The Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry is situated in its own modern facility in the tree-lined campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. PIPAC, as it is more commonly known, is a name that has become synonymous with competence and reliability in the field of industrial chemistry.
Starting in 1965, the Department of Chemistry of the Ateneo de Manila University began to receive requests from government agencies and industrial firms for assistance in solving a variety of chemical problems. These ranged from product quality control, raw material research and by-product utilization, pollution monitoring and control, to training of industry personnel.
Due to the rising demand for chemical services, the idea of setting up a separate entity to provide essential chemical services to developing chemical and agricultural industries in the Philippines gradually became clear. Envisioned was an institute, similar to what exist in Germany, independent of, yet closely associated with Ateneo University to enable it to cooperate with the university's chemistry department.
In 1972, Dr. Modesto Chua, a former Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, during a 2-month sabbatical in Bonn presented a proposal to set up a research institute at the Ateneo to the Foundation. The proposal requested the donation of scientific equipment for the establishment of the envisioned institute.
The requested equipment was granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, in tandem with the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation, under the stipulation that the grant was "for the establishment of the Philippine Institute of Industrial Chemistry". The donated equipment included a 60MHz Varian NMR, a Gas Chromatograph, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, a High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph, a small mass spectrometer, polarographic analyzer and a TLC Densitometer.
These instruments expanded the range and sophistication of the chemical services that PIPAC offered. In 1975, the newly-formed institute was renamed as the Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC) to convey the full scope of its burgeoning operation. PIPAC was at that time operating from a small laboratory in the Chemistry Building of the Ateneo, and this limited the services offered.
In 1974, Dr. Chua submitted a proposal to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for support in putting up a building to house the expanding institute and to acquire additional scientific equipment. The Japanese government showed interest in the project, but no grant was made. Over the next six years, the proposal was presented every other year to JICA for consideration.
In 1982, JICA approved the grant, channeled through the Philippine Ministry of Trade and Industry. The PIPAC building was inaugurated in 1984. Once settled in its new home, and with the installation of new major equipment and other facilities, the Institute's activities gained momentum.
As a private, not-for-profit scientific institution operating in cooperation with the Ateneo University and providing chemical services to industry, the government, and the general public, PIPAC has served as a model of how university-industry interaction can be of great benefit in a developing country.