Biennial Conference on Science and Technology (BICOST) Series

BICOST - VII
BICOST VII was successfully concluded introducing 'National R&D Investment Framework for 2015-2020' for Sri Lanka
The 7th Sri Lanka Biennial Conference on Science and Technology (BICOST - VII) which is one of the main events of NASTEC was successfully concluded on 7th July 2014 at Waters Edge, Battaramulla with the participation of more than 340 science and technology professionals from government institutions, academia, and the industry. This event was organized by the NASTEC in close collaboration with the Ministry of Technology and Research. The Keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Minister of Technology and Research, Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka. Hon. Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, Mr. Susil Premajayantha and Hon. Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Lakshman Wasantha perera were among the gathering at the inauguration of the Conference.  
 
  BICOST is one of the most important Science and Technology conferences in Sri Lanka. The seventh Conference of the series has been dedicated to discuss and adopt the "National Research and Development Investment Framework for 2015-2020." The investment framework was officially handed over to the Honorable Minister of Technology and Research by the secretary to the Ministry of Technology and Research, Mrs. Dhara Wijayatilake at the end of the conference.
The investment framework consist of ten focus areas that have been carefully chosen after having series of brainstorming sessions with the sector experts. These selected focus areas are: 1. Water, 2. Food, Nutrition and Agriculture 3. Health, 4. Shelter, 5. Environment, 6. Energy, 7. Textile and Apparel, 8. Mineral Resources, 9. Information Communication Technology and Knowledge Services, 10. Basic Sciences, Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Knowledge. The expected outcomes of this investment framework are either the enhancement of quality of life of the people or the enhancement of the economic development of the country.  Ten expert groups, each consist of around ten members have been appointed to identify, problems/issues in each focus area and R&D needs to address them under ten given intervention fields namely; 1. Policy Studies 2. Pure & Applied Research 3. Innovation 4. Information and Communication Technologies 5. Nanotechnology 6. Biotechnology 7. Indigenous Knowledge & Intellectual Property Rights  8. Testing, Standardization & Accreditation 9. Capacity Building 10. Popularization. Ten reports have been prepared for ten selected focus areas.
 
As we know Sri Lanka’s economy entered into the lower middle income level in 1998.  To lift ourselves to a higher income level, we need to achieve at least 8% economic growth rate (minimum escape growth rate (MEGR)) in coming years as per the economists. To fulfill that aspiration, we need to shift from the efficiency driven stage in the economy to the innovation driven stage. Minister reiterates that the National Research and Development Investment Framework 2015-2020 will be a promising enabler to achieve the MEGR for Sri Lanka. He further stated that the investment requirements are well within the policy imperative given in ‘Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dekma’ (a vision for the future) to increase the expenditure on R&D to 1% of the GDP whereas it is 0.2% currently. Further, he emphasized that the economic benefits reaped through the investment framework should be aligned with the triple principles of economic policy, strategy or action plans that will act as the pillars of a sustainable future: Sustainable economic development, Sustainable social development, and Sustainable environmental development.
 
A few snapshots from BICOST VII