In line with the commitment of the West Visayas State College for the advancement of knowledge at the tertiary and post-graduate levels, the College Research Center was established in 1981 primarily to conduct and coordinate researches as well as to evaluate field services which will lead to effective educational programs. These researches included pilot try-out projects in various schools and communities within the region.
The programs which were the concern of the center were those concerning (1) agricultural education, (2) liberal arts education, (3) medical education, (4) nursing education, and (5) teacher training. The budget included the function for research in 1981 with a meager amount of P45,000.00. Before 1981, minimal amount for departmental researches were directed more on instructional materials production. Those in agriculture mini researches were funded partly by the School of Agriculture and the student researchers. The same was true with researches conducted by the students in the School of Medicine. The Office of Research was under the directorship of Dr. Nilda S.L. Causing for the period 1977-1985.
In 1986 the Iloilo National College of Agriculture in Lambunao was integrated with the West Visayas State College under P.O. 2019 to form the West Visayas State University. As a University, it is mandated to perform a trilogy of functions, namely: Instruction, Research and Extension.
Research as an important function of the University must generate technology to improve the quality of life of the people and ways of doing things.
In 1986 the operation of the Office of Research and Non-formal Education was ably manned by Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin as Director of Research and Non-formal Education.
In 1987, the Board of Regents under Resolution No. 44 approved the Organizational Chart of WVSU with research as one of the trilogic functions of the University. The two others are Instruction and Extension under which is the non-formal education. Dr. Evelyn D. Tomambo became Director of Extension while Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin continued as Director of Research. Researches conducted at that time were mostly student theses and problems on curricular programs in Graduate Studies, Agriculture and Forestry, Medicine and Nursing. Very few faculty and staff had enough time and adequate training to conduct research. Inadequate laboratory facilities and limited land area were factors affecting the conduct of on-campus research. The budget allocated for research was only 0.735% of the total institutional budget. The office was manned by only seven (7) fulltime staff (1 Director, 1 Statistician, 3 Research Assistants and 2 Laborers) and three (3) part-time faculty members who acted as Project/Study Leaders.
In 1991 the office began to develop a critical mass of researchers who can be tasked to conduct independent researches. Among the objectives were to generate knowledge and technology on priority areas of coffee and tropical fruits, development of endogenous materials and resources as well as the social integration of these new knowledge into the economic stream, develop excellent field and laboratory facilities that can service all research units of the university as well as the needs of the community, and establish linkages with national and international research institutions, organizations and individuals. There were feverish activities to institutionalize the preparation and submission of research proposals using PCARRD/DOST form. These research proposals with budget were submitted to PCARRD for endorsement to DBM for inclusion in the University budget. In 1990, WVSU became part of the PCARRD National Agriculture Resources Research and Development Network (NARRDN).
The ground was also being cleared for the inclusion of WVSU as one of the sub-stations of the Philippine Carabao Center which came into fruition with the passage of R.A. 7307 otherwise known as “Philippine Carabao Act of 1992.”
In 1992 the office continued to implement prioritized research projects. Of the seventeen (17) studies conducted, five (under Coffee Rejuvenation Project) were funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) with a total budget of 856,000.00. Dr. Andresito A. Millamena was designated Research Director in the middle of 1992. Under his leadership, the University Research Council was established in 1993. The council was composed mainly of the heads of various WVSU academic and related units for the purpose of coordinating research activities in the University. The WVSU played an active role in the following research-related activities: Macro-intersectoral Coordinating Assistance committee under the Regional Development Council of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) specifically the Regional Research and Development Council (RRDC) and Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG); Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) and the 30th National Annual Scientific Convention of the Philippine Society of Animal Science (PSAS) in November 1993.
Realizing the fact that the Research and Development (R&D) activities of the University cannot go beyond the R & D awareness and the capabilities of its faculty and staff, the Office of Research in 1994 took further steps in enhancing the role of the office. Led by its newly designated Director Dr. Silva U. Hipolito, the creation of the Technical Working Teams by area/commodity was initiated, the functions of which are to: 1) set research priorities by area/commodity, 2) screen submitted R & D proposals, 3) assist the proponent in the R & D designing and instrumentation, 4) endorse R & D proposals for funding, and 5) act as evaluator in the R & D midyear and year end review.
