A digital platform to strengthen networking and connectivity

Message from Chairman

Prof. Ranjith Senaratne

Chairman
National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka.

I affords me great pleasure to send this message to the Global Digital Platform (GDP) launched on 21 February 2022 which undoubtedly signifies an important landmark in the annals of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the premier national institution mandated to promote S&T in Sri Lanka.

There are nearly three million Sri Lankan expatriates and emigrants including an appreciable number of reputed scientists, professionals, technologists and entrepreneurs holding senior positions in academia, R&D institutions and industry. They unarguably constitute a formidable potential asset of Sri Lanka which has hitherto been almost untouched and untapped for national development. In fact, many Sri Lankan expatriates are keen to contribute to the development of the motherland; however, the lack of a credible and pragmatic mechanism has hindered such contribution, whereas countries such as China, India and Taiwan have derived remarkable benefits by harnessing expatriates for national development.

The digital platform will be integrated with the other digital databases of the NSF including S&T Management Information System (STMIS) with over 6,000 R&D personnel and high-end analytical and testing equipment available in R&D institutions and academia of the country. Therefore, the GDP can also be transformed into a new business model, especially to provide intellectual inputs, technology, know-how, show-how and information on analytical and testing services available which can facilitate and promote industrial growth.

Thus, the GDP offers a pragmatic and credible mechanism to harness, mobilize and channel intellectual assets at home and abroad ― the most precious and treasured resource in a knowledge economy ― to address and resolve high-priority national needs and concerns while making the most of the opportunities available in order to transform Sri Lanka into a developed nation.

Therefore, we persistently worked on the idea of constructing an instrument to harness this potential with technical support from the Sri Lanka Association for Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM), which helped the NSF to translate our dream into reality. Thanks to the expert intervention of the SLASSCOM and indefatigable efforts of the International Affairs Division of the NSF, now we have a state-of-the-art global digital platform with the requisite capabilities and features to harness the expatriates for national development. Practically every sector of the economy including higher education, S&T, foreign direct investment, trade/exports, tourism and industry could benefit from it. It has manifold applications and can even be used to harvest “global waters” when calling for applications for high-profile positions such as Vice-Chancellor as done in many other countries.

Presently over 950 distinguished Sri Lanka expatriates from across the globe have joined the platform and they have already contributed in numerous ways to enhance higher education and S&T in Sri Lanka which we record with deep appreciation. We look forward to their kind patronage to enlist more expatriates with the GDP. With the launch of the digital platform, the scope, diversity, frequency and scale of such programmes will be greatly enhanced, potentially impacting many sectors of the economy.

We continue our recruitment drive to enlist more expatriates with our platform to make it a formidable source of strength, inspiration and direction for national development. We are confident that the GDP of the NSF will be a potent catalyst and powerful instrument in raising the GDP of our country and a game changer signifying a turning point in the S&T trajectory of Sri Lanka.

While reaffirming our unwavering commitment to promoting science, technology and innovation in the country, we look forward to facilitating, enabling and consolidating strategic scientific cooperation and collaboration between the sons and daughters of Sri Lanka Matha at home and abroad, thereby charting a new course and blazing a new trail to propel Sri Lanka along a new trajectory to be a developed nation by 2035.

Message from the Director General

Dr Sepalika Sudasinghe

Director General
National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka.

With the upward trend of global knowledge-based economy, countries are increasingly relying on S&T skills and infrastructure for competitive advantage. In the knowledge-based economy, the physical assets have been replaced with intellectual assets where science, technology and innovation resource base in a country has become a vital element in terms of socioeconomic development. With limited R&D funding, infrastructure and R&D workforce in home, it is very important to tap the global talent pool in leveraging R&D outputs. It also facilitates accessing cutting edge R&D findings without re-inventing the wheel. The NSF Global Digital Platform (DGP) facilitates catalizing and mobilizing intellectual capital in home as well as abroad for betterment of the innovation ecosystem and ultimately achieving socio-economic advantage through synergy and complementarity. The global tenet pool could also tap to address high-priority national needs and concerns whist exploiting emerging opportunities in the global value chain through value addition to natural resources.

Thus, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the premier state institution mandated to foster science, technology and innovation sector in Sri Lanka, has developed a digital platform; an effective online ecosystem to harness this enormous source around the world for national development. Overarching objectives of the platform are providing greater opportunities for higher education & capacity building, enhancing academic cooperation & research collaboration, creating culture of creativity & innovation, promoting joint publications & ranking of Sri Lankan universities and facilitating technology transfer.

With the launch of this Digital Platform, it will facilitate a greater outreach with effective and amplified harness of global talent pool result in maximized socio-economic benefits whilst advancement of the innovation ecosystem. The generous support extended by the SLASSCOM in development of this platform is greatly acknowledged.

THE FACILITIES

  • Greater access to opportunities for higher education and short-term training.
  • Promoting international scientific cooperation and research collaboration.
  • Promoting joint scholarly publications.
  • Shared experience through webinars & seminars and taking science to the community.
  • Enable Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to make links with expatriate Sri Lankan scientists.
  • Training and capacity building R & D workforce of Sri Lanka and create an overarching research culture.

