NSF launches a Global Digital Platform at the BMICH under the patronage of the PM

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There are nearly three million Sri Lankan expatriates and emigrants in the world, including an appreciable number of reputed scientists and professionals holding senior positions in academia, R&D institutions and industry. They constitute a formidable potential asset of Sri Lanka which has hitherto been almost untapped for national development. There are many Sri Lankan expatriates who are keen to contribute to the development of the motherland and there have been previous attempts to harness this potential for national development. However, the lack of a credible and pragmatic mechanism has hindered such contribution, whereas countries such as China, India and Taiwan have derived remarkable benefits by harnessing expatriates for national development.

Therefore, the National Science Foundation (NSF) constructed an instrument with technical support from the SLASSCOM to harness this potential, and a state-of-the-art global digital platform (GDP) with the requisite capabilities and features to mobilize expatriates for national development has been developed. Practically every sector of the economy including higher education, S&T, FDI, trade/exports, tourism and industry can potentially benefit from it. Presently, around 900 expatriate scientists, technologists and professionals have registered with the GDP from around the globe.

This platform was ceremonially launched on 21st of February 2022 at the BMICH under the patronage of Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksha, Prime Minister. Prof. Ranjith Senaratne, Chairman of the NSF delivered the welcome address and opening remarks highlighting its potential applications in the key sectors of the economy.

Six top-flight scientists and technologists of global repute, namely Dr. Bandula Wijey, International S&T Ambassador for Sri Lanka, Houston, USA; Prof. Dilantha Fernando, Dean/Studies, University of Manitoba, Canada; Prof. Shanthi Mendis former Senior Advisor to WHO, Switzerland; Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga, Head, Global Disaster Resilience Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK; Prof. Monte Cassim, President of the Akita International  University, Japan and Prof. Saman Halgamuge, University of Melbourne, Australia joined the launch online representing the expatriate population and expressed their views on the potential applications and impact of the GDP.

 Around 60 participants including the top 2% of the scientific fraternity of the world in Sri Lanka attended this event in person while a considerable number of expatriates from around the globe joined it online. An overview of the GDP  was provided by Ms. Thilinakumari Kandanamulla, Scientific Officer of the NSF covering the expatriate network, opportunities and features and the potential impact of the GDP. Prof. Janaka de Silva, former Chairman of the National Research Council, Prof. Sampath Amaratunga, Chairman of the University Grants Commission,  Mr. Ashique, Vice Chairman of the SLASSCOM and  Dr J.G. Shantha Siri, Head of the International Affairs Division of the NSF also spoke.

An MoU between the NSF and the SLASSCOM  was also signed providing for technical cooperation between the two institutions. Sri Lankan scientists and professionals at home and abroad who have not yet registered with the GDP are invited to join through: https://gdp.nsf.gov.lk.  The launching ceremony can be witnessed through https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgqHk4sDrkI.

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