Taking its boldest step yet towards developing the country’s future engineers and scientists, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell) teamed up with Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) to support its scholarship programme aptly called ‘SuperFund Scholarships for Science and Engineering’.

Shell pledged a total of Php 100 million for SuperFund Scholarships, created to encourage the best and brightest Filipino youths to pursue studies and careers in science and engineering. The SuperFund Scholarship is PhilDev’s initiative in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Engineering Research and Development Technology (ERDT) Consortium, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and private companies. Initial donours are Shell (Php 100 million), Petrolift Inc. (PhP 1 million), and Energy Development Corporation, which pledged to donate $1 million per year for 10 years focusing on post graduate degrees. The scholarship programme aims to raise Php 5 billion in five years.

“SuperFund is just one of the many programmes of PhilDev to help the Philippines become more globally competitive through the promotion of science and engineering in the country. PhilDev is truly an able partner of the government in developing a robust ecosystem of programmes and partnerships in science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship; and Superfund is a very good enabler towards this goal. We believe in investing in our people, and by retaining the best minds in the country, we can leverage our core competencies in our pursuit of global competitivenes,” said Edgar Chua, SuperFund Committee Chairman, PhilDev Trustee and Pilipinas Shell Country Chairman and President.

A SuperFund scholar shall receive financial and tuition support for five years. These include full tuition fees and living allowances such as stipend, books, dormitory fees, and necessary expenses. SuperFund also provides mentorship, summer internships, annual camps, assistance in placement after graduation, and retreats, and a chance to be part of a network of exceptional Filipino scientists and engineers.

Aside from the monetary support, Shell, as a partner company, will support summer internships of sponsored scholars for actual exposure and experience in the workplace, and mentorship by Shell executives to further enhance the scholars’ skills and capacities. By working with the academe, PhilDev and partner companies will also foster industrial relevance and ensure that curricula are up to date with current technologies.

For school year 2012-2013, PhilDev will start awarding as many as 151 scholarships to students who will take courses in science or engineering fields in a SuperFund partner university. The government will continue to support scholars through its Engineering Research and Development for Technology programme, which currently has eight-member universities in the country, that offers mature master’s and doctoral degrees in various engineering fields. The partner universities are Ateneo de Manila University, Central Luzon State University, De La Salle University, Mapúa Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University-Iligan, University of the Philippines-Diliman, and the University of San Carlos.

“We believe that Superfund will be able to promote and help develop science and engineering in the country which is necessary to catapult the country to the next level of economic growth. Through SuperFund, we can ensure that the country has a talent pipeline to support research and development programmes which are crucial in a developing country such as ours. The Superfund is an investment in human resources – an investment in Filipinos,” added Chua.

PhilDev Chair Dado Banatao, for his part, said, “This is a significant event where industries have signed up and gave their full support to this initiative. We believe that science and technology education is a critical first link to accelerate national development. To all our partners and contributors, thank you for all the support in building a strong future --- It’s time for the Philippines to gear up for the highly competitive global market and our future scientists and engineers will make an industrialised Philippines possible.”