Philippines wins global science competition

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines won the first-ever Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Catalyst Pitch competition given by the US Department of State with its Philippine-based startup Galansiyang, placing first in two categories.

The GIST Catalyst Pitch is a global competition launched in 2017 that gives science and technology entrepreneurs a platform to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

The US embassy yesterday said Galansiyang was declared winner on Nov. 9.

Galansiyang is a forestry services startup that helps mining industry speed up environmental rehabilitation with automation technology including aerial seeding for reforestation and forest monitoring.

Galansiyang, one of the pioneering startups formed in Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, placed first in both the “Spirit of GIST” and “People’s Choice” categories.

The team includes Jay Arneil Gajudo, Joshua Fernandez, Maynard Costanilla, Jiko Colita, Dreamer Lamberte and Harold Cuerbo.

Globally, 25 teams went to the semifinal round of GIST in October.

In November, five innovators were chosen to advance to the finals of the competition, with Galansiyang representing the Asia-Pacific region.

“This challenge became an opportunity for us to showcase the grit and the hustle toward our love for innovation. Now, we are recognized as a promising startup committed to fighting deforestation,” Gajudo said.

Galansiyang is also one of the Philippines’ global nominees for the 2021 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Space Apps Challenge, the world’s largest international hackathon addressing global problems using NASA’s open-source data.

Global winners will be announced early next year.

“This is a great achievement for the Philippine startup community. As the US and the Philippines celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations, we are committed to supporting the next generation of changemakers,” said US embassy assistant cultural affairs officer Pauline Anderson.

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