The lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic brought by a highly contagious virus that is believed to have originated from bats led Filipino researchers to assess what kind of pathogens exist in bats thriving in the Philippines.

But this is not a new research intervention in the country. In fact, the team of Dr. Lyre Murao of UP Mindanao conducted a study as early as 2018, with the premise that: since coronaviruses and leptospires have been detected in bats, their zoonotic nature must be investigated. With Mindanao as a biodiversity hotspot, the research team sought what kind of coronaviruses and leptospires lurk in the Philippine wildlife.

By hunting for pathogens in local fruit bats of Davao City, and conducting bat surveys following standard protocols in selected areas in Malagos, the team detected coronaviruses in seven (14%) of the 49 fruit bats collected, all from the lesser short-nosed fruit bat, and leptospires from one bat (2%) identified as Rousettus amplexicaudatus or the Geoffroy’s Rousette. 

This finding, however, is not a point of concern, as the detected coronaviruses and leptospires were found to be distantly related to their human counterparts.

Although this is a good sign, we must not be complacent, as these bats were commonly found in residential, agricultural, and tourist areas thereby inviting potential exposure to humans. Hence, the next step is to sustain wildlife monitoring of pathogens which can be integrated into the pandemic preparedness program of the Philippines by serving as a risk-assessment tool for zoonotic outbreaks,” said Dr. Murao, head of the research team.

Funded and supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) through its Regional Research Fund (RRF) program and through the Region 11 Health Research and Development Consortium (RHRDC XI), the team, through its similar efforts, also advocates for the One Health paradigm where promoting a healthy nature is tantamount to healthy people.

As part of the Council’s efforts to encourage new researchers to be actively involved in health research activities without having to compete with more experienced researchers, RRF projects like this research are intended to increase the capabilities of individual researchers in designing, implementing, and managing health research projects.

The research was conceptualized and implemented with the help of Assoc.Prof. Aleyla E. De Cadiz, Asst. Prof. Marion John Michael M. Achondo, Michael G. Bacus, and Marielle M. Udarbe of UP Mindanao- and in collaboration with Professor Sharon Yvette Angelina M. Villanueva of the University of the Philippines Manila and Dr. Roberto P. Puentespina, Jr. of Animal Solutions Veterinary Hospital. 



The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) invites interested Filipino researchers to submit proposals under the 10th Joint Call for Proposals of the e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) in the fields of health.              
The aim of the e-ASIA JRP 10th Health Research Call is to invite proposals for research addressing health and biomedical issues in East Asia and contribute to enhancing regional research capacity through multilateral collaboration. The call topics are:
  1. Infectious diseases
  2. Cancer
DOST- PCHRD, as one of the Member Organizations, will select two (2) research proposals under this Call.
Review Procedures Approval of proposals for research grants will be based on a multi-level review process:
  1. In-house screening and evaluation in terms of alignment to the research priorities, duplication, and completeness of requirements.
  2. Technical review and scoring by external consultants (Technical Panel) based on the following criteria:
    1. Relevance & Sensitivity
      • Alignment to national S&T priorities, strategic relevance to national development and sensitivity to Philippine political context, culture, tradition and gender and development.
    2. Technical/Scientific
      • Merit Sound scientific basis to generate new knowledge or apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner.
    3. Financial Feasibility
      • Financial viability of the undertaking with proponent’s and institutional capacity to manage R&D funds vis-à-vis the proposed work plan and budget
    4. Proponent’s / Institutional Capacity
      • Good track record or CV with proven competence to implement and complete the R&D program / project within the approved duration and budget.
    5. Program Contribution
      • How much the proposal will contribute to the overall achievement of the program? Other potential socio-economic, environmental, and health impact.
    6. Final approval by the PCHRD Governing Council or the PCHRD Executive Director depending on the recommended total budgetary requirement of the proposal.
    7. In each stage of the review process, the proponent may need to revise the proposal on the basis of the recommendations of the reviewers. The review process will take 40 working days or less provided that all the requirements had been submitted.
Who may apply for the grant?
Filipinos with at least a Master’s Degree in a relevant field, have proven research competence / track record, and employed in universities/colleges, research agencies/institutes, hospitals, and other health related agencies are eligible to apply for the research grant.
How to apply:
The interested researcher shall submit the following requirements online through the DOST Project Management Information System (DPMIS) (
  • Project Proposal following the prescribed format in the DOST DPMIS website
  • Work plan Schedule (Gantt Chart of Activities)
  • Proposed Line-Item Budget (LIB) (DOST-GIA LIB Form)
  • Counterpart Funding of Implementing Agency
  • Informed Consent Form
  • Case Report Form, if applicable
  • Endorsement of Agency Head
  • Curriculum Vitae of Proponent(s)
  • Duties and Responsibilities of each Project Personnel
  • Letter of request addressed to:
The Executive Director
Philippine Council for Health Research and Development
Department of Science and Technology
Saliksik Building, DOST Science Complex, Gen. Santos Avenue
Bicutan, Taguig City, Metro Manila
DOST-PCHRD will also require the proponent to submit the following documents before the start of project implementation:
  • Biosafety Clearance, if applicable
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Clearance, if applicable
  • Bureau of Animal Industry Clearance, if applicable
  • Ethics Clearance (for studies involving human subjects)
Deadline for online submission will be on or before 30 March 2021 (Philippine Standard Time). Note: Online submission will be through the DOST DPMIS website only. Submission through emails and hardcopies will not be accepted. 
  1. Funding Support Available
DOST-PCHRD will allocate up to 100,000 USD for each research project for a duration of three years. DOST Grants in Aid guidelines shall be applied.
For further information on the complete package of the Call and the application procedures of the 10th Joint Call of the e-ASIA JRP, you may visit the e-ASIA website: .

