A platform for showcasing Sri Lanka’s high-tech potential and future | Daily News



A platform for showcasing Sri Lanka’s high-tech potential and future

The Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MHETI) and the State Technology and Innovation Ministry (SMTI) have organised an exhibition titled INNOTECH 2020 with the main objectives of showcasing research and development outcomes and innovations of the institutes and universities operating under the purview of these ministries, and promoting science literacy at all levels of society.

The exhibition will also be a platform for school and university students, and tertiary and higher educational institutions to popularise their inventions and create enthusiasm amongst the younger generation to engage in science and initiate start-ups based on inventions and innovations. In addition, research and development (R&D) outcomes and inventions of the Tri-Forces and Police will also be exhibited.

Both ministries are engaged in various R&D initiatives in collaboration with the Government Research Institute (GRI), universities under the purview of the ministry and the private sector. These initiatives are focused towards various economic sectors including agriculture, health, environment and water. In order to compete with global and regional growth in the field of technological development, the MHETI and SMTI together with its institutes and universities are currently focused on promoting R&D in advanced, disruptive and modern technologies such as nanotechnology, robotics, industrial automation, biotechnology, genomic science and artificial intelligence.

It is envisaged that by adopting advanced and disruptive technologies in R&D, the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) sector can triple its contribution towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Although the ministry and its institutes are closely engaged in R&D related to important economic sectors, the knowledge created and products developed as a result of R&D are not communicated or disseminated to relevant target groups and not benefitted especially by industry and entrepreneurs and the public at large.

There is a considerable gap between the knowledge created and its application at ground level. With the advancement of technologies globally, it is important that Sri Lanka creates an enabling environment for the STI sector to compete globally and to create a knowledge-sharing platform so that all segments of society especially schools, universities, the private sector, inventors and entrepreneurs will be part of this. Having such an enabling environment will facilitate achieving the objectives of creating a technology-based society as highlighted in the Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, the National Policy Framework proposed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. This led to the idea of having a national exhibition on Innovation and Technology titled INNOTECH.

Venue and themes

INNOTECH 2020 exhibition will be held from tomorrow, March 11 to March 14 in Pitipana, Homagama from 9.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. in the following premises.

* Mahinda Rajapaksa National School

* Technology Faculty of the Sri Jayewardendepura University

* Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology

* National School of Business Management (NSBM)

* Department of Measurement Units and Standards and Services.

The exhibition has been organised under three categories:

* Educational Zone,

* Innovation Zone and

* Research and Development Zone

Target group

The target group of the exhibition includes schoolchildren, university students, tertiary and other higher educational institutions, entrepreneurs, inventors, the private sector and the public.

Scope of exhibition

The exhibition will include the following:

* Products and prototypes produced as a result of research and development in institutes and universities;

* Inventions from research institutes, universities and individual inventors;

* Display of inventions and exhibits from the Tri-Forces and Police;

* Edutainment activities (math lab and educational games);

* Awareness creation and demonstration of new and emerging technologies (nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, use of solar energy, Fifth Generation (5G) and the Internet of Things (IoT), neuro-technology and usage of drones);

* Mobile planetarium, night sky observation camps and student demonstration on water rockets;

* Exhibits of students from NSBM (Engineering and IT faculty);

* Awareness materials to increase knowledge on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and other related fields; and

* Entertainment activities (dog show, horse show, street drama, musical and cultural shows)

The exhibition has been organised under the guidance of Information and Communication Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovations Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardane, in collaboration with Education, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, and under the chairmanship of State Minister of Technology and Innovations Thilanga Sumathipala.

All institutes coming under the MHETI and SMTI in collaboration with the Education Ministry will take part in displaying their exhibits in different zones. More than one million visitors are expected at the exhibition. Admission is free. Special transport arrangements will be made available to attend the exhibition. A heavy turnout of visitors from all parts of the island is expected at the four-day mega exhibition.

Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena says the INNOTECH 2020 exhibition to be held at Homagama, Pitipana from March 11 to March 14 will showcase the research and development outcomes of the institutes and universities. He said this mega event will become a platform for school and university students, and tertiary and higher education institutes to popularise their inventions and create enthusiasm among the younger generation.

Minister Dr. Gunawardane said they are seeking the possibility of continuing the exhibition while allocating its income to strengthen the Mahapola Scholarship Fund. He also said that 1,200 innovations from 400 schools including schools from the Northern and Eastern Provinces will be exhibited at INNOTECH 2020.

Explaining the objective of INNOTECH 2020, the Minister said their main intention is to showcase research and development outcomes and innovations of the institutes and universities operating under the purview of the ministry and promoting science literacy at all levels of society. This will be the first of such exhibitions to be held countrywide and the ministry hopes to take this concept to other provinces as well.

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