De La Salle Prof. Promentilla wins Newton Prize Philippines

News, Science and Technology

By Estrella Z. Gallardo

Professor Michael Angelo Promentilla of De La Salle University won the Newton Prize Philippines and was awarded on January 28, 2020 in an awarding ceremony at Turf Room, Manila, Palo Club, Makati City.

He was one of the five finalists selected from the 20 Newton Prize Application from the Philippines.

Prof. Promentilla presented his paper on Water Energy Nexus in the Cities of the Future, where phosphorous, a mineral gathered from sewerage that seems to be nothing will mean a lot to agriculture, and others in the future.

In his presentation Promintilla said that 25 percent of sewerage directly flows into national water bodies untreated causing severe water pollution which adversely impacts people’s health and the local economy.

Data contained in collaboration with the local industry partner, Maynilad Water Services Inc., for a zone in Metro Manila with a population of 80,000, shows the annual recovery of 4,986kg of phosphate for fertilizer. This could potentially grow to 623,250kg if extended to the whole of Metro Manila.

This has the potential to improve local economies by creating jobs, enhancing agricultural practices, increasing food security and improving sanitation and the provision of clean water.

Furthermore, due to the benefits that the project brings to the agricultural sector, this project could be replicated in other South East Asia countries. Agribusinesses have taken a keen interest in the project due to the global demand for phosphorous fertilizer.

The project provides for a foundation for further research to address the problem of water pollution and poor sanitation coverage. It is expected that the project’s success will give other cities in the Philippines incentive to invest in sanitation for all.

Project leads: Dr. Devendra, University of Surgery, UK and Professor Michelle Clarke, University of Notingham, UK and Professor Michael Angelo Promentilla, De La Salle University Philippines.

Delivery partners: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research and Innovation, Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development.

The other four finalists were Mr. Joseph Ramis; Newton Prize Chair’s Award, Technological Institute of the Philippines and Professor Felicity Rose, University of Notingham Tissues engineering bronchi in health and sickness: assessing the effect of matrix stiffening on cellular changes in the airways. Funded by: DOST Science Education Institute and British Council with Funding Sought: £ 499,645.00;

Dr. Gerry Amer Camer (University of Eastern Philippines, presented his research titled low-cost Portable Diagnostic Platform for Rapid detection of Poultry Infectious Pathogen (CMPD) with Dr. Dennis Umali, University of the Philippines Los Banos and Professor Wamadera Balanchandran, Brunei University London, Funded by: DA Biotechnology Programme  and UKLB; Ms. Gianne May Gayan (UPLB); Ms. Erika Joyce Arellano (UPBL); Mr. Yves Roy Tibayan (CarSU); Mr. Dave Brian Pasaon (UPEP) with Funding Sought; £ 200,000;

Professor Windell Rivera, Natural Sciences Research Institute, UP Diliman presented his research on using genomics to trace Salmonella transmission and antimicrobial resistance in the poultry & swine food chains in Metropolitan Manila with Professor Taane Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Funded by: DA Biotechnology Programme and UKRI Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Philippine Team: Ms. Alyzza Marie Calayag, Ms. Jonah Felisa Mora with Funding Sought £ 150,200.00.

Dr. Jennifer Luchavez presented ENSURE: Enhanced surveillance for control and elimination of Malaria in the Philippines with Dr. Fe Espino, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and Professor Chris Drakely, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Funded by: DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and UKRI Medical Research Council.

Philippine Team; Dr. Jennifer Luchavez, Dr. Edelwisa Segubre-Mercado, Mr. Ma Lourdes Macalinao, Ms. Inez Andrea Melado, Mr. Alison Paolo Bareng, Mr. Ralph Reyes, Ms. Beaulan Boncayao, Ms. Ellaine de la Fuente, Ms. Hennessy Sabonal & Christian Anthony Luna with Funding Sought: £ 190,058.00

Newton Prize Award Amounts:

  • One prize of up to £200k per country (one award in Philippines)
  • Four (4) PH finalists are competing against each other.
  • Amount was specified when Prize application was made by the finalists.
  • Amount received will be used to fund a new project that the team would undertake if they were to win.


  • Chair’s Prize up to £500k
  • The Chair’s Prize will be awarded to the project proposal that best demonstrates knowledge and partnership working.
  • PH Chair’s Prize nominee is competing against the Chair’s Prize nominees of China and Indonesia.
  • One PH finalist is competing against other international partnerships. The Chair’s Prize winner will be announced in the Newton Prize London event on 12 February 2020. (PPCI)

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