UST Santa Rosa breaks ground for research institute

The University of Santo Tomas holds the groundbreaking rites of the UST-Dr. William T. Bello Interdisciplinary Research Institute (UST-WiTBIRIn) at the UST Santa Rosa, Laguna campus on Friday, Jan. 26. Photo by Jianzen Deananeas /THE FLAME

THE UST Santa Rosa campus carried out the groundbreaking rites for the interdisciplinary research institute seeking to build “big ideas” and uplift global collaboration in research.

The ceremony marked the official start of construction of the UST-Dr. William T. Belo Interdisciplinary Research Institute (UST-WiTBIRIn), named after the benefactor, Thomasian alumnus and Wilcon Depot founder William Belo, on Jan. 26, Friday.

“The aspiration of this research institute is to facilitate collaboration among different disciplines to come up with creative solutions to address society’s increasingly complex challenges,” Belo, a graduate of the UST electrical engineering in 1973, said in his speech. 

The research institute aims to promote collaboration among interdisciplinary areas, namely, food security and safety, health and well-being, energy, environmental sustainability, information and communications, and materials and product innovation.

“This collaboration among the disciplines will enhance creativity and will broaden the skillset of researchers while fostering a more efficient utilization of resources,” UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. said.

It is the second edifice to be constructed on the University’s research complex in Laguna after the completion of UST-Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center last April 2023.

JSLA Architects designed the four-story project, which is said to be inspired from classical pattern with a modern interpretation to symmetry, balance and proportion.

The UST-WiTBIRIn will stand at 23.20 meters with a floor area of 8,311 square meters.

Vice Rector for Research and Innovation Rev. Fr. Jannel Abogado, O.P., said Belo’s donation is a suitable and “seasonable” gift for UST that is expounding and intensifying research activities.  

“This is no ordinary building but will be a breeding ground for great discoveries and ideas that are expected to contribute to the transformation… of our communities, our nation, and the world,” Wilcon Builders’ Foundation, Inc. chairman emeritus Belo said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the institute will definitely be a valuable contributor in advancing our beloved alma mater, purpose and mission,” the philanthropist added.

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