President Opend the newly built Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence


The newly built Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence

by Harin De Silva Wijeyeratne

CEO, Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology

The newly built Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence, as a forerunner to the Nanotechnology and Science Park in Pitipana, Homagama, will be declared open by H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow (Oct. 21).This provides for the initiation of the first ever high-tech park in Sri Lanka fulfilling an important activity of the Mahinda Chintanaya. At this historic occasion it befits to examine some of the milestones which made this great feat possible.

In 2008 Sri Lanka embarked on a new journey in science and technology development by incorporating the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) as a public-private partnership between the Government of Sri Lanka and five leading private sector companies Brandix, Dialog, Hayleys, Loadstar and MAS Holdings. Administered as a private company, its Government counterpart is the Ministry of Technology and Research. With a team of top-class scientists and state of the art laboratories in place, SLINTEC commenced its research in August 2009.

Within ten months five international patents were filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This was an immense achievement for a small team of dedicated scientists. SLINTEC has achieved accelerated progress and early success with an innovation in the area of slow release urea fertilizer that was acquired by an international client and has since moved on to developing on research findings by way of establishing pilot plants to assess the financial feasibility of commercialization. Recently, Lankem joined as the sixth private sector partner.

The newly built Nanotechnology

Centre of Excellence

These positive developments have led to the establishment of the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence (NCE) within the Nanotechnology and Science Park ("NSP") in Pitipana, Homagama. This is the first Science Park initiated in Sri Lanka. The NCE has been constructed with 100% funding from the Government of Sri Lanka. The NCE will comprise of laboratory facilities with State of the Art equipment, incubation spaces and pilot plant facilities. The NCE will help catalyze a new dawn in Science and Technology in Sri Lanka with a unique brand of public-private partnership and technological entrepreneurship.

Located on 50 Acres of lush land, tranquil and verdant, creating an ideal space for ‘thinking’. We expect the facilities to encourage Sri Lankan scientists to help make discoveries which will have world-wide significance. By attracting local and international companies to locate their research activities at the Nanotechnology & Science Park we hope to create a centre of international repute in the field of Nano science and advanced technologies. Perfectly connected via highways, surrounded by a knowledge hub of universities and only 45 minutes from the commercial center that is Colombo, the Park offers a perfect synergy of serenity and convenience.

The Park will create opportunities for all businesses to develop new products through a collaborative innovation process, taking them from research through development toward commercialization. The foundation for this framework is the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence (NCE), which marks the first phase of the development of the Park.

The Government of Sri Lanka has maintained an undivided focus on growth and development and has great ambitions of making Sri Lanka a dynamic global hub in Knowledge, Aviation, Energy, Logistics and Commerce. Sri Lanka is benefiting from stability and rapid infrastructure development such as new highways, sea ports, airports and power plants. The Government is increasing its emphasis on Research and Development, and has made noteworthy provisions and financial incentives in the furtherance of R&D in Sri Lanka. These factors make Sri Lanka very attractive to any company seeking a highly educated, qualified and talented workforce.

Phase 1a which is the newly built NCE which includes laboratory spaces, incubation facilities and also limited accommodation to host visiting scientists. The next stage, Phase 1b & 1c will focus on aspects such as an auditorium, with expansion of laboratory space to enable research and development in synthetic organic chemistry and synthetic biology, incubation & pilot plant spaces.

The building design of the NCE retains Environmentally Friendly Concepts with a central atrium and a courtyard that provides natural light and ventilation minimizing the operational energy consumption. With the use of renewable energy sources, sustainable principles and energy efficient design strategies, the goal is to create an ultimate benchmark research facility in South-Asia.

With the establishment of the NCE, the Government of Sri Lanka has refocused on the S & T sector with a view to adding value to the Private Sector efforts at enhancing the high-tech exports from the current very low 1.5% to a point where they start making real contribution to the GDP. When the world clearly has recognized the importance of innovations in the prosperity of nations, these efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka will pave the way to Sri Lanka becoming a technology hub in Asia.

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