How it all started

The historical journey of the National Science Council began with the appointment of Prof. Sir Nicholas Attygalle as the First Chairman and Mr B J P Alles as Acting Secretary General on part time basis. In September 1969, Dr C R Panabokke took over office as the First fulltime Chief Executive Officer of the Council. With the passage of time and accompanied by changes of stewardship, the National Science Council has evolved to what it is today, the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, through many models and styles of management. Notwithstanding these changes, however, the organization has been in the forefront in promoting scientific research in the country. Each one of the leaders have worked untiringly to drive the organization to a successful and globally recognized scientific organization.

c r panabokke
First fulltime Chief Executive Officer
Dr C R Panabokke

Archived photo - An event organized by the National Science Foundation during 1970s. Click on photo to full view.

The Journey of Half a Century

National Science Council (NSC) : 1968 to 1981

STONEIn January 1968, as a prelude to the establishment of an administrative machinery to coordinate and plan scientific activities in post-colonial Sri Lanka, the Government created a Ministry for Scientific Research and Housing. This move was the result of a long drawn out agitation of the scientific community through the Ceylon Association for the Advancement of Science (CAAS, now SLAAS), for the creation of an independent and autonomous National Research Council for Sri Lanka. Records show that the CAAS was never in favour of a Ministry for Scientific Research, as an alternative to a National Research Council. However, in mid 1968, having accepted the needs and aspirations of the scientific community, the Government created the National Science Council (NSC) by the NSC Act No. 9 of 1968, as a statutory body within the Ministry of Scientific Research and Housing. This organization began functioning in May 1968.

The National Science Council was inaugurated on 28 May 1968, with Hon. Dudley Senanayake, the Prime Minister of Ceylon as the Chief Guest. Among the other distinguished personalities present were the Minister of Scientific Research and Housing, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Minister of Industries and Fisheries, Minister of Lands and Land Development, Minister of Education, along with a number of Members of the Diplomatic Corp. The meeting was presided over by Sir Nicholas Attygalle, the first Chairman of the Council, and was addressed by all Cabinet Ministers present. All speakers drew the attention of the new Council, to the need to formulate a National Science and Technology Policy for the country. Inspired by these sentiments, the newly appointed Council at its very first meeting held on 29 May 1968, established a sub-committee to prepare a draft statement on Science Policy, which was to be the basis for the first seminar to be organized by the National Science Council.

The NSC began functioning in a rented house in Horton Place, Colombo 7. Dr  C R Panabokke took office as the first fulltime Chief Executive Officer of the National Science Council in September 1969. Until that time Mr  B  J P Alles held office as the Acting Secretary General on a part time basis. The foundation stone for a new building for the National Science Council was laid by Hon. M D H Jayawardana, Minister for Scientific Research and Housing on 28 December 1969. The Secretariat moved to the new building located in Maitland Place, Colombo 7, in March 1973

Dr  Panabokke soon gave way to Dr  G C N Jayasuriya, who was responsible for piloting the institution in its formative stage. He was ably assisted at various stages by Dr Kamala de Soysa, Marina De Silva (now Wijesekera), Dr Seetha Rodrigo, who were joined by more ladies, Clodagh Fernando, Swarna Prelis, Irangani Thabrew and Eleanor Jurianz.

Distinguish scholars who held the Chairmanship and Secretary General positions during this period.

Prof. Sir Nicholas Attygalle
Founder Chairman
1968 - 1970

Dr A N S Kulasinghe
1970 - 1972

Prof. O W Jayaratne
1972 - 1977

Prof. E O E Pereira
1977 - 1982

Dr C R Panabokke
First Fulltime Secretary General
September 1969 - Feburuary 1971

Dr G C N Jayasuriya
Secretary General
March 1971 - September 1978

Dr R P Jayewardene
Secretary General
November 1978 - May 1982

Natural Resources Energy & Science Authority of Sri Lanka (NARESA) : 1981 to 1998
National Science Foundation (NSF) : 1998 to date

Key Milestones

The NSF celebrated 50 years of dedicated service to the country on 04th October 2018. Read more

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