“Saan pa ba ako pupunta? Saan pa ba ako mamatay kung hindi sa Pilipinas lamang” was Dr. Noel Peter B. Tan’s response when he was asked why he returned to the Philippines instead of working abroad during his Exit Report Presentation titled, “The Next Big Thing is Tiny: The Rise of Nanotechnology” on biodegradable packaging and tech for seawater desalination last April 17, 2024 at the University of San Agustin.

In an effort to counter the brain drain and capitalize on Filipino emigrants’ expertise, the Balik Scientist Program (BSP), through Presidential Decree 819, was established in October 1975.  The program aims to encourage Filipino scientists and technologists to return and reside in the Philippines and share their expertise for the country’s development.

Dr. Noel Peter Bengzon Tan, who’s been engaged for 365 days as a Medium-Term Balik Scientist, has extensive experience in Applied Chemistry, specifically nanotechnologies. The primary purpose of his engagement is to lead the development of an R&D-active environment in engineering and technology for the University of San Agustin (USA) in the fields of nanoscience, nanotechnology, and chemical engineering. 

Further, he spearheaded the establishment of USA’s Center for Advanced New Materials, Engineering, and Emerging Technologies (CANMEET) by inspecting existing laboratories and assisting in setting laboratory capabilities. Dr. Tan also facilitated the identification of possible projects and research proposals carried out in CANMEET for research collaboration and funding as well as presentations through various local and international conferences.

His engagement objectives also include the transformation of the USA Department of Chemical Engineering into a globally competitive R&D-active academic program wherein he has conducted lecture series with partners or collaborators, mentored undergraduate and graduate students, created Methods of Research 101 (MR 101) syllabus including the rubrics for evaluation and developed course documents for CHE 414 Final Year Thesis, and conducted training/workshops/demonstrations at CANMEET. With the establishment of the CANMEET, Dr. Tan proceeded with establishing productive collaborations with DOST VI, local and international HEIs, and industry partners. 

Dr. Tan was also recently awarded the Atty. Rosendo & Luiz J. Tansinsin Award for Outstanding Chemical Engineer in Research and Development Inducted to the College of Fellows by the Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE) last September 12-14, 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Philippines.

Dr. Tan completed his Master of Chemical Engineering in 2010 at Xiamen University, China (Thesis: Carbon nanotube synthesis and optimization), and his Ph.D. in 2014 at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Thesis: Synthesis and applications of metal/polymer nanocomposites). He was a Senior Engineer in the Environment Section of Nano and Advanced Materials Institute in Hong Kong. His work on the use of nanofibers for environmental pollution solutions is evidenced by his granted patents and peer-reviewed publications in journals and books. He is a journal reviewer for several peer-reviewed international journals. Nevertheless, he is also an inventor of three patents in the US and China for self-healing concrete products and time-temperature indicators. Currently, he is the Director of CANMEET at the University of San Agustin.

Dr. Tan’s expertise falls within the priority areas of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). (MLCSeñalista/DOST VI RDIMS)