The University of the Philippines Engineering Research and Development Foundation Inc. (UPERDFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization that is raising awareness and sustainability of the intellectual capital of the UP College of Engineering (UPCOE). Now on its 47th year, it is undertaking projects at a broader scope, encouraging its members—who are now the movers and top executives of various companies—to be involved in industry-academe-government collaborations, and to get their cooperation in order for the UPCOE to produce the best engineers who will shape the future of the Philippines.
One of UPERDFI’s major objectives is to bridge the private sector with the academe in terms of support. With the help of the UPERDFI, it is with great pride and honor that UP received a new Professional Chair from business magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan last February 12, 2020. PLDT-Smart Foundation signed the deed of donation for the Manuel V. Pangilinan Professorial Chair in Engineering. This is the second chair sponsored by PLDT-Smart Foundation. In November 2019, the PLDT-Smart Foundation Professorial Chair (which was set up in 1999) was infused with fresh funding.
The event was hosted by UP President Danilo L. Concepcion. It was attended by executives from some of the MVP Group of Companies (PLDT, Maynilad, Voyager International, and One Meralco Foundation), faculty of UPCOE, and members of UPERDFI. Concepcion thanked Pangilinan and stressed how important it is for the university to receive support and encouragement from the private sector as it has a major beneficial impact to the students today, who will become the nation’s future engineers and leaders.
In turn, Pangilinan expressed his honor for being able to contribute to UP, stressing that his companies like Philex Mining, Metro Pacific Tollways, Meralco, MIESCOR, and Maynilad, have always been supporting UP in various ways. He also noted that businesses “have an obligation to help the academe and nurture dialogues.”
On the part of UPERDFI, Executive Director Alfonso A. Aliga, Jr., said the MVP Group of Companies is presently sponsoring 14 professorial chairs in Engineering. “The support of MVP and his companies definitely goes a long way. Professional Chairs encourage innovation among our faculty and inspire students to aspire for greatness,” said Aliga. He also added that in 2010-2011, Pangilinan funded the renovation of a faculty house into the Balay Atleta and also donated a full-size bus for the UP varsity teams.
Professorial Chairs are awarded to faculty members and serve as incentives for the recipients to further excel in teaching and to pursue researches related to their fields of interest and expertise.
As a symbol of appreciation and distinction, UP gives the donor a Sundial Plaque, an elegantly framed artwork depicting the meters-high concrete sundial that stands in the UP College of Engineering compound. This was personally presented by Concepcion to Pangilinan after the signing ceremony.
“We welcome all kinds of support for various programs of the UPERDFI that focus on faculty support and student support. UPERDFI is at the forefront of helping the school—and our nation—have better engineers of the future who are also technopreneurs who will shape a better Philippines and a better world,” said UPERDFI President Rico A. Trinidad.
Since its founding in 1972, UPERDFI focused on faculty support which includes Professional Chairs and research grants; student support which includes scholarships, study grants, thesis grants, competitions and awards; and learning infrastructure such as buildings, classrooms, and laboratories. UPERDFI, together with the UPCOE, is also aiming to commercialize innovative and adaptive technologies and applications coming from faculty and student research projects for the benefit of all. Thus, UPERDFI continuously bridges the academic institutions with the private sector to undertake projects on a wider scope.