THE Isabela State University (ISU) is eyeing to establish Northern Luzon's first-ever Knowledge, Innovation and Science Technology (KIST) Park.
The project was unveiled during a stakeholder's meeting on January 10, 2023 where members of the academe and the local government convened to discuss the long-term masterplan to set up the innovation site.
The four sites identified were the four different campuses of the university: ISU Echague Main Campus, ISU Roxas Campus, ISU Ilagan Campus and ISU Cabagan Campus.
ISU said it now sets in motion some initial plans for the concept of the KIST Park and extends the concept of an eco-zone in the region in partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the host of Cagayan Valley region's Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute.
As the flagship project of PEZA, the innovation park aims to establish sustainable economic zones for the thriving of business and commercial sectors anchored on the concept of rural development among communities.
ISU President Ricmar Aquino said the university's commitment to the undertaking would expand ISU's service area in bringing development opportunities in the countryside.
"It has been the dream of Isabela State University to establish this KIST Special Economic Zone. ISU is an ideal place for the establishment of the KIST Park because we have a lot of experts who are innovators and technology generators," he said.
Aquino said there will be a merging of academe and industry that will help develop the economies not only of Isabela province but also of Region 2 or the Cagayan Valley region.
"In bringing industries in the countryside to balance economic activities for all regions, the project works well with the strategic direction of the national government," Aquino said, explaining that this is because the identified and recommended investors and locators by PEZA will eventually set up business locations within SEZ-identified ecozones, propelling more active economic activities.
During the event, Aquino mentioned the ongoing negotiations with the National Dairy Authority which may become the first Smart Dairy Farm to be established and hosted by ISU with an allocated fund amounting to P1 billion which could also be a promising inclusion to the plans for an innovation park.
The ISU president believes the project which is a "win-win situation" for the university would provide a redefinition of the concept of "income generation" besides contributing to sectoral development.
He also discussed the value-adding principle explaining that the project could be an income-generating opportunity for ISU.
"This is what I always say that our income generation is not just selling paper. In other developed countries, they have universities where industries start. The technologies generated, innovations produced by researchers, that includes the students, are being commercialized within the university through the KIST scheme," Aquino added.
During the event's open forum, it was suggested to consider the emerging sectoral priorities of the national government, which then could be a basis for focus marketing in terms of attracting investors, ISU said.
The KIST Park masterplan was crafted and presented by architect Bagnos Quebral Jr. of ISU Ilagan Campus. It was co-authored by engineer Emerson Barcellano of ISU Cabagan Campus.
Based on the masterplan, the park will utilize some 23 hectares of the university's own land and convert these to commercial centers, seeing the rise of information technology and business processing outsourcing, industrial zones, agricultural areas, fabrication labs, dormitory hotels, an international research center, among of which that comes with technology hallmarks such as energy efficient and eco-friendly infrastructures.