Fourth webinar on Digital Platform held successfully with active participation of Sri Lankans in Canada

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There are nearly three million Sri Lankan expatriates and emigrants, including an appreciable number of reputed scientists and professionals holding senior positions in academia, R&D institutions and industry. They undoubtedly constitute a formidable potential asset of Sri Lanka which hitherto remains almost  untapped and untouched for national development. Many SL expatriates are keen to contribute to the development of the motherland. However, the lack of a credible and pragmatic mechanism has hindered such contribution. National Science Foundation (NSF) — the premier national institution mandated to promote S&T in Sri Lanka — is in the process of establishing a digital platform with technical support of SLAASCOM to harness this enormous resource for national development. Three webinars were held in the recent past with active participation of  Sri Lankan expatriate professionals from Australia, USA and UK and the 04th one was held on 06th October 2020 with Canada.  

The webinar with Canada was held under the chairmanship of Prof. Ranjith Senaratne of NSF. Prof. Dilantha Fernando, Department of Plant Science, University of Manitoba and Principle Liaison Point (PLP) from Canada and Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe-Mudalige, Vice Chancellor, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka and  the PLP from Sri Lanka expressed their views on the possibilities and prospects for collaboration in the academic, research and entrepreneurial arenas  to mutual benefit. There was a valuable  contribution by the senior and eminent  as well as up-and-coming  Sri Lankan expatriate researchers, academics and professionals.  

Need for  vertical and horizontal integration of  universities , R&D institutions and funding agencies, sharing  of information on the expatriates with the local academic and research community, collaborative  research, student exchange, joint supervision and  publications and  establishment of joint laboratories were among the major issues that were  discussed. Some constructive suggestions for the design of the proposed Digital Platform were also made and need for developing a database of Sri Lankan expatriates in each of the  ten provinces in Canada was stressed.

Prof. Darshani Kumaragamage (Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, University of Winnipeg), Prof. Wimal Rankaduwa (Department of Economics, University of Prince Edward Island), Prof. Malwila Dissanayake (Dean, Environmental Sciences, Lakeland College), Prof. Athula Rajapakse (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Manitoba), Prof. Vasantha Rupasinghe (Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University) and Dr. Nanditha Bandara (Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences, University of Manitoba) were among the  eminent academics and researchers who  shared their valuable thoughts at this webinar.

Introduction to the NSF Digital Platform was made by the Chairman/NSF while Mr. Ashique Ali, Vice-Chair of SLASSCOM made a brief presentation on the key features of the digital platform, which is to be launched in the near future. This zoom event was hosted by Prof. Pradsad Jayaweera, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University of Sri Jayawardhanpura. Mr Shantha Siri, Head, International Liaison Division was ably  assisted by Ms Thilinakumari Kandanamulla, Scientific Officer in coordinating the event.



List of participants

Webinar recording:


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