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by Madel R. Sabater
11-February-2008 Manila Bulletin

The Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) is planning to launch a national nanotechnology program that would help strengthen human resource capabilities in the field, create more jobs and more locally generated technologies that would boost economic growth.

The PCASTRD is the Department of Science and Technology’s (DoST) research and development arm in the advanced sciences. Nanotechnology, meanwhile, is a field of applied science and technology (S & T) whose unifying scheme is the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, normally one to 100 nanometers, and the fabrication of devices with critical dimensions that lie within that size range.

The development of nanotechnology in the country is one of PCASTRD’s priority undertakings for this year.

PCASTRD executive director Dr. Reynaldo Ebora said the PCASTRD "plans to launch a national nanotechnology program," which would focus on the development of human resources, specializing in that field and the conveyance of research and development (R & D) projects.

"R & D and human resource development should be intertwined to maximize brain power," he said.

Ebora stressed that there is a need to develop more talents in the field of nanotechnology as it promises good career opportunities.

He added that more foreign investors would be interested in opening their companies in the country if we have a substantial amount of manpower specializing in nanotechnology.

Ebora said the PCASTRD would tap universities such as the University of the Philippines (UP), University of Santo Tomas (UST), De La Salle University (DLSU), and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), among others, for the national program. Filipino experts abroad are also being tapped by DOST to train local professionals.

There is no local college or university offering nanotechnology as a major. However, it is usually included in courses like materials science, chemistry, and electronics.

Ebora said R & D on nanotechnology could take off in two to three years if a national nanotechnology program is immediately put in place. Some applications of nanotechnology are the manufacture of polymers based on molecular structure, and the design of computer chip layouts based on surface science.

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