s most urgent and most important issues at present and also in the future.

The initiative started in July 2021 during the UPLB Strategic Planning Workshop and continued until September 2021, leading to two university-wide meetings that were held to consult UPLB researchers, extensionists, and personnel on the then proposed frameworks for developing and implementing R&E programs and services.

Sa pag-aaral at pananaliksik ng dalawang Ad Hoc Committee – ang isa ay tumutok sa research at ang isa pa ay tumutok sa extension – at sa utos ni Chancellor, dito sa OVCRE ay pinag-isa natin itong mga research and extension outputs ng dalawang Ad Hoc committees,” he said.

In order to truly benefit priority stakeholders, Dr. Bantayan also mentioned that UPLB AGORA will be utilized by all colleges and units in mapping out and enriching their R&E initiatives, as guided by its four focus areas – Food Security and Sovereignty, One Health, Resilience and Sustainability, and Future Communities and Institutions.

VC Bantayan identified two of the four pillars of the Food Security and Sovereignty focus area, “maging available at sustainable lagi ang pagkain para sa mamamayan,” together with accessibility and stability. These pillars guide the university as it continuously ensures people’s access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food.

Dito tinitingnan ang kapakanan ng mga animals na ginagamit natin para sa ating kabuhayan. Tinitignan din ang kapakanan ng ating environment, at higit sa lahat ang kapakanan ng ating mamamayan. Ito ay tinitignan natin bilang isang programa na may union ng lahat ng sangay na ito,” said Dr. Bantayan regarding the core of the One Health focus area. This also covers disease prevention and mitigation, environmental hazard protection and conservation, and resilience of ecosystems to guarantee the improvement of the community’s physical, emotional, social, and mental wellness.

VC Bantayan emphasized the importance of studying the impact of natural disasters in our environment and enumerated some of the programs under the Resilience and Sustainability focus area, “Dito tinatalakay ang disaster risk reduction and management, ang climate change in terms of mitigation and adaptation.” This focus area is geared towards enhancing the capacities of stakeholders while being anchored on the pillars of human capital, environmental, social, and economic principles.

He also cited several initiatives targeted by the Future Communities and Institutions focus area, “Dito ‘yung pag-engage natin sa local government units in terms of governance and policy, at pag-tutok din sa tinatawag nating alternative energy, o kaya mga different food sources natin, for example ay vertical farming sa ating mga communities and cities.”

Asked on the future of UPLB’s R&E services and collaboration with local and international partners given the upcoming launch of UPLB AGORA, VC Bantayan stressed the importance of knowing, understanding, and taking into consideration the university’s stakeholders and industry partners in promoting and commercializing the technology and outputs of UPLB’s research and extension activities. “Sa pamamagitan ng ating mga focus areas, mas malinaw ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa ating mga stakeholders. Number one dyan ang mga farmers at farmer communities. Paano ba natin sila tutulungan sa ating mga extension activities na gagamitin natin ang mga research outputs,” he said.

This rebranded R&E agenda was first introduced through the distribution of the 2022 UPLB AGORA Wall Calendar, a visual material showcasing the university’s champion technologies which addressed the four focus areas.

On 4 March, the physical hub and exhibit of this R&E agenda will also be launched at the Technology Hub and One-Stop Shop beside Charles Fuller Baker Hall. On 7 March, UPLB AGORA will also be holding its Grand Launch, accompanied by the opening of the AGORA Research Grant for Students where they will be given a year and PhP75,000 funding to conduct their research.

Magkakaroon din ng UPLB AGORA Conference, marahil sa September o October, kaya po abangan natin lahat ito at tayo po ay magbibigay ng mga announcements,” Dr. Bantayan added.

VC Bantayan was also enthusiastic in encouraging UPLB staff to draw research topics from UPLB AGORA for the proposals, projects, and programs they will be conducting and submitting for local and international agency funding.

Tuklas UPLB airs every second and fourth Friday of the month as part of Radyo DZLB’s Galing UPLB! Program. This program is jointly produced by the UPLB College of Development Communication, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, Office of Public Relations, and Office of Alumni Relations.