26 September, 2020

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Harnessing S&T To Address Development Challenges

By Tissa Vitarana

Dr Tissa Vitarana

Madam Chairperson,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentleman,

I take this opportunity to thank the Secretary General of UNCTAD and the Secretariat of the CSTD for inviting me to this important ministerial roundtable.

The Government of Sri Lanka, in 2010 set a target to double its per capita GDP to 4000 US $ by 2016.

In this backdrop, I am happy to report that Sri Lanka now has a National Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation, developed as an indigenous effort based on the S&T policy adopted when I was the Minister of Science and Technology. The strategy has a clear focus on locally harnessing Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for our socio-economic development in a coordinated manner, with the emphasis on maximizing value addition to raw materials through the use of advanced technology. Through this we hope to increase our high tech value added exports which directly contribute to our economy,  from the present 1.5% to 10% by 2016. It is very much aligned to the theme of this ministerial roundtable meeting.

The Strategy focuses on harnessing STI through directed research towards national needs, maximum appropriate use of advanced technologies and building a culture of techno-entrepreneurship. A close focused partnership between industry and STI is an essential part of the strategy for effective socio-economic development. This needs to be complemented by enhancing the capacity of the national research and innovation system together with improving the scientific literacy of our people and entrenching sustainability principles in all spheres of our STI activities. You would agree that no single line ministry in a government can achieve these goals as the stakeholders and infrastructure are scattered and disjointed. The key to successful implementation of our National STI strategy therefore is working together in a coordinated manner. The stakeholders from the public and the private sectors should come together to co-identify, co-plan and co produce the activities that are identified in the Strategy.

In recognition of this need the Government of Sri Lanka has established a dedicated Coordinating Secretariat for Science Technology and Innovation (COSTI) under my purview as the Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs. The COSTI will also function as the Secretariat for the Inter-Ministerial Council for Science, Technology and Innovation. The COSTI will work with both public and private sectors and direct STI activities on three pillars; economic development (eg harnessing natural resources through STI), social justice (such as food, water and energy security etc.) and environmental quality ( such as a future earth programme and resilience to climate change).

Appreciation of the benefits of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and the Vidatha programme, which has transferred technology to rural micro and SME sectors, has led to an increase in the private sector contribution to GERD (Gross Expenditure on R&D) from less than 10% to over 30% during the last 6 years. Encouraged by this the government at the last Budget offered a 300% tax relief for R&D carried out by enterprises.

Despite the global economic downturn the success of this national effort can be accelerated and sustained by the necessary support being provided by international organizations like the CSTD and UNESCO. Four main areas that need to be considered are:

  • Facilitating brain gain for countries like Sri Lanka
  • Promotion of open access to scientific literature and data as a global policy
  • Facilitating provision of technical assistance and training for STI personnel specific to national needs of less industrialized countries
  • Encouraging the development partners and donor community to regard STI as a sector essential for development and skilled jobs creation in their funding support for less industrialized countries.

*Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs  Dr. Tissa Vitarana’s speech   the 16th Session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) -June 2013

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    HE WENT,HE READ AND HE CAME.!

    • 0
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      This doddering old fool in a Cabinet of clowns should quit and a young and qualified scientist be put in charge of science, tech and innovation.

      Old fogies whose shelf life expired long ago, like Vitarana cannot innovate, they are an economic and intellectual DRAG on science, technology and innovation!

      • 0
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        Quite right!
        All the dead leftists are geriatrics. They are blocking YOUTH from positions and not letting the younger generation who are better qualified and educated lead..
        This is why there have been so many youth up risings in the country.. the rule of geriatrics who have no ethics

        Vitarana and the dead leftists are NO democrats – they are the scum of the earth!

        • 0
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          This dead leftist is a moron and spinner only talks nonsense about Nano technology as it it is a panacea!
          The Rajapassa regime has reduced expenditure on education including science and technology as a percentage of GDP. But keeps increasing Gota the goon’s defense budget and urban development slush funds..
          The UNeducated rajasassa brothers do not want an educated public in Sri Lanka, In fact they hate educated and cultured people who can see what morons they are.. Rajapassa development model is tourist hotels and casinos, but Lankan youth look down on these jobs and are leaving the country to work overseas…
          They have not got a clue nor has this Witarana who a geriatric sleezy dodo!