EMINENT EXPATRIATES ENGAGED WITH THE PLATFORM

S & T expatriate networks have become a powerful instrument in raising intellectual capital that has enabled the developing countries to strategically harness their expatriate scientists and technologists for national development. As a country that has experienced considerable “Brain Drain” during past few decades, Sri Lanka needs to build a strong network for effective tapping of STI.

Dr. Bandula Wijey

Ambassador of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to USA. He has contributed to many NSF activities to accommodate the Sri Lankan community in the fields of STI. Dr Bandula Wijey has been involved in many ground breaking medical inventions such as stents used in heart surgeries. He was a resource person of the World Science Day webinar of NSF in 2020.

Prof. Aruna Weerasuriya

The Chair, Plant & Environmental Sciences; College of Agriculture & Human Sciences, Prairie View A&M University (Texas A&M University System). He has been actively engaged with the NSF Digital Platform activities and was a resource person at the webinar on ‘How Sri Lankan expatriates could contribute to enhancing academic and research performance of the higher educational institutions in Sri Lankaʼ (29.06.2021).

Prof. Danture Wickremasinghe

A Professor in Accounting at the Adam Smith Business School of the University of Glasgow, UK was recently engaged with the NSF webinar on ‘How Sri Lankan Expatriates could contribute to enhancing academic and research performance of the higher educational institutes of Sri Lankaʼ held on 29th of June, 2021.

Prof. Dilantha Fernando

Dean of the St. Paulʼs College and Professor, Department of Plant Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, at the University of Manitoba, Canada is the recipient of Canadaʼs highest honor, the 2020 CPS Award for Outstanding Research. He was also a resource person at the NSF webinar on ‘How Sri Lankan Expatriates could contribute to enhancing academic and research performance of the higher educational institutes of Sri Lankaʼ held on 29th of June, 2021.

Prof. Saman Halgamuge

A Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the School of Electrical Mechanical and Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia. He has been actively contributing to the recent webinars including the one on ‘Writing articles to high impact journals: a guide to researchersʼ (25.05.2021) as a resource person and has provided valuable insights to further improve the impact factor of the NSF journals.

Prof. Shanthi Mendis

A Senior Consultant in Global Health and Specialist Physician/Cardiologist and a former Senior Adviser World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. She is an active contributor in different NSF initiatives and contributed as a resource person at the collaborative webinar on ‘Ethics in Researchʼ which was held on 22nd July, 2021.

Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga

A Professor of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and the Head of the Global Disaster Resilience Centre of the School of Applied Sciences in the University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom (UK) has engaged with NSF in a number of initiatives and recently participated as a resource person at the webinar on ‘Writing articles to high impact journals: a guide to researchersʼ held on 25th May 2021.

Prof. Monte Cassim

The President of the Akita International University is an eminent expatriate Sri Lankan academic and a researcher in Japan. He has been actively engaged with a number of collaborations with Sri Lanka in the Science, Technology and innovation fields and expressed views as to how best the expatriates could serve Sri Lanka at a webinar by NSF held on 20.10.2020.

Prof. Malik Peiris

A clinical and public health virologist and his research encompasses the pathogenesis, innate immune responses, transmission, ecology and epidemiology of human and animal influenza viruses. In 2003, Prof. Peiris and his research team discovered SARS-CoV, a novel coronavirus, as the etiological agent for SARS. Recognizing his outstanding contribution to the field, he is accoladed with many awards namely Mahathir Science Award, Akademi Sains, Malaysia (2007); a Silver Bauhinia Star, Hong Kong SAR (2008); the Medal “100 Years of Virology” of the D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (2009); and the title Officier de la Legion d’Honneur, Republic of France (2017) and John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award 2021.

Prof. Prema-chandra Athukorala

A fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests are primarily in the fields of development macroeconomics, international trade and development, multinational enterprises and foreign direct investment, and international labour migration. He was a consultant to the World Bank, ADB, ILO, UNIDO & WTO. He is one of the editors of landmark publication of NSF on COVID pandemic titled ‘COVID 19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience: From Adversity to Serendipity’

INTERACTIVE FORUM

S & T expatriate networks have become a powerful instrument in raising intellectual capital that has enabled the developing countries to strategically harness

INFORMATION & KNOWLEDGE SHARING

News & Updates

The Special issue of Journal of the National Science Foundation is Out!

Click here https://www.nsf.gov.lk/index.php/science-for-all/jnsf

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Global Digital Platform established by NSF harnesses another expatriate scientists to support enhancing research skills of school children in rural areas

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Expatriate scientists in USA visit NSF to initiate academic cooperation

Dr Tharanga Wijetunge (Associate Professor of Mathematics) and Dr Irosha Nawarathne (Associate Professor of Chemistry) of Lyon College, State of...

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PRINCIPAL LIAISON POINTS (PLPs)

A digital platform to strengthen networking and tapping the global talent pool for socio-economic advantage