The Bicol University Center for Policy Studies and Development (BUCPSD) is set to open this academic year a research and data analytics center to support socioeconomic research in the Bicol region with a grant of ₱1.67 million from the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).
The said center, called the Socio-Economic Research and Data Analytics Center – Bicol (SERDAC-Bicol), shall be housed at the New Electrical Engineering Building at the BU East Campus and will be opened to the public once all computers, software, and equipment have been procured.
SERDAC-Bicol aims to enhance the socio-economic research capacity in the region by providing data analytics services and training programs to researchers. The center shall house computers containing research software STATA, EViews, SPSS, ArcGIS, Tableau Explorer, and NVIVO, among others. In addition, it will be a repository of socio-economic data from Bicol.
The ₱1.67 million funding from DOST-PCAARRD is meant to finance the acquisition of equipment and the operations of SERDAC-Bicol for one year. Thereafter, BU shall provide the budget for the operation of the center, although it is still possible for DOST-PCAARRD to give funds if available.
According to Dr. Elmer A. Lorenzana, director of BUCPSD, which will manage SERDAC-Bicol, “We at BU are very thankful to DOST-PCAARRD for choosing us as the recipient of the grant to establish this research and data analytics center. We commit to opening our doors to assist Bicol’s socio-economic researchers with their data and analysis needs.”
Appointed as head of SERDAC-Bicol is Prof. Ilona M. Matias of the BU College of Business, Economics, and Management. She will run the center together with Profs. Emmanual M. Preña and Cherrylyn P. Labayo, as well as Science Research Specialist Claudine D. Gogola.
To learn the best practices for implementing socio-economic research and managing a data analytics laboratory, the staff members of BUCPSD and SERDAC-Bicol conducted a weeklong benchmarking activity in Manila and Nueva Ecija on October 17-21.
They visited institutions that have extensive socio-economics research activities and run data analytics centers. These were the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Economics, UP School of Statistics, UP College of Science, UP National Engineering Center, Ateneo de Manila University, University of Asia and the Pacific, University of Sto. Tomas, De La Salle University, Asian Institute of Management, Central Luzon State University (CLSU), and UP Los Baños.
“It was a learning experience for us to know how data analytics laboratories are run, especially the one at CLSU, which was also funded by DOST-PCAARRD. They imparted to us how they manage their laboratories, which will guide us in setting up SERDAC-Bicol,” said Labayo.
“Knowing the research initiatives of the top universities in the Philippines along socio-economics was a big help because it gave us an idea of what studies SERDAC-Bicol may implement in the future. The visits to these institutions also opened up the possibility of research collaborations,” Preña said.
Prof. Matias, the SERDAC-Bicol head, is looking forward to working with socio-economic researchers throughout the Bicol region.
“In the coming months, as SERDAC-Bicol opens its doors, we will conduct training programs on socio-economic research, especially the use of statistical software. We can also assist researchers in their data analysis,” she said. | by Gremil Alessandro Alcazar Naz, BUCPSD news reporter
Updates on SERDAC-Bicol may be found on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SerdacBicol.