Dr. Kuehl of the National Geographic Hongkong delivering his talk at Los Baños, Laguna about grant opportunities for researchers. Photo by Debby Sy/ERDB

The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) with the National Geographic Society (NGS) Hong Kong has conducted an international seminar on grant and opportunities for Filipino researchers at the ERDB Auditorium in Los Baños, Laguna last September 3, 2018.

The program was conducted “in the hope of creating an avenue for Filipino researchers” to conduct their own “explorations,” said ERDB Director, Dr. Sofio B. Quintana.

Dr. Yannick Kuehl, Senior Director of the Programs and Explorer Development in Asia-Pacific of NGS based in Hong Kong, and the event’s keynote speaker tackled the NGS: Explorer and Grant Opportunities in Asia-Pacific Program.

Being an ‘explorer’

Kuehl explained that “the program aims to help scale the work of ‘explorers,’ in which Kuehl identified them as scientists, conservationists, teachers, photographers, geographers, journalists, and engineers working towards science and exploration.

“We really want to connect our explorers, finding a network of experts who can work with them, sharing ideas, and provide them training opportunities to make them better in what they do,” he said.

“We want to elevate [and] promote their work to the rest of the world, and we want to give this access to our explorers. I believe that it’s really about empowering our explorers and inspiring their drive and transformation that all of them are working on,” Kuehl added.

Thrusts, agenda

Dr. Kuehl noted that NGS grants funding in regards to conservation, education, research, storytelling, and technology as part of the ‘explorers’ program.

Also discussed during the seminar were the guidelines, requirements, and application process for the grant open to the participants, all of which can be accessed through the organization’s website.

“[The application] is a very long and competitive process, that’s why it takes so much time,” Kuehl said. With “45 Filipinos [who] have gone through [the] process and are currently working on projects,” Kuehl hopes to improve the numbers of explorers in the Philippines.

Dr. Sofio B. Quintana, ERDB Director, addresses the participants on the importance of research. Photo by Debby Sy/ERDB

Quintana during the end of his opening remarks also urges fellow researchers to strive hard for the conservation of the ecosystems, and contribute to the research agenda about the environment and natural resources.

Among the participants who took part in the seminar are ERDB staff, personnel, and other faculty, students, and fellow researchers from different disciplines, universities, LGU, government offices, and NGOs such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Subic Bay Management Authority (SBMA), Haribon Foundation, Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, College of Public Affairs (CPAf), Museum of Natural History (MNH), and the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM).

Dr. Kuehl (fifth from left), Dr. Jose Alan A. Castillo (fourth from left), Senior Science Research Specialist and Ms. Liberty E. Asis (sixth from left), OIC-Chief of TTD, with the organizers of the event. Photo by Karol Josef Lucena/ERDB

NGS is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization that prioritizes geography, archaeology, and natural science. The organization also sponsors and funds scientific research and exploration, and promotes environmental conservation and sustainability. Karol Josef Lucena and Jorge Cyril Viray

Numerous science researchers, students, educators, and advocates coming from various government offices and institutions are all ears to Dr. Kuehl’s discussion on the grant opportunities the Nat Geo Explorers Program has to offer. Photo by Debby Sy/ERDB


Dr. Kuehl (front row; wearing blue polo) and Dr. Alan Castillo (front row; wearing white polo), along with various aspiring Nat Geo explorers give heed to the opening remarks of Dr. Quintana (not seen in the photo).