Call for Proposals: AHEAD-HPSR Program

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the Department of Health is inviting you to the Call for Proposals for 2021 and 2022 AHEAD-HPSR research priorities.

Priority topics for 2021 are as follows:

1. Evaluation of the National Objectives for Health 2017 – 2022
2. Evidence Review of COVID-19 Health Technology Topics

Priority research topics for 2022 can be accessed thru

Interested individuals preferably with institutional affiliations that are DOST accredited as science foundation are welcome to apply. You may submit the following initial requirements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

  1. Capsule proposal (maximum of 5 pages)
  2. Letter of Intent
  3. Workplan Schedule (Gantt Chart of Activities)
  4. Curriculum Vitae of lead proponent (Principal Investigator/Project Leader)
  5. Profile of the institution
  6. Endorsement of agency head

Deadline of submission of proposals is February 25, 2021. For queries, please contact Mr. Pio Justin Asuncion at (02) 651-7800 local 1326/1328 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As we gear for the conduct of clinical trials in the country, we recognize the pressing need to harmonize and strengthen our efforts to ensure their smooth implementation,” Chair of the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara says during the town hall sessions conducted for clinical trials on January 29, February 1 and 2, 2021.

Focusing on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, the sessions were held to generate support from key stakeholders, to inform the audience, and to prevent any kind of misinformation to spread.

DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya provided an overview on the benefits, risks and importance of conducting clinical trials in the country. “Clinical trials are ongoing research, which means that we are not sure of the outcomes and that they may come with risks. [But] to minimize these risks and ensure the safety of participants, a rigorous review process is conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its partner evaluators,” he says.

To highlight the critical importance of adhering to ethical guidelines, Forum for Ethical Research Committee in Asia and Western Pacific Region (FERCAP) Coordinator Dr. Cristina Torres discussed the protocols and practices to uphold the rights of every participant.

Common queries discussed during the sessions revolved around the following topics: the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the risks and benefits of participating in clinical trials, ethical guidelines and considerations, the protocols, timelines and logistics of the clinical trials, among others.

Attended by local government officials and hospital workers in trial sites and hospitals, the series gathered a total of 603 participants via Zoom and 1,500 viewers through the DOST-PCHRD and the DOH Facebook pages.

