9 August 2021
Australia and the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) celebrate their long-standing partnership in an event that highlighted their collaboration in the areas of research and development and capacity building.
On 30 July 2021, the Australian Embassy in the Philippines joined the UPLB College of Economics and Management’s 43rd Anniversary celebration, spearheaded by UPLB Chancellor Dr Jose V. Camacho, Jr., held at the UPLB campus in Laguna.
Australian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Richard Sisson, speaking at the event, said, “This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Australia-Philippines bilateral relationship with the theme ‘Mateship and Bayanihan’. Throughout the year, we are celebrating the many aspects of this relationship – indeed, Australia’s partnership with the Philippines is one of the most enduring and productive that we have globally.”
“Australia’s partnership with UPLB is clearly one of the important facets of this relationship, and today we get the opportunity to celebrate and reinforce this more.”
UPLB’s history and legacy of excellence in agricultural education and research in the Philippines is also the foundation of its long-standing partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). UPLB and ACIAR have been working together on a range of agricultural research and development priorities such as agribusiness, horticulture, soil and crop nutrition, livestock, and climate change.
During the event, ACIAR and UPLB launched the Impact Assessment Series No. 102: An Integrated Approach to Ex-post Impact Assessment, a product of several years of research with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), UPLB, and the Visayas State University (VSU). The publication was one of the results from a project that sought to develop mixed method approaches to better assess and evaluate the impact of research work and development programs in the Philippines.
Chancellor Camacho said that the approach is a result of adapting and adjusting, and through a collaborative effort with ACIAR through CSIRO, VSU, and DOST-PCAARRD. He further said that the publication will hopefully elaborate on the framework to make agricultural research-for-development investments more efficient, effective, and relevant to all stakeholders.
Capacity building is also an important area of the Australia-UPLB partnership. Education has been one of the foundations of Australia and the Philippines bilateral relationship. People-to-people links further strengthen this partnership through educational and cultural exchanges.
A key focus of Australia’s aid program is working with partner institutions to build capacities through short-term training, postgraduate scholarships through the Australia Awards Scholarships and the ACIAR John Dillon Fellowship (JDF). The JDF provides an immersive leadership program, as well as mentoring and professional development opportunities for researchers in the agricultural development sector.
For 2021, the JDF has been redesigned to focus more on developing leadership capacities to adapt to and respond to the unique challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Five (5) UPLB researchers and faculty members have been selected as part 2021 JDF from the Philippines.
Australian Embassy and UPLB officials also joined the alumni of Australia Awards and ACIAR Fellowships from UPLB in a tree planting activity held at UPLB’s Makiling Botanical Garden. The Friendship Trees are meant to symbolise Australia’s deep-rooted friendship and partnership with UPLB, and which will further grow for the next 75 years and beyond.