Mindanao scientist wins Germany’s Green Talents Award for sustainability

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipina scientist has won the prestigious Green Talents award from the German government.

Dr. Chosel Lawagon was among this year’s awardees in the Green Talents International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development, hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research on Friday.

Officials of the Philippine embassy in Berlin attended the virtual awarding ceremony and were given a private virtual room to interact with Lawagon.

The Green Talents International Forum features an international competition for outstanding young scientists committed to promoting sustainability in their communities.

Lawagon was among the 25 selected by a panel of German experts from 467 applicants from 78 countries.

Lawagon is a director at the Center for Green Nanotechnology Innovations for Environmental Solutions at the University of Mindanao (UM). Her focus is upcycling waste through nanotechnology.

One of Lawagon’s research projects, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is about the conversion of waste into nanoparticles that can be incorporated into smart concrete. This project could help address the need for more resilient infrastructure in earthquake-prone Mindanao.

Her second research project involves the integration of nanomaterials from agricultural and plastic waste into a nanogenerator. This has the potential to be a cheaper renewable energy alternative to solar panels.

Together with the UM College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, Lawagon is also conducting research on the impact of landfill leachate on nearby rivers in Davao City.

As a Green Talents Awardee, Lawagon participated in the virtual Green Talents Science Forum, which gave her and her fellow awardees an overview of Germany’s sustainability research landscape and the opportunity to network with German researchers.

She will travel to Germany next year for three months of research in a German partner institution of her choice.

Lawagon returned to the Philippines in 2020 under the DOST’s Balik Scientist Program.

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