The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and the Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) Operation will be jointly organizing a Virtual Exhibition to promote Agri and Livestock Sector Innovations ready for commercialization on the 10th of next month (August).
Two similar Virtual Exhibitions were held to promote Food in February 2021 and Electric, Electronic and IT Sector in March, 2021.
Funded by the World Bank AHEAD is supporting Universities in Sri Lanka to promote innovations to private sector through its University Business Linkage Cells. 13 Universities namely University of Ruhuna, Rajarata University, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Uva Wellassa, University of Peradeniya, Eastern University of Sri Lanka, South Eastern University, University of Colombo, Sabaragamuwa University, University of Moratuwa, Open University, Sri Jayewardenepura University and the CINEC will present a wide range of innovative products to private sector companies through the Virtual Exhibition in August, 2021. Those who are interested in joining the Virtual Exhibition could visit https://chamber.lk to register online. Participation is free of cost.
AHEAD is an operation under the Ministry of Education financed by the World Bank where the objective is to develop the higher education sector in the country. One area of improvement was recognized as the research, development, innovation and commercialization. Lack of connection between universities and private sector was identified as a major gap in the Sri Lankan higher education system in this regard. Intellectual property generated in universities should be of benefit to the society, and university research should fit to the requirements of the industries in order to reap benefits from research conducted at universities.
As an initiative to address this gap, under Results area 3 of AHEAD operation, University Business Linkage cells (UBLs) were established in all 15 state universities. These UBLs act as technology transfer offices and connect universities with outside parties to disseminates and commercializes research outcomes. AHEAD also works with six non-state higher education institutions (HEIs) and contributed to establish Society Linkage cells (HEI-SL cells) which function similar to the UBLs.
These UBLs/HEI-SL cells now function as the central place which links academics with the private sector. UBLS/HEI-SL Cells help university researchers to find suitable industry partners to commercialize the products/processes developed. Industries can also approach UBLs to get academic expertise to develop new products and processes.
The final outcomes of all these commercialization activities should bring win-win situations to both the university and the private party involved. University can reinvest the revenue generated through commercialization to further strengthen the research culture. Industries can save significant amounts of time, effort and money invested on R&D and to produce quality products to the local and international markets. These long-lasting and trustworthy connections eventually lead to the development of entire university system, the industries and ultimately the society.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) joined hands with AHEAD to support commercialization of university research outcomes. CCC was invited to the UBL/UGC standing committee meeting which gather every other month to address issues UBL/HEI-SL cells encounter and to make decisions required for the development of the UBL/HEI-SL cells. As CCC represent a large number of industries, its contribution to this project can make a significant impact to build a strong network of companies which are willing to work with universities.