Remarks by Lawrence Hardy II, Mission Director, Inclusive Innovation Conference 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Inclusive Innovation Conference 2018
USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez at the Inclusive Innovation Conference 2018, where Hardy announced USAID’s extension of its Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) project.

[As Prepared]


It is a great privilege to be part of this wonderful event that brings together the Philippines’ innovation champions.

I represent the United States Agency for International Development, also known as USAID. USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for international development and disaster assistance. I bring you the greetings of the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, the Honorable Sung Kim.

I am here today to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to our shared vision of advancing and sustaining inclusive and resilient growth in the Philippines.

To attain this goal, USAID is a close partner of the Philippine government in joint strategies that support the government’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda. Together, we invest in human capital development and use science, technology and innovation to bolster growth. The Inclusive Filipinnovation and Entrepreneurship Roadmap, earlier unveiled by Dr. Fita Aldaba, further specifies how these strategies can be used to transform this vision into a reality.

These approaches resonate very strongly with me as they mirror how USAID engages with our partner countries.

USAID empowers individuals, communities and governments to advance along their unique development journey. As USAID Administrator Mark Green has said, “We help countries on their journeys to self-reliance because we believe in dignity, that every woman and man wants to lead their family, their community.”

Our support for innovation in the Philippines is an example of this.

More than six years ago, USAID sought to strengthen innovation and higher education in the Philippines, led by USAID’s belief that we must open up international development to new people, ideas, and solutions.

We explored how we can make science, technology and innovation more relevant to Filipinos’ aspirations of growth for the country.

Unsurprisingly, we found out that the talent, resources and programs here in the Philippines were strong and the environment was ready to further strengthen the innovation ecosystem. But we also realized that there was a need for greater dialogue and coordination among key stakeholders, such as governments, industry and academia.

Through our Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development project, or STRIDE, USAID took the approach of first enhancing strategic collaboration and trust among partners.

We knew that strengthening the innovation ecosystem was an undertaking that needed government, industry and academia to work together to achieve this shared goal.

The journey of building trust and nurturing friendships — like any relationship — was a long and involved process. And the wisdom, passion, and commitment that were unlocked were amazing.

On the industry side, private sector partners who were initially reluctant to work with academia eventually matched every USAID dollar invested in university research grants with their own funds.

On the university side, from initially competing institutions, emerged a network of research-active universities – both public and private – sharing their expertise and knowledge with communities. Several of these institutions made significant investments in infrastructure and people in pursuit of inclusive innovation.

At last year’s conference, Secretary Lopez and Secretary de la Peña signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate for inclusive innovation. Today, I am happy to hear that this partnership will now be expanded to include other government agencies, including the Commission on Higher Education, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

This conference is not just another step in program implementation. It is a milestone that signals how – with the Road Map and the commitments made by key Philippine Government partners – we are taking the next steps in making the vision for Filipinnovation a reality.

With this, I would like to formally announce that USAID has extended STRIDE for another three years.

This new, more than 250 million pesos investment from the American people will further the momentum for innovation to boost inclusive and resilient growth in the Philippines.

I would like to thank Secretary Lopez and Secretary de la Peña for spearheading this important gathering, and for considering USAID a trusted partner on this journey.

I would also like to thank the STRIDE team from RTI International, led by Dr. Richard Abendan, for all of their excellent work.

I congratulate our partners in the Philippine government, industry, academia and other stakeholders, on your achievements. USAID will continue to be your partner on this journey of creating a vibrant innovation ecosystem that advances us toward a more prosperous Philippines.

Maraming salamat and mabuhay!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 10, 2018

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