The Council for the University Research and Extension (CURE) was created in July 1994 to: formulate policy and implementing guidelines in the pursuit of the University Research and Extension functions; act as a clearing, coordinating and monitoring body for the Research and Extension activities of the University, and to lead in the development and implementation of a multi-dimensional Research and Extension program for the University. Membership to CURE was by nomination. Heads of every academic unit in the university nominated two representatives to CURE, one to represent Research and the other to represent Extension. For the first time in the history of the University an R & D program named WVSU-HELP (WVSU Multi-dimensional Approach to Health, Environment, Literacy and Poverty Alleviation in depressed communities of Iloilo) was organized with the aim of developing an effective approach to countryside development.
The Office of Research continued to link with other agencies both foreign and local. In March 3, 1994, a Memorandum of Agreement on goat research between the WVSU and Langston University, Oklahoma, USA was finally signed allowing collaborative research not only on goats but also in other areas of endeavor. A month before this (January 1994) another MOA between the WVSU and four other agencies/entities, namely: 1) Iloilo Provincial Government, 2) Department of Agriculture, Region VI, 3) Panay Community Resources Development Foundation Inc. and 4) Provincial Development Council, was signed for implementation of the project entitled “Dairy Production and Development Project of Iloilo.”
In June 1994, the University became a recipient of a grant in the amount of P100,000.00 from William Barry Thompson Foundation. The money was intended for the putting up of micro-enterprises that will provide venue for the development of the marketing knowledge and skills of the faculty and students.
On April 25-26, 1995 a MOA was signed between the University and the Municipalities of Leganes and Lambunao on the partnership of the Office of Extension and the Office of Research, the program-WVSU-HELP intensified on activities that gave direct impact on the residents of the two adopted barangays, namely Brgy. Camangay in Leganes and Brgy. Walang in Lambunao, Iloilo.
Until 1999, the Office of Research sustained its WVSU-HELP Program as well as the implementation of its DOST-cleared research projects.
The year 2000 saw the designation of Dr. Crisanto S. Lopez, Jr. as the new Director of the Office of Research. The already well-placed policies in relation to faculty incentives were further strengthened with the approval of Board Resolution No. 35, s. 2000. This provided the granting of the deloading privilege upon approval of the research proposal and not after the completion of the study. Monetary incentives for publications were also classified according to the nature of publications made, whether local, national or international. These provisions served as a welcome catalyst, evidenced by increasing number of faculty who submitted research proposals during the year.
The office also made its strong presence with its active participation either in the university or external activities. Among the significant awards the university garnered through the office was:
In the early part of the year 2002, Board Resolution No. 62 s. 2002 provided for more comprehensive guidelines in the conduct of researches in the university. In detail, policies on deloading, monetary incentives for publications and other salient points in the conduct of research were strengthened. It was also in this year when the Office of the Vice President for Research, Extension, Planning and Development was created which under its umbrella is the Office of Research. Dr. Purita P. Bilbao was designated as the first Vice President for Research, Extension, Planning and Development. It was also early in this year that the name Office of Research was aptly changed to University Research and Development Center (URDC).
In the middle of 2003 the University received funding from the U.S Department of State in the amount P1,466,567.66 for WVSU-WMSU-UGA partnership project.
In 2005, the research projects in native chicken got funding from DOST and PCARRD for WVSU-PCARRD projects.
Through the leadership of Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin the Darag native chicken widely spread its wings not only in the regional level but in the national as well. It is in this light that Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin was called the Father of Darag Native Chicken. Also in this year that Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin retired as a University Professor but still not tired of going to WVSU as far as Darag native chicken is concerned. Dr. Evelyn D. Tomambo was designated as a new program leader of the Darag native chicken to continue the legacy of Dr. Bernabe B. Cocjin at WVSU on January, 2006.
With the support of the office under the newly designated Director Dr. Elvira L. Arellano, the Darag native chicken brought another honor and awards to WVSU this year.