Susil says Sri Lanka striving for global collaboration in science, technology and innovation

Tuesday, 8 November 2016 00:35 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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At the International Convention of Science, Technology and innovation held from 31 October to 4 November 2016 in Havana, Cuba, Sri Lanka emphasised the need for developing countries to work together while making collective efforts in their endeavours to transform their countries into scientific, technological and innovation centric development models.

Participating in a round table panel discussion  chaired by Cuban Minister of Science, Technology and Environment Elba Rosa Perez Montoya on 1 November 2016, the Sri Lankan Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha said this to a well attended audience of scientists, innovators, policy makers and other stakeholders from around the world. Elaborating further, the Minister underscored and singled out Cuba’s accomplishments in the fields of bio and nanotechnology as a beacon of hope for those countries aspiring to become advanced societies in the 21st century. Several other speakers who addressed the gathering afterwards echoed Minister Premajayantha’s sentiments and supported greater collaboration in their quest to learn from and share with each other for mutual benefit.

The International Convention which commenced on 31 October also witnessed a host of foreign delegations converged on Havana in a spirit of unity and friendship for a worthy cause aimed at networking, harnessing resources, setting new bench marks in regard to sustaining an inclusive and holistic science, technology and innovation based development agenda for all. Parallel to the convention, there was an exhibition showcasing best practices and approaches presented by several local and foreign entities. 

Minister Premajatantha also held bilateral discussions with Cuban Minister of Science, Technology and Environment Elba Rosa Perez Montoya on matters of mutual interest including provision of scholarships, academic exchanges, R & D and technology transfer etc. The Sri Lankan Minister thanked his Cuban counterpart for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements and also for the opportunity to participate in such an important and timely convention. An invitation extended to Minister Montoya to visit Sri Lanka was kindly accepted. Minister Montoya expressed her desire to work with Sri Lankan Minister in order to find ways and means to promote long term partnership in strategic areas of interest to both sides. 

Bilateral talks were followed by the signing of a ‘Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sri Lanka and Cuba on Scientific and Technology Cooperation’ as envisaged by the two Ministers during discussions.

Minister Premajayantha, who is also the President of Sri Lanka – Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Association, met with the members of the Cuba – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group at the National Assembly in Havana. During discussions, both sides expressed their satisfaction at the excellent relations enjoyed by the parliamentarians of the two countries while stressing their resolve to further promote friendship and understanding between them.

On the sidelines of the convention, the Minister and delegation representing Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba Sarath Dissanayake, Chairman of the National Engineering & Development Centre(NERD) Shavendranath Fernanado, Project Scientist Coordinating Secretariat for Science Technology & Innovation(COSTI) Amali Ranasinghe and Research Fellow of Industrial Technology Institute Dr. R. M. Dharmadasa visited several centres of scientific excellence in Havana and explored possible future collaboration in a range of sectors having special emphasis on bio-technology. The Cuban authorities assured the Minister of their commitment to work together and share expertise and know-how especially in the development of vaccines and enzymes, treatment of diseases, bio and nanotechnology initiatives.

The convention, which was inaugurated on 31 October, continued until 4 November 2016.