UniPassau 2024

VSU is privileged as one of the university partners of the Bioeconomy Economics Research Group from the University of Passau (UniPassau) in Germany to work on joint research on the valorization of residues for bio-based products, particularly, tropical fruits.

The research project is led by Dr. Terese Venus, the research group leader from the UniPassau who paid a courtesy call last December 2023 at the university together with one of her doctoral researchers, Ms. Nymphmary Daphne J. Santiago, who is a #ProudViscan alumna.

The partnership was sealed with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between UniPassau and VSU through the College of Management and Economics (CME). Under their current agreement, the two institutions will be working together until 2026. 

About the ReValueD Project


The research team of Dr. Venus is working on a project entitled, “Residue valorization for bio-based products in developing countries: bridging the gap between technical knowledge and socio-economic realities (ReValueD).” This project adopted the concept of bioeconomy, a paradigm shift from a fossil fuel-based economy to a bio-based economy – a sustainable development solution to global issues promoted by international organizations in Europe. 

This bio-based economy will use renewable biological resources such as crops, forests, fish, animals, and microorganisms to produce food, materials, and energy.

“As a case study, the project focuses on a rapidly growing stream of biomass: residues from tropical forests for higher valued-added products to investigate their potential, socioeconomic and ecological implications, and market links in the global bioeconomy. This research spans three tropical regions: Latin America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia, connecting case studies in Costa Rica, Ghana, and the Philippines to European markets through evolving biomass-based value webs,” as posted on their website.

This five-year project is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).

According to #ProudViscan Ms. Santiago, who is part of the ReValueD project, their team aims to bridge the gap between technical knowledge of bioeconomy and existing socio-economic realities in developing countries.

“Particularly in the Philippines, we will focus on the linkages between sustainable resource management, rural development, and the emerging bioeconomy.”


When asked about the reason why they partnered with VSU, Ms. Santiago summed up that it is the reputation of VSU and its researchers in terms of research quality and the notable partnerships they inked with other international universities around the world.

“Firstly, it stands out due to its quality research, especially in the field of economics, that is directly relevant to our project. We believe that VSU’s extensive experience and expertise in research would significantly contribute to our project. Secondly, VSU has a rich history of active engagement in the region, fostering strong connections with various government agencies, non-government organizations, people’s organizations, and other stakeholders across multiple sectors in Eastern Visayas. Lastly, VSU’s research extends beyond Eastern Visayas, covering neighboring regions such as Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and parts of Luzon and Mindanao. Thus, our collaboration with VSU is crucial for our project, given its well-established network across the region and the country. In addition, partnering with a university that has earned trust and a good reputation among stakeholders is essential to encourage their active participation,” she explained.


With this partnership, VSU and UniPassau will work on joint research activities and publications and will exchange academic information and materials, and even scholars.

“We will collaborate with VSU on exchanging knowledge through research seminars, guest lectures, conferences, and a summer school on bioeconomy. Additionally, we plan to invite Dr. Moises Neil V. Seriño from VSU for a one-month research fellowship at the University of Passau in Germany this year. At the end of the project, we will ensure that our work has policy relevance by organizing policy workshops in the Philippines,” Ms. Santiago shared.


Aside from VSU, they are also collaborating with the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) in Davao City for the ReValueD project.

Ms. Santiago finished her bachelor’s degree in economics with the academic distinction of Magna Cum Laude from VSU in 2018. In 2020, she was granted a VLIR-UOS scholarship and completed her master's degree in rural development at Ghent University in Belgium, Universidad de Cordoba in Spain, and Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral in Ecuador, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2022.

She is currently taking her doctoral studies in economics at UniPassau and is equally grateful and honored to work with VSU, her home university, on this research project.

“First and foremost, doing my PhD research at UniPassau in collaboration with VSU and USeP has become possible because of the unwavering support of my former BS Econ professors at VSU, MS mentors at UGent, and my current supervisor at the UniPassau. I am thrilled to be a part of this project with UniPassau and VSU. I am especially eager to learn from research experts at these institutions. I look forward to sharing and applying the knowledge I’m gaining in Germany and from my fieldwork in the Philippines. I hope our project will bring a positive impact on the communities we are working with and on our country, in general. I hope this collaboration will also serve as an avenue for our VSU students to experience research in Germany that can broaden their minds and perspectives.”

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