USEP to open Socio-Economic Research and Data Analytics Center in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Aug) – The state-owned University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) will launch on August 17 the Socio-Economic Research and Data Analytics Center (SERDAC), a one-stop shop to aid Mindanawon researchers on data analysis and guide local government units (LGUs) come up with sound statistics-based policymaking.

Jennifer E. Hinlo, acting dean of the university’s School of Applied Economics, said during “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” that the center worth P4.89 million has been supported by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).

The USEP-SAEC handles the SERDAC in Davao City, the only one in Mindanao and one of the three similar centers in the Philippines that are hosted by Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija and Visayas State University in Leyte.

Hinlo said the SERDAC utilizes licensed statistical software and other tools for data analysis and detection of plagiarized outputs to assist the researchers and help policymakers in the government agencies assess the outcome of the projects implemented.

“We want to aid policymakers when they make decisions. It should be based on numbers, based on evidence. We are advocating for evidence-based policies,” she said.

Hinlo said the center would also conduct trainings to enhance the capability of the researchers and the planners of the LGUs.

The SERDAC offers socio-economic services to provide technical assistance to researchers and to promote equitable opportunities in research and extension projects; capability building and training; and database management to provide a systematic way to create, retrieve, update and manage data.

“The researchers can visit our center if they have their own data or they did their own a survey, they can analyze the data at the center,” she said.

Hinlo added the SERDAC is poised to become a storehouse of the different datasets on various commodities.

For a start, she said data available include a study on the banana farmers but she added they would include more commodity-based studies from PCAARD in the database.

“We have impact evaluations to guide the government if they would continue the project or end it. This is the role of the center. We are just establishing it today but we will start getting the needs of the industries, the government, and the private researchers,” she said.

A briefer released by USEP-SAEC said the SERDAC would strengthen the institutional research capability of National Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Network member-agencies in the field of socio-economics.

It added that it would also enhance the implementation of ongoing and newly approved DOST-PCAARD-funded socioeconomic research projects as researchers would have access to analytical tools that require significant investments and institutional funding.

Among the goals and objectives of the SERDAC include the establishment of a venue for excellence in socioeconomic research and development (R&D); enhance socioeconomic researchers’ access to licensed software and relevant journals; provide facilities equipped with appropriate equipment for research; provide training, seminars, and coaching on socioeconomic analysis; provide socio economic technical assistance to the other R&D sectors; provide assistance to PCAARD on capacity building-related initiatives; and service as repository of socioeconomic and demographic data in Mindanao. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)