To be competitive in global market : ‘Spending on R&D needs to be upscaled’ | Sunday Observer

To be competitive in global market : ‘Spending on R&D needs to be upscaled’

The value of Science and Technology in modern society has increased tremendously and Sri Lanka needs to engage more in research and development initiatives. The R&D component will help the country to be competitive in the global market, Research Scientist Dr. Dineli Wickramasinghe said.

“Research and development are fundamentals of Science and Technology in a knowledge driven economy and will spur growth, employment generation and improve national wealth. Innovation is the key to modern industries. A robust industrial process is crucial to business success,” she said at the SLINTEC Platform for Innovative Driven Business Growth forum titled ‘Beyond the Obvious’ held in Colombo last week.

Sri Lanka needs to scale up the spending on R&D as countries such as Finland and Israel, though small in size has made remarkable progress in this sphere. Our country is far behind many of the regional countries in this initiative. This has hampered our global competitiveness to a great extent, she noted.

Sri Lanka is far behind in the ratios of R&D spending on to GDP and RCP spending as a percentage of GDP and STEM/ GDP spending.

The key factors for successful innovation in industries are entrepreneurship with new ideas where it needs to balance risks and rewards, educational excellence, robust funding, access to investment capital and intellectual property protection. The country needs to foster a culture of innovation and utilize innovation to expand to high consumer markets globally in addition to local market entry, she said.

The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) was formed as a public private partnership (PPP) between the government and seven leading private sector companies. Since its inception, SLINTEC has achieved rapid results in both its directives of realizing success in nanotechnology research and development and initiating the building of a nanotechnology and science park in Sri Lanka.

The SLINTEC offers businesses a unique opportunity to spur innovation and business growth and Sri Lanka needs to recognize the value of R&D in its development agenda. It has set up an endowment trust fund accumulating Rs 50.2 million as at date to support R&D initiatives.

The institute has a staff strength of 93 researchers embarked in focus areas of advanced agriculture, smart textiles, nutraceticals synthetic organic chemistry and nanomedicine, process and engineering system and advanced materials.