Research and Extension at UPLB


Research at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) began with the founding of the UP College of Agriculture (UPCA) in 1909.  The UPCA was at the forefront of agricultural research, experimenting and generating knowledge on tropical agriculture when at that time, it was acknowledged there was virtually none.


When the UP College of Agriculture opened its doors to its first batches of students, the administration led by Dr. Edward Bingham Copeland saw that local information on agriculture was very limited, much needing in-depth studies necessary in order to support instruction.


Thus, in 1915, the College opened an agricultural experiment station starting with little resources, except for land and some implements. Even so, the College, by 1917 already possessed more than 2000 biological specimens, a nucleus herd, and had introduced large quantity of plants from other areas, complementing its vast collection of almost every economically important crop in the Philippines.


Act 2730 enacted by the Philippine Legislature in February 1918 formally established the College Agricultural Experiment Station with an appropriation of P 125,000. With these funds, the College was able to buy research inputs such as additional land, animals, and constructed laboratory buildings and a barn.


The College had become well-known in scientific and academic communities even before World War II, when UPCA had already developed numerous and improved crops and livestock such as animal breeds.


By 1951, five years after the war, most of UPCA’s physical assets, except the biological collections and library have been restored. By then, the Central Experimental Station did notable projects in applied research: artificial breeding through artificial insemination, finding better varieties of economic crops, determining fertilizer needs of crops under different soil and climatic conditions, looking for control of disease and pests of crops and domesticated animals, developing improved feeds for livestock and poultry, adapting small tools for farms and homes, answering pressing public questions regarding farm finance, marketing and distribution, irrigation and drainage, and utilizing agricultural products and by-products for industry use.


But owing to the close relationship of the College and its staff and Cornell University, a contract for further technical assistance between the University and Cornell was drawn. Guiding this endeavor was Jacob Gould Shurman, President of Cornell University from 1892 - 1920, and was the Chair of the First US-Philippine Commission in 1899. Thus, in July 1, 1952, the first contract between the UPCA and Cornell was signed. It would be the first contract to rebuild the College’s physical plant and strengthen its faculty and ultimately usher partnerships between the two institutions until 1960.


By 1960, 90% of all agricultural research in the Philippines was being conducted at the UP College of Agriculture.

UPLB’s Three-fold Function

On November 20, 1972, through Presidential Decree No. 58, the UP System was created, with UPLB constituted as an autonomous unit.


Though instruction was considered as UPLB’s major function, research was also recognized as an equally important function.


Extension, on the other hand, was viewed as a function that showed UPLB’s relevance in the development of the countryside. Knowledge gained through research, imparting it through instruction, and applying it as public service are all efforts, directed towards the development of the whole man.


In the late 1950s, then UPCA Dean Dr. Dioscoro L. Umali “brought down the faculty from their ivory towers,” encouraged them to apply their expertise on actual agricultural problems, and to make the countryside their laboratory. Dr. Umali’s challenge resulted to the creation of an office tasked to monitor training and other extension activities at UPCA.


The move institutionalized and integrated the tripartite function of instruction, research, and extension in the university. It challenged the university to serve the people who saw the “UPCA’s golden age of extension” during Dr. Umali’s administration.

RDE Vision & Mission

As the first autonomous campus and constituent university of the UP System, UPLB has been drawing historical strength from agriculture, and now, with biotechnology and the environment. Building on this strength, UPLB evolves into a university with an institutional identity from its distinctive origin -- to develop opportunities, and to address the constraints in realizing these goals.


UPLB is considered as the Philippines premier learning institution in agriculture, biotechnology and the environment. UPLB has also become an emerging center of excellence in engineering, information and communication technology, and in the natural and social sciences, and is expected to play a vital and active role in charting a path towards overall national transformation. This transformation should provide Filipinos adequate access to food and social amenities, minimize absolute poverty, and empower communities to shape their future.


The university’s vision and mission is to aim for “distinctive excellence” - a term coined during UPLB’s strategic planning workshop in 2007. “Distinctive excellence” refers to UPLB’s niche that sets its apart from other academic institutions in the country; the collective expression of a culture of instruction, research and community service on the principles of science and social responsibility. It is the standard of greatness that UPLB establishes in the academic and research arena that others look up to for guidance and inspiration.


