Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science celebrates 75 years

Wednesday, 4 December 2019 01:33 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) is the premier organisation of Scientists in Sri Lanka; SLAAS was founded in 1944 and incorporated by Act of Parliament No. 11 of 1966 with the aim of popularising and advancing science in the country. 

At present, SLAAS has a membership over 10,000, representing almost all disciplines of science. SLAAS comprises of  eight sections dedicated to different areas of science; namely Medical, Dental and Veterinary Sciences (Section A), Agriculture and Forestry (Section B), Engineering, Architecture and Surveying (Section C), Life and Earth Sciences (Section D), Physical Sciences (Section E1), Chemical Sciences (Section E2), Computer Science (Section E3), Social Sciences (Section F).  

SLAAS holds several statutory committees; House and Finance Committee (HF), General Research Committee (GRC), Environment Committee (EC), Ethics Committee, Committee for the Popularisation of Science (CPS), and several other special committees.

Steering the SLAAS brigade this year under the General Presidency of Senior Prof. Preethi Udagama, many activities took place throughout the year including commemoration of the SLAAS 75th or semi-sesquicentennial Anniversary on 29 July.  

Based on the SLAAS theme for 2019, ‘Biotechnology for a Sustainable Future’, the SLAAS biotechnology symposia series conducted through the second half of the year included seven symposia, each dedicated to a specific biotech branch. 

Both local and international specialists from each area delivered the keynote addresses while a line-up of biotech experts engaged in research in that area of biotech shared their expertise and experience with the audience. 

The abstracts of the talks of each symposium were printed as a booklet. A group of young academics are retrieving data on biotechnology research carried out in Sri Lanka in order to prepare a report on the biotech research landscape of our country. A workshop on ‘Biotech Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ was also held.

The project on launching School STEM Clubs was of high priority and a team from both the CPS and the SEC committees after long discussions finalised the program with relevant handbooks to initiate this as an action research program. The first workshop to train the trainers (STEM teachers) was held recently. This school STEM clubs will be started soon. SLAAS signed a MoU with the Ministry of Science Technology and Research for funds to promote STEM education starting from this year. 

SLAAS in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC) organised a conference ‘From Innovation to Impact 2019’ aiming societal impact of both R&D Innovation and social innovation, with international technical sponsorship. 

The 12 conference papers will be published in the international IEEE Xplore journal. The SLAAS Journal, one of the leading Sri Lankan Science Journals, published the second volume this year. Lot of activities revolved throughout the year.

The 75th SLAAS Annual Sessions will be held from 8-13 December at the University of Colombo. The ceremonial Inauguration is planned on 8 December at the Professor V.K. Samaranayake Auditorium, University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC). 

The SLAAS Theme Seminar will be held on 9 December at the same venue with an excellent line-up of international and local speakers. The Science Festival will be held on 10, 12 and 13 December at the Faculty of Science and the UCSC; this will include scientific sessions (oral and poster presentations), presidential addresses, guest talks, discussion panels etc. The school inventors’ competition will be a special event. 

For more details please visit our website at and by contacting the SLAAS office. The general public is invited for the SLAAS sessions starting from 10 December.