      • 0
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        I don’t know why he is in the Cabinet, Just a waste of resources.

        Greed won’t allow him to step aside and allow some one else to take his position.

        Besides, I don’t think he contributes anything to the country.

        • 0
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          Asaw!…. Asaw!!….
          Ms. Leela Angoda says ‘He is just a waste of resources’.
          Is he the only one useless one in that MOST USELESS Gankabaraya cabinet?
          and Leela goes on to say ‘Greed wont allow him’
          Forget this Geek, how about the Greed of the first family?
          Your ‘Mama Thamai Pora’ moda raja should be eliminated first,
          then everything else will fall in line.
          Go back to you asylum please – I mean Angoda.

  • 0
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    what? Tissa Vitarana speaking without mentioning Mahinda Chintanaya and without paying homage to MR?

  • 0
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    Just a joke speech. You take your country Universities. Full of fake and joker professors without first degrees, without PhDs and without 15 papers ininternational indexed journals. Check and sack these fake profs. Those who have good Phds from reputable Universities are leaving or left the country. Minister you are just talking useless false facts about your country. 40% of Korean toilet washers, 67% cooks and housemaids in Middle east and all dirt workers in Italy from Sri Lanka. Whole country’s all public institutions are politicalised and coallapsed. Judiciary and Police just political game and garges everywhere and no enviornmental concerns and people with cancers because of these illegal garages. Many garages are operating in residential areas with full blessing of politicians and police. Where your Enviornmental protection for human lives.

    • 0
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      Quality is not quantity.. There are also profs on the west, I have dealt with – also did not have numbers of publications. But one or few of their publications gave them the recognition. But, I hardly believe that as some commented here – candidates without PhD and demonstrated post doc accomplishments.

      Today, in SL, everyone criticises the other. Ones being out of the country it is impossible to get the facts about the reality of lanken Universities. Web sites of the Universities are also not updated. Recently, I was searching for valuable data based on tropical health problems, unfortunately, MRI website did not help me further due to the fact no annual statistics were not populated to their information.

  • 0
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    I saw the title and thought he has missed the M (Muslims) out :-)

  • 0
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    All talk and no work. He talks about his imagination and hallucination. HE talks big things but he does not provide any thing about what they already have done.

    All BS.

    • 0
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      JimSofty

      Under majoritarian rule these are the people you either elect or appoint to offices.

      You have been championing the virtues of a centralised unitarian political system for many years, suddenly you are discovering fault lines in the distribution of centralised and unaccountable power structure.

      Don’t blame Tissa Vitarana blame yourself.

      By the way Tissa is not my friend nor are the LTTE rumps.

  • 0
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    Simple. Visit Universities and check Profs qualifications amazing no PhDs, no publications not even first degrees. But FAKE Professors in Sri Lankan Universities.

  • 0
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    This is all Talk.

    Where are the results ?

    How many years you are in the govt ?

  • 0
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    Very poor performance on Satana. The other panelist sounded way more convincing, yet they were talking BS. You had the better argument, yet your delivery was lacking.

  • 0
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    These LEFTISTS have all lived their life time spending and wasting their time as well as the citizens. They have been talking…..talking..making speeches and preacning to the Public. At one time their GURU became the Minister of Finance and could not assess in what way the people lived on a plate of rice three times a day. Do you remembr that famous “HAL POLLA” (Rice Barricade)? Before becoming the Minister of Finance he was also the prime mover through the Pulic Services League (PSL) headed by the then Late Dissanayake of the Govt. Clerical Service Union (GCSU) to agitate for a Rs. 30/- per month salary increase. After he became the Minister of Finance he did not even give a date and time to meet him and discuss that demand. Such are these LEFTISTS.

    So why we waste time and talk about these guys. The reamining few LEFTISTS are now “employed” by MR. That itself is a very meritoriou deed.

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