Now, towards the 20th century, UPLB is pursuing a vision that will nurture itself as a national center of excellence in the environment, biotechnology, and agricultural sciences; and a center for language and culture in the Southern Tagalog Region. UPLB’s current activities are now linked to the country’s vision to achieve a just, equitable and prosperous society through strengthened agricultural base and to grow confidently into industry and services.

RDE Thrusts

Research and extension, are two of the triple, major functions of UPLB. The University sees to it that its knowledge for teaching and for development are supported by local and/or national research findings from the experience of the institution through research and extension and immersion into the problems of the communities.


The stimulating effect of research provides the backstop and support to the instruction and extension functions. As a center of excellence in higher learning, UPLB's contribution to the pursuit of relevant knowledge is critical. Since 1909, until the university became autonomous in 1972, readjustments were made in its research thrusts without sacrificing its orientation for instruction. Its unique mission towards agricultural and rural development in the 70s heightened to include more specifically the development of the rural poor in the 80s.


Since then, criteria have been set forth in establishing research and extension priorities in the development, processing, and funding of research and extension proposals. All throughout agenda-settings over the years, UPLB has consulted with its various units to identify research and extension thrusts.


As a result of UPLB's continous strategic planning which commenced in 2008, a program framework was crafted after series of workshops aimed to align the university's research, development and extension programs to identified growth areas. As an output of the 2009 UPLB Planning Workshop, following growth areas in UPLB's future were enumerated, and have been adopted by the present administration of Chancellor Rex Victor O. Cruz.


These growth areas have been inputted into what is now known as UPLB's new Integrated Research, Development and Extension Framework:


  1. Food and nutrition security/ safety
  2. Integrated natural resources management
  3. Climate change
  4. Energy systems
  5. Information and communication technology
  6. Biotechnology
  7. Applied economics, agribusiness management and entrepreneurship
  8. Engineering
  9. Basic sciences
  10. Education and human development
  11. Culture and the arts, and
  12. Development and governance (as a cross-cutting area)


In 2005, as part of his vision for UPLB, Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco, the university oriented its programs to three priority areas – food and agriculture, environment, and biotechnology, where the university will focus and build its academic research programs around niches and themes that will respond to and anticipate major national needs:


  1. Agricultural Modernization and Competitiveness
  2. Equitable and Sustainable Rural Development
  3. Managing Tropical Ecosystems
  4. Urban-Rural Transition
  5. Research and Manpower Support to CALABARZON
  6. Continuing Education via Open and Distance Learning
  1. Alternative Energy RDE
  2. Natural Products RDE
  3. Bio-oganics RDE
  4. Climate Change RDE


In 1999, UPLB’s mandate was reassessed from its traditional role in providing national leadership in instruction, research and extension in agriculture, forestry and related fields to
meeting the growing needs for quality education in the arts and sciences, humanities and engineering.


The university’s mandate was broadened to include far-reaching policy and institutional reforms to address the problems of industry and agriculture; national development framework premised on accelerated economic growth; the Arroyo administration’s social contract with the poor; the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) premised on dynamic, smallholder agriculture; a need to revitalize education; call for more investments in productivity-enhancing research and development; and the pressing need to enhance institutional capability at all levels.


Further, being the seat of several centers of excellence, UPLB shares its institutional resources with the country’s state colleges and universities (SUCs). With the broadened UPLB mandate, the strategic vision, plans of action and priority research areas were set as follows:

  1. Molecular biology and biotechnology
  2. Biodiversity and genetic resource management
  3. Natural resource management
  4. Information and communication technology
  5. Knowledge systems and development and policy studies, and
  6. Sustainable production systems


In the 10th University Research and Extension Council (UREC) General Assembly held on February 19, 1996, the following thrusts were approved and pursued:

  1. Sustainable productivity and efficient resource use premised on ecological balance;
  2. Optimal rural and urban development;
  3. Appropriate technologies for processing industries;
  4. Basic research and cutting-edge technologies; and
  5. Indigenous knowledge systems and Philippine culture.
  1. Develop or test extension policies, models and approaches towards wider application;
  2. Respond to development issues, problems, changing needs and demands of its clientele;
  3. Disseminate and apply results of research and other relevant information and social technologies towards addressing issues and problems from the environment; and
  4. Contribute towards improving the quality of life of the people through improvement of agricultural production, better nutrition and health, and moral upliftment.

© 2013 UP Los Baños

Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension
3F UPLB Main Library Building
UPLB, College, Laguna, PH 4031
Telefax Nos: (+63) 49 536 2354, 5326
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