Background

Research and innovation are the key pillars of a successful nation. The industries are depending more and more on research institutions for innovative ideas and to enhance quality of their products and services through research and development. Despite various efforts taken by the state for uplifting the industries in Sri Lanka, the need for high quality research that focuses on multidisciplinary aspects is not yet established. In order to cater to this demand, few individuals who represent industry and academia are intending to establish a not for profit entity, the Center for Research and Innovation Services (CRIS) that operates on multidisciplinary research domains. In addition to the research activities, CRIS will focus on providing consultancy services, supporting product/service commercialization and seeking funding opportunities that may include seed funding, grants and joint investments. The following is a brief initial sketch of the objectives and the structure of CRIS.

The Objectives of CRIS

To be a catalyst for innovation and invention in Sri Lanka. It aims at facilitating scientific and technological knowledge creation that will fuel new inventions and drive innovations that will help create new technology and products and thereby improve the innovative capability of Sri Lanka.

Specific Objectives:

In addition to the aforementioned broader objective, CRIS has defined the following specific objectives to guide its operations.

  • Facilitating a platform to bring together researchers with multidisciplinary backgrounds
  • Identification and expansion of technological expertise
  • Prediction of new technological trends
  • Promotion of innovative solutions and technologies
  • Be a socially responsible entity for the advancement of technology

Deliverables:

CRIS will be operate to achieve following deliverables.

  • Development of a comprehensive resource and growth map
  • Identification of futuristic research directions
  • Market research and investment sourcing
  • Project evaluation for scientific and socio-economic potential
  • Local and global multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships and funding opportunities for R&D
  • Proposal development for funding and investment opportunities
  • Scientific findings in terms of publications and intellectual property
  • Novel product ideas and prototyping
  • Technical evaluations and procurement
  • Scientific/Technology policy formulation
  • Public/Industry technological capacity building (awareness of future technologies and market potentials, workshops, awareness sessions, etc)
  • Providing high level technical advisory services

The Legal Entity

The entity will be registered under the companies act of Sri Lanka as a not for profit organization and operated in a form of a consortium where other institutes and individuals who have the same interest and objectives can join the organization.

The Structure of CRIS

Few individuals who represent industry and academia will become the initial guarantors of the organization and act in the Board of Directors (BoD). SLTC can join the organization as a consortium partner and a nominee from SLTC will be appointed to BoD. In addition to the BoD, CRIS will have a management structure that can be mainly sourced by SLTC staff members. During the initial phase, Head of Office of Research and Innovation Services ( ORIS) will oversee the operations of CRIS and Research Assistants of SLTC will join the research and innovation activities. Activities relating to Industry liaisons will also be provided as a service by SLTC.

Benefits for Stakeholders

CRIS is established in a way that it will benefit all its stakeholders.

• Access to multidisciplinary research /industry expertise

A researcher or product developer who wishes to engage or expand the scope of work may need access to multidisciplinary domains. As an example, a researcher who works in the agriculture domain may need to work with data scientists for identifying certain patterns in weather and yield.

• Incubator

A startup ideas may not be developed into the commercial level due to limitations such as lack of infrastructure, industry knowledge, and lack of management expertise. CRIS intend to foster startups with proper guidance and permit them to produce products and services, in commercially viable proportions.

• Funding support

CRIS intend to pursue funding opportunities that may include seed funding, grants and joint investments.

• Higher brand recognition and ability to present as a service provider (SLT Group)

Instead of an individual pitching for a project opportunity, he or she may pitch for it through CRIS with a brand reputation

• Investors

• Researchers

• Policy makers

• Industrialist

• Innovators

CRIS will physically establish the center in Kandy as it will permit wider collaboration with a multidisciplinary scientific community due to the proximity to the University of Peradeniya that houses eight faculties and and the National Institute of Fundamental Studies in Hantana.

Operational Plan

To start off the CRIS initiative it will conduct the following projects as soon as it is incorporated.

  1. Data Mining in Agriculture
  2. Environmental and Climate monitoring
  3. String hopper machine for domestic use
  4. Financial Analytics for Banking sector
  5. CSR project to uplift the creativity of school children and promote innovative product development.

In addition to the domain expertises of SLTC academic staff members, CRIS will utilize the operational structure of SLTC for conducting its operations, such as Human Resource, Finance and Accounts management. Research is a natural way of life at SLTC. Our academic staff publish their findings in international journals and conferences of very high impact. We support the conversion of these ideas into commercializable products. We help our academics seek and obtain external research grants. Collaborations across different disciplines within the institution and with other local as well as international institutions will be supported, encouraged and heavily rewarded. The Office of Research and Innovation Services (ORIS) manages and facilitates all such aspects and frees the researcher to engage fully and freely in their research activities. ORIS partners with the Center for Research and Innovation Services (CRIS) for establishing and sustaining international and local collaborations, conduct international workshops, seek and manage external grants, obtain advisory services for formulating research policy, and assistance in commercializing products.