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SERP-P Network gears up for Industry 4.0

A total of 65 representatives from 32 partner-institutions in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao took part in the 5th Network Biennial Meeting of the Socioeconomic Research Portal for the Philippines (SERP-P) Project held on December 10, 2018, at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in Quezon City. The purpose of the meeting was to review the progress of the SERP-P project implementation and plan for ways forward. It was also aimed at strengthening the partnership in knowledge exchange among the 54 members of the SERP-P Network. This year’s theme was “Gearing Up for SERP-P 4.0”.

In her opening remarks, PIDS President Celia Reyes recognized SERP-P as a resilient knowledge network due to the strong partnership among the network members. “SERP-P can be considered a product of the information age in which the centerpiece is the concept of a knowledge-based economy. But it is even more than that. Because SERP-P promotes knowledge networking, it is also part of a network economy where the knowledge produced by its members are shared among and across various local and international networks,” Dr. Reyes added.

Commenting on the theme, Dr. Reyes emphasized that as the Philippines enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe), also known as Industry 4.0, digital technologies should be explored to produce smart and sustainable products and services that are also accessible to all segments of society.

“We should be open to explore new things and be ready to learn, unlearn, and relearn. We should be open to collaborate with one another and with other sectors and stakeholders in generating new knowledge, in applying them, and in evaluating their usefulness,” Dr. Reyes concluded.

SERP-P accomplishments

SERP-P Project Manager Sheila Siar together with SERP-P Coordinator Jachin Aberilla then presented the accomplishments of the project since the last biennial meeting in 2016. Dr. Siar revisited the outputs of the visioning exercise from the 4th biennial meeting and mentioned that one of the main goals of the network for 2018 is to have a more strengthened and engaged SERP-P network with members fully committed in contributing materials to the portal and in promoting the open access agenda. With that, the team announced that from 5,654 materials in 2016, the portal is now home to more than 6,600 materials from the contributions of partner-institutions.

Aberilla discussed the two main challenges confronted by the project: (1) the persistent low participation of some partner-institutions and (2) the low level of awareness of the benefits of SERP-P among its intended users. Interventions have been introduced by the SERP-P team to resolve these, such as by conducting regular reorientations in using the SERP-P content management system (CMS). In 2018 alone, Siar and Aberilla visited and conducted reorientations for 11 SERP-P partner-institutions, namely, AIM Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (AIM RSN PCC), GIZ Philippines, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), UP National Center for Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Central Office, DLSU Social Development Research Center, (SDRC) DLSU University Research Coordination Office (URCO), Foreign Service Institute (FSI), UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) , UP School of Economics, Philexport Corporation, and SEAMEO Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (INNOTECH).

To address the second challenge, additional SERP-P promotional programs were introduced to raise awareness of the project. These consisted of a video which was posted on the PIDS and SERP-P social media pages and a poster which was distributed to partner-institutions. Other activities include the continuous production of the SERP-P News and SERP-P Monthly, and the active presence of SERP-P on social media through its Facebook account. In November 2018, the SERP-P team also visited the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Manila to introduce the SERP-P project.

Gearing up for Industry 4.0

To aid the participants in gearing up for Industry 4.0, resource speakers were invited to talk about innovations in digital technology and related issues. Ms. Luisa Gelisan, director of UP Open University’s (UPOU) Multimedia Center, focused on massive open distance e-learning (MODeL), the official massive open online courses (MOOCs) platform pioneered by the university. Discussing the evolution and development of MODeL, Gelisan noted that innovations in this area were influenced by the changing learning environment and needs, characteristics, and circumstances of the learners. The use of MODeL, she said, has widened the university’s reach especially outside the country.

Meanwhile, Mr. Patrick Salamat, former communications director at the Department of Education and currently consultant at NEDA, shared tips on how to use social media for knowledge dissemination. He encouraged the participants to maximize the use of social media in reaching their audiences, in amplifying other communication channels, and in gathering feedback.

For her part, Atty. Josephine R. Santiago, director-general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), discussed issues on intellectually property which have become increasingly complex under Industry 4.0.

A presentation on other PIDS initiatives in knowledge dissemination was also held during the lunch break. Dr. Aubrey Tabuga, Ms. Blesila Datu Mondez, and Mr. Arkin Arboneda from the Research Department conducted a demo on using the Economic and Social Database and the GIS-based Philippine Socioeconomic Profile Database. Ms. Clarissa Lagoras, PIDS librarian, introduced the PIDS Corners. A PIDS Corner is a small section in a college/university or local government library that contains various PIDS publications. Launched in 2006, this dissemination strategy aims to make PIDS knowledge materials accessible at the local and community levels, especially in areas outside of Metro Manila, which may have limited access to socioeconomic references. There are currently 25 PIDS Corners across the country.

Toward SERP-P 4.0

In the afternoon, the SERP-P coordinators/representatives reported on their SERP-P-related accomplishments and activities. Ten partner-institutions reported on the publications they contributed to SERP-P as well as their promotional activities related to SERP-P. Some of them announced possible research collaborations for their fellow partners.

An interactive workshop followed. Divided into four groups, participants brainstormed on ways to (1) enhance the SERP-P database, (2) encourage more people to use SERP-P, and (3) strengthen the collaboration among the partner-institutions.

Recurring suggestions to enhance the SERP-P database were to have an information kit with a guide on how to navigate the CMS, improve the search filtering feature of the website, improve the website analytics, provide a comment section or suggestion box for each material where users can post their feedback, and create a SERP-P mobile application.

On encouraging more people to use SERP-P, participants suggested the continuous use of social media and encouraging partner-institutions to promote SERP-P in their respective institutions and networks.

To strengthen the partnership among the network members, participants suggested having a Facebook group for more regular and frequent communication and conducting the SERP-P meeting annually instead of every two years with the hosting of the venue to be rotated among the partner-institutions. They also suggested promoting greater collaboration through the conduct of joint projects and activities.

At the end of the meeting, 10 partner-institutions were given plaques of recognition for being the most active SERP-P members from 2017 to 2018. The awardees are (1) Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), (2) Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), (3) Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), (4) GIZ Philippines, (5) UPLB Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (UPLB CSPPS), (6) AIM RSN PCC, (7) UP NCPAG, (8) FSI, (9) SEAMEO INNOTECH, and (10) Congressional Planning and Budget Research (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives