Fifth webinar on Digital Platform held successfully with active participation of Sri Lankans in Europe

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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. Four webinars were held in the recent past with active participation of Sri Lankan expatriate professionals from Australia, USA, UK, Canada and the 05th one was held on 13th October 2020 with Europe.  

The webinar with Europe was held under the chairmanship of Prof. Ranjith Senaratne of NSF. Prof. Shanthi Mendis, Geneva Learning Foundation & former senior advisor to WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, Prof. Nandana Rajatheva, University of Oulu, Finland and Dr Ravichandran Rajkumar, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Germany expressed their views on the possibilities and prospects for collaboration in the academic, research and entrepreneurial arenas in  mutually rewarding manner. Principle Liaison Points (PLPs) from Sri Lanka, namely Dr Lakshman Wedikkarage, Dept. of Social Science Education, University of Colombo, Prof. Prasad Jayaweera, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr Terney Pradeep Kumara, Dept. of Oceanography and Marine Geology and Prof. Gamini Fonseka, Dept. of English and Linguistics, University of Ruhuna also expressed their views on strengthening scientific cooperation and research collaboration through the digital platform. 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 educational research, access to cutting edge research publications, technical cooperation in marine spatial  planning, identifying clusters and communities of similar interest, sharing  of information on the expatriates with the local academic and research community, collaborative  research, student exchange, joint supervision and  publications, teaching on emerging technologies and giving wider publicity for funding and other opportunities through the digital platform were among the high points  of the discussion. Some constructive suggestions for the design of the proposed Digital Platform were also made.

Prof. Priyantha Wijethunga, University of Umea, Sweden, Dr Renuka Wijesekara, (High School Teacher), Norway and Prof. Ranil Jayanetti, Medical Device Industry, Switzerland were also 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. Prasad Jayaweera, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Mr Shantha Siri, Head, International Liaison Division was ably assisted by Ms Thilinakumari Kandanamulla, Scientific Officer in coordinating the event.

Links:

List of participants

Webinar recording: https://youtu.be/IvVXF80WV2Q

Programme


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