The Department of Science and Technology Region 1 (DOST 1) conducted a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) in connection with the implementation of the Innovation, Science and Technology for Accelerating Regional Technology-based Development (iSTART) Program in six (6) pilot municipalities in Pangasinan on February 8-12, 2021.

 The 6 pilot municipalities representing the 6 Congressional districts of the province are Sual, Bugallon, Malasiqui, San Fabian, Alcala and Balungao. The activity was participated by the heads and representatives of their municipal offices mainly Municipal Planning and Development Office, Municipal Agriculture Office, Municipal Social Workers Development Office, Rural Health Units, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Livelihood Center, Waste Management Unit, Municipal Administrators and Sangguniang bayan member's representatives.

iSTART Program in Region 1 aims to support the gains of Pangasinan in the different fronts of development thru science, technology and innovation (STI) specifically to review existing plans and determine the development fronts, identify appropriate STI interventions in the various development fronts where necessary through sectoral groups and package technology-based sectoral development plans.

The Province of Pangasinan is one of the top 20 provinces identified in the DOST-PLANADES Development Model as new growth centers based on “drivers of growth criteria” and chosen as one of the four (4) pilot provinces in the country including Leyte, Camarines Sur and Agusan del Sur.

With the initial meeting with Pangasinan Governor Amado I. Espino III, he gave his commitment and full support to the program and chose these six pilot municipalities for the iSTART Program.

Consultative meeting was conducted with the representatives of 6 municipalities last December 7, 2020 and FGD was proposed in the next steps of the program.

FGD was facilitated by Dr. Lily Ann Lando, a former DOST-PCAARRD Director and consultant of strategic planning for various DOST Programs. Representatives from Pangasinan State University and Lyceum Northwestern University, as the partner academe institutions of the program were also present in the FGD.

The activity aims to gather inputs from the participants by identifying appropriate S&T interventions and initiatives in the growth areas for their municipalities which will be integrated in the drafting of the S&T development plan and proposal for the province of Pangasinan.