Replays of these sessions are available in the DOST-PCHRD and DOH Facebook pages. The transcription of the Q and A can be downloaded here

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the University of Trieste (UNITS) and Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF) entered into an Agreement to develop and implement a program focused on molecular hepatology within the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of UNITS. This Fellowship program integrates basic research and clinics focusing on the study of molecular approaches to cancer biology, genetics, jaundice and metabolic diseases. The duration of the program is for 3 years.
Applicant’s research interests must be aligned with the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and National Harmonized Research and Development Agenda.
The PhD program aims to achieve the following objectives:
  1. Develop a pool of high-quality human resources in molecular hepatology in particular who will contribute to the country’s global competitiveness and economic development;
  2. Provide opportunities to deserving students to study and obtain PhD degrees in Molecular Biomedicine in reputable institutions abroad;
  3. Contribute to the country’s health research and technological innovation capabilities through training on biomedical research;
  4. Create the basis for a Filipino Liver Network integrating basic and clinical research in liaison with FIF.
Two positions of PhD students will be available each year at UNITS (Subject to the availability of funds)
The applicant must:
  1. Be a Filipino citizen;
  2. Be in good health condition;
  3. Not be more than 40 years old at the time of application;
  4. Hold a Master's degree in a field relevant to health and biomedicine;
  5. Have an outstanding academic record;
  6. Passed the admission requirements for the PhD study;
  7. Passed the interview and other screening procedures;
  8. Conduct her/his research for the entire duration of the scholarship and of the PhD Program.
Scholarship Privileges
  1. Living allowance (20,000€/year);
  2. Book allowance (500€/year);
  3. Bench fee (4,000€/year);
  4. Health and accident insurance; and
  5. One round-trip economy fare from residence to Italy.
Selection Procedure
1st SelectionDocument Screening Documentary evaluation of the form and other requirements by DOST-PCHRD
2nd SelectionTechnical Interview Technical interview by a panel composed of DOST-PCHRD Director, FIF Scientific Director (or a FIF delegate), or a member of the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of the UNITS, and other health research experts to assess:·       Academic background and learning ability·       Capacity for completing the study·       Possibility of contributing to the development of the country·       Compatibility to the university courseThe interview will take place online.
3rd and Final Selection A panel from the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine (UNITS) will identify the successful PhD student(s) from among the candidates selected in the Technical Interview, based on their academic records and the selection criteria as established by UNITS.
List of Application Documents (Forms) for PCHRD screening

Please submit the following documents: 

  1. CV
  2. Accomplished application form with ID picture
  3. Endorsement Letter from two (2) former professors in MS program
  4. Certificate of Employment (if employed, recommendation and permission to take a leave of absence from employer or head of agency while on scholarship)
  5. Certificate of Master Degree
  6. Transcript of Records (certified true copy)
  7. Accomplished re-entry action plan form (narrative)
Applicant/s who were able to pass the 1st and 2nd round of selection will be asked to submit the following:
  1. PSA Birth Certificate (Photocopy)
  2. Valid NBI Clearance (Original)
  3. Medical Certificate as to health status from a licensed physician with his/her PRC license number indicated
Applicant/s who will be accepted in the program will be asked to submit the following before departure to Italy: 
  1. Admission to Graduate Studies/Graduate School
  2. Program of Study/Course Curriculum (if available or to follow)
  3. Budgetary Requirements (attach at least 3 airfare and health and accident insurance canvasses and website references for items requested)

*Interested applicants may send their CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as initial expression of interest and send the requirements afterwards. 

Documents must be submitted to:
For advance copy of documents, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For hard copy of documents, send to:
Dr. Jaime C. Montoya
Executive Director III, DOST-PCHRD
Saliksik Building, DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan Taguig City 1631 Philippines

2021 Timeline
February 1 Opening of the PCHRD Call for Applications
April 30 Application deadline
May Document Screening and Interview
June 15 Announcement of the selected candidate(s)
July - September Preparation of necessary documents (visa, insurance, bank account,etc.) and Signing of scholarship agreement
October Orientation of Scholars and Departure
November 1 Start of PhD program

For inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.