Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century (HETC) Project

Background of the HETC

Higher Education for the Twenty First Century Project is a credit given to the Government of Sri Lanka by the International Development Association (World Bank) amounting to US$ 40 Mn for the period of 5 Years from 2011 to 2016.

Objective of the Project

The main objective is to enhance the capacity of higher education system and to deliver quality higher education services in line with equitable, social and economic development needs of the country.

Project Components

The HETC is organized with four components. The first component is to develop a Sri Lanka Qualification Framework and Quality Assurance and Accreditation System for Higher Education in Sri Lanka. The second component is to promote relevance and quality of teaching and learning in all 15 Universities. The third component is to strengthen the alternative higher education by developing the Advanced Technological Institutes of the SLIATE. The fourth component is to strengthen human resources of the higher education system.

Quality and Innovation Grant (QIG) Window 4

Research Dissemination and Commercialization Project

Project grant value LKR 10 million

Activity 1

Name of the activity 1: Devising the implementation plan

Rationale

Most of the university research is aimed for advancing science and rarely for commercialization. This partly due to the perception of the academics that research is a pursuit of fundamental scientific truth. Although the academics attached to the Faculty of Agriculture work at the frontiers of the knowledge in their disciplines, the research culture in the university system does not reinforce the links with the Industry.  Only a very few of the research output has reached to the end users may be due to dissemination bottlenecks.  Therefore commercial exploitation of the research should be the Faculty Agriculture’s future innovation strategy. To accomplish this, at the outset the research output of the Faculty should be reviewed to select best innovations to be commercialized. Then these should be evaluated for production and marketing.

Objectives and Strategy

The main objective of this activity is to screen and shape up the innovations for the commercial use. This involves further improvements, evaluation of the market potential and the social acceptance. Since the targeted end users vary with the innovations, identification of specific target users such as small scale producers, NGOs, farmer groups is of paramount importance.

Mechanism and Design

The main activity is broken down to the following sub activities.

1.1 Evaluate the research findings of the Faculty of Agriculture for dissemination and commercialization based on national requirements, market potential and social acceptance.

1.2 Investment analysis and cost effectiveness analysis.

1.3 Selection of potential practitioner groups/producers for production/adoption.

These will be achieved by a number of ways. These comprise: compilation of the research output of the Faculty based on publications, presentations and stakeholder discussions; screening of the potential output based on practicality, national need and social acceptance; conduct simple studies to assess the market potential, cost effectiveness and environment friendliness and surveys; and stakeholder consultation to identify the target group of end users. Most of the sub activities in this activity will be concentrated for the first year.

It is expected to support the innovators to upgrade the products to fit into the market conditions. In addition, a service of a consultant/s will be sought. The research team will be supported by a group of Research Assistants in collecting market information and conducting the project appraisals. Computer facilities are needed to carry out the analysis such as cost effectiveness analysis and cost-benefit analysis.

 

Activity 2

Name of the Activity 2: Training and Awareness Building

Rationale

The conventional extension service in the agricultural sector has a limited scope as it follows a crop-based production oriented approach.  The new innovations developed by the Faculty of Agriculture are targeted for agribusiness with market orientation for which the dissemination and training is essential. The identified end users or user groups will be the targeted stakeholders in this activity.

Objectives and Strategy

Once the innovations are in good shape to be produced and marketed, the awareness building is a must. Therefore the objective of the second activity is to disseminate knowledge via farmer field schools, seminars, demonstration plots, workshops for the user groups such as SMEs/ NGOs. The product will receive the necessary publicity to reach to other potential end users.

Mechanism and Design

TA number of sub activities are proposed to pull off this main activity. These are

2.1Conduct training programmes for the targeted end users on technical aspects, entrepreneurship and financial management.

2.2 Develop audio/video products and develop web pages.

2.3 Conduct field level demonstrations.

The sub activities proposed under the activity 2 will be accomplished by a number of ways. The AbC will organize a series of seminars/workshops to the potential end users where the identified technical experts will serve as resource persons. The students at the Faculty will also find opportunities by providing practical guidance and mentoring to the SMEs/NGOs. Similarly, the specific video products will be developed by using the state-of art technology with the necessary inputs of the experts. The products features and availability details will be displayed in the AbC webpage. Most of the sub activities in this activity will be done during the second year.

The major resources required include audio-visual equipments, capacity building (training) and other human resources to serve as resource persons in the workshops/seminars. In addition, existing conference room needs to be upgraded.

 

Activity 3

Name of the Activity3:  Implementation of the practice or formulation of the manufacturing process

Rationale

Once the products have been developed and the necessary technical know-how is passed to the potential producers, then the necessary facilities need to be coordinated for adoption of the practice or production. Moreover the quality and reliability need to assured while building necessary social networks to sustain the production and utilization.

Objectives and Strategy

The main objective of this activity is to establish the innovations in the field. In order to accomplish this, input and output market links need to be strengthened which is another objective. The other objectives will serve to reduce the risk and uncertainty, i.e., linking financial institutions and building social networks.

Mechanism and Design

The sub activities proposed under the activity III include the following:

3.1 Facilitate the manufacturing process of new products by the identified producers while addressing issues related to the quality and reliability

3.2 Linking the producers to financial institutions and other relevant government agencies and to the market.

3.3 Develop appropriate mechanism to sustainability.

The AbC will develop necessary value chains and links with existing organizations to smooth up operations related to production and marketing. The bottlenecks will be identified and then necessary clusters will be built to assure the sustainability of the system. This activity consumes more human resources as it involve meeting of people/organizations where AbC will play a facilitating function.  In addition few local traveling may be needed.

Under this grant, following innovations developed by the academic staff of the Faculty of Agriculture are initially tentatively chosen for dissemination and commercialization.

Innovation Principal Researcher

• P – solubilizing bacteria mixture
• N – fixing bacteria mixture
• Quality compost production through rice straw degradation

Prof. R.M.C.P. Rajapakse

• Fertilizer recommendation for protected agriculture
• New designs for greenhouses
• Nutrient formulation for protected agriculture

Prof. W.A.P. Weerakkody

• Quality improvement of made tea
• Prevention of splitting of Kolikuttu banana
• Improvement of solubility of Eppawala rock phosphate using pineapple wastes

Prof. D.A.N. Darmasena

• Production of rice bread (up to 50% use of rice flour)
• Instant breakfast rice

Dr. Rohitha Prasantha

Promotion of eco-friendly agricultural practices by usage of bio-fertilizer

As part of the Quality and Innovation Grant supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, the innovations on bio fertilizers by using N and P solubilising bacteria is one of the patented innovations selected for commercialization. These biofertilizers contain living microorganisms and when applied to soil they colonize the rhizosphere and increase the supply or availability of nutrients to the host plant.

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