Secretariat for research and development launched
The Government has set up a coordinating secretariat to streamline
scientific research and development in the country. The establishment
named as the Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and
Innovation (COSTI) will function under the supervision of Senior
Minister of Scientific Affairs Tissa Vitarana.
This office will coordinate Sri Lankan scientific researches to
contribute to the country's economic and social development. "Rather
focusing on growing tea and exporting it, we need to substitute our
imports to achieve our economic development goals," said Professor
Sirimalee Fernando, Scientific Advisor to Minister Tissa Vitharana and
the Chairman of the National Science Foundation.
As Prof. Fernando explained, existing main research institutes in Sri
Lanka were established during the British era focusing only on the main
export components of those days such as tea, rubber and coconut. "We
need to go beyond an export culture and focus on value added products",
Prof. Fernando added.
"To fulfil social development people need to feel secure about food,
water and energy. We need to be resilient to the disasters and climate
change. Quality healthcare, housing are essential components. Scientists
need to address these issues," she said.
"To do achieve this target we need a solid coordinating system as in
the research and development field to closely work with 20 line
ministries. The responsibility of COSTI is to coordinate and monitor
this field ensuring research positively contribute to national
development," she added.
Speaking on the new establishment, its Program Director Dr. Nobel
Jayasuriya said that special attention is needed in capacity building of
the human resource and further developing the existing infrastructure
for researches. "COSTI will not be interfering in to the management of
research institutes. But where ever there is scientific research is
involved we try to bring in some coherence in to this whole development
effort," said Dr. Jayasuriya.