Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs, Hon. Prof. Tissa Vitarana discussed with the European Union on Enhancing Collaboration on Science and Research
Posted on March 21st, 2014

PRESS RELEASE  Embassy of Sri Lanka Brussels

Welcoming Hon. Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs, and the delegation, who was on a five-day official visit to Brussels, Ms. M¡ire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science of the European Commission, said she was pleased to have this discussion with the Minister and to enhance the collaboration in the area of Science and research with Sri Lanka. The Commissioner also informed that the South Asia launch of the EU Flagship research and innovation programme- the “Horizon 2020” was held in Colombo and it is the largest publicly funded programme for research, where excellence is the only criterion, to be eligible for a research grant. Sri Lanka belongs to the category of Non-EU Third Countries that are automatically eligible to for funding under the Horizon 2020 budget.

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The Minister briefed Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, how Sri Lanka is addressing the issues related to the 27 years of conflict as well as those arisen due to natural disasters, stressing the need for maintaining a more rapid economic growth. To achieve this , he highlighted the need to improve the quality of education with the emphasis on promoting science, technology and innovation (STI) in Sri Lanka, thereby strengthening  the existing accessibility to free education and free health for all citizens. The Minister described the challenges and deficiencies in capacity, both material and human resource, to promote STI and science education in the country. While presenting a copy of Sri Lanka’s National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka, Minister Vitarana said coordinating and monitoring all scientific activities with the line Ministries and private sector agencies are the prime mandate of his Office. He explained that a Coordinating Secretariat for Science Technology and Innovation (COSTI) has been set up under his purview to facilitate this process. In this regard, high-tech facilities including in nanotechnology are being developed and COSTI is working  to set up a framework   to make Sri Lankan exports more competitive. The proposal by COSTI for a National Science Centre has been incorporated into the national budget and said his Ministry would welcome foreign funds and technical assistance, to make this project a success.

The Minister also said Sri Lanka would be pleased to be benefited by the Science and Research programmes of EU, where Sri Lanka could develop research capacities to facilitate economic development of the country, while ensuring social justice and environmentally sustainable growth. Referring to the traditional knowledge in indigenous medicine and the natural resources abundantly available in the country, including being a bio diversity hotspot, the Minister said “we wish to see how best we can generalise traditional knowledge for common benefit”. The Commissioner agreed to continue the dialogue further through the office of the EU Directorate-General for Research, Innovation and Science, to identify avenues for cooperation in the areas that Sri Lanka has prioritized in its National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation,  in a mutually beneficial manner. (pix: Ms. M¡ire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science of the European Commission with Minister Vitarana)

 The Minister, on Monday 17 March participated as a resource person at the 2014 World Summit on Science Centres in Mechelen-Belgium, which brought together CEO’s, managers, decision makers, experts representing over 55 countires, from within and beyond the science centre to explore together the global challenges and to focus on long term strategic issues. His Majesty King Philippe, The King of Belgians inaugerated the Summit (and seen in the picture are Minister Vitarana at a brief audience with his Majesty the King.) The Minister also held a  stimulating discussion with the Chief Executive Officer of the Technopolis Science Centre World Summit Mr. Eirk Jacquemyn.

 The Minister met with a group of MEPs led by Mr. Joe Leinen, from the Socialist & Democratic (S&D) party alliance-the second largest group in the 754-Member European Parliament. The Minister also joined a Luncheon Meeting hosted by MEP Mr. Geoffrey Van Orden, the Chair of the Sri Lanka Friends Group in the EU Parliament. The Minister also met with a number of MEP’s from ECR Group at a Dinner organized by MEP Nirj Deva at his residence. During all these meetings the Minister explained the developments in Sri Lanka and also engaged in a candid dialogue on how the various challenges faced by the Country were being met, and emphsised the need to allow Sri Lanka to solve its problems. He said undue external interventions such as the ongoing Geneva deliberations would only strengthen the hands of extremsit nationalist elements both within an outside Sri Lanka, and polarize the communities further, and achieving solutions extremly difficult. He said, “for a country that defeated one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations known to the world, it is fair to allow time to settle the remaining issues as well”.

 Addressing an audience of reserchers, parliament assistants, NGO representattives and Sri Lankans at a seminar organized by the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS), on “Ensuring a Durable Peace in Sri Lanka”, the Minister said, his Party, the Lanka Samasamaja Party (LSSP) the oldest political party in the country has always stood up for the rights of the minorites and as a result, it lost electoral support from majority community and its position in the Parliament as the second largest .party The Minister also explained the need to defeat t nationalist  extremism irrespective of whether it is Sinhal Buddhist, Tamil  or Muslim, and that the country should endeavour to build a Sri Lankan nationality that would unite the nation. The Minster also expressed his hope that an amicable political settlement to issues in Sri Lanka could be arrived at the discussions in the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) process where he has submitted the agreements reached so far by the political parties during the discussions held within the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Chaired by him.

 Minister Vitarana was accompanied by Mr. P.M Amza, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Belgium & the Head of Misison to EU, Prof. Sirimali Fernando, the Chief Executive Officer of the Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI), its Programme Director Dr. Nobel Jayasuriya and the Deputy Head of Misison Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya.

 Embassy of Sri Lanka

One Response to “Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs, Hon. Prof. Tissa Vitarana discussed with the European Union on Enhancing Collaboration on Science and Research”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    This 13 amendment supporter has MISUSED tax payer money to promote his POLITICAL PARTY and discredit SL.

    “Addressing an audience of reserchers, parliament assistants, NGO representattives and Sri Lankans at a seminar organized by the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS), on “Ensuring a Durable Peace in Sri Lanka”, the Minister said, his Party, the Lanka Samasamaja Party (LSSP) the oldest political party in the country has always stood up for the rights of the minorites and as a result, it lost electoral support from majority community and its position in the Parliament as the second largest .party The Minister also explained the need to defeat t nationalist extremism irrespective of whether it is Sinhal Buddhist, Tamil or Muslim, and that the country should endeavour to build a Sri Lankan nationality that would unite the nation.”

    IF LSSP always stood up for minority rights why not get votes from minorities? NO votes from minorities, ha?

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