Faculty of Agriculture Undergraduate Research Symposium (FAuRS)

The concept of undergraduate research symposia was first introduced to the university system of Sri Lanka in 1993 by the deaprtment of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya. Since then, annual student reseach sessions had been a tradition of the faculty. In 2014, the faculty took another step forward by conducting a common student research symposium for the entire faculty. The FAuRS is providing a platform for graduting students to present their valuble final sesmter research findings and interact with experts in the sector, peers, and prospective employers. This will no doubt enhance the research culture within the faculty and the university system.


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Past FAuRS events

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Past FAuRS Events

FAuRS 2020

Since its inception, during the last 72 years, the Faculty of Agriculture of University of Peradeniya, as the pioneer and leading agriculture higher education institute in Sri Lanka shoulders responsibility of producing agriculture and related professionals needs for the country to face challenges and also to give the leadership to the sector. To produce leaders in agriculture sector, the undergraduate programs at the Faculty encourages holistic, independent and critical thinking, and use of innovative and problem-solving approaches through integration of modern and traditional blends and technological advancement. As the trend setters in higher education system of Sri Lanka, conducting final year research project is a requirement of the B.Sc. degree programs of the Faculty since 1975. The concept of Undergraduate Research Symposia was first introduced to the university system of Sri Lanka in 1993 by the Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya where student present the finding of their final year research project in a wider forum. Since then, Annual Student Research Sessions had been a tradition of the Faculty. In 2014, the Faculty took another step forward by conducting a common Students Research Symposium for the entire Faculty. The FAuRS is providing a platform for graduating students to present their valuable final semester research findings and interact with experts in the sector, peers and prospective employers. This will no doubt enhance the research culture within the Faculty and the university system.

Over the last seven years, the Faculty of Agriculture has made a tremendous contribution by staging FAuRS as the main event to reflect and reward the most significant achievements and innovations of graduands. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FAuRS is a hybrid event this year. Two invited speakers, Dr. Mariano J. Beillard from the United States Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Prativa Pandey, the Founder & Chief Formulator Catalyst Technology Pvt. Ltd of Nepal and majority of participants join us online. Prof. M.D. Lamawansa, the Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya graced the closing session as the chief guest. The dean faculty of Agriculture, Prof. D.K.N.G. Pushpakumara, the Coordinator of FAuRS-2020, Prof. Pradeepa Bandaranayake and few organizing committee members joined on ground.

The FAuRS 2020 Proceedings includes 214 edited submissions from all three Degree Programs offered by the Faculty, BSc in Agriculture Technology & Management, BSc in Food Science & Technology, and BSc in Animal Science & Fisheries. The studies cover a wide range of topics related to agriculture and allied areas presented in four themes i.e. Agricultural Production & Productivity Improvement, Technological Interventions & Applications in Agriculture, Food Quality, Safety & Product Development, and Community, Environment & Management. At FAuRS 2020, 56 best presenters selected from eight Departments were given the coveted opportunity to compete for the best oral and poster presentations under the four themes in front of an elite panel of judges and audience. The Merit Awards for Undergraduate Research was a new addition to the FAuRS-2020 to reward the scientific merit of research projects for which a panel of external judges evaluates 28 projects selected from eight Departments under the same four themes. In addition, students had the opportunity to select one or more open competitions based on their interest as there was no limit on the maximum number of competitions a student can participate in. Short research videos prepared on undergraduate projects enter into the “Research Video Competition” and the photographs submitted based on the projects were evaluated at the “Scientific Eye” research photography competition. The research briefs written for the general public in all three languages are judged by a panel of judges, and the best submissions were compiled into “Hantana Blossoms'', a magazine dedicated to communicating the research findings to general audience. The fifth volume of the Hathana Blossoms was launched online at the closing session of FAuRS 2020. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition staged the most effective communicators using a single slide presentation. As in the previous years, the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission judged the most innovative research projects and inventions and in addition to the awards, the selected researches are accommodated in the national and international competitions. FAuRS-2020 introduced four new competitions to provide more opportunities for students to showcase different talents in much boarder spectrum. Students visualized their research in a cartoon under the “ResearToon” competition. Digital images captured during the project work were compiled into a photo book to be submitted to the “Research Storybook” competition. Students prepared a graphical abstract, a single, concise, pictorial, and visual summary of the main findings of the project and submitted them to the “Graphical Abstract” competition. The best of the best were awarded certificates, prizes, and medals while the others received a certificate of participation.

The Gold Medal for the Overall Best Presenter was sponsored by A. Baur & Co. Ltd for the 6th time. Ms. H.A.I.T Hettiarachchi from the Department of Crop Science won the overall best presenter award at FAuRS-2020 for her presentation titled “Assessing Growing Conditions and Ultrasound-Assisted Technique in Optimizing the Extraction of Antioxidants and Polyphenols from Green Tea”. While Prof. S.P. Nissanka from the Department of Crop Science was her major supervisor, Mr. H. Gajadeera from Bestie Beverages Pvt. Ltd., Galathara, Ittapana and M. Gunawardana from Sri Lanka Institute of Nano Technology, Homagama also coauthored the paper. Their work focused on assessing the extractable total polyphenol contents of green tea produced from different tea types and shade levels in the upcountry tea fields. The study also compared the Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of tea polyphenols and antioxidants with hot water extraction.

Usually, graduating students, faculty staff, external supervisors, invited academics and industry personal attend FAuRS. However, since it was an online event about 900 participants attend the closing session while nearly 1,800 participants have joined the program throughout the day. We invited prospective employers, ministries, research institutions, foreign collaborators, current students, alumni and academia to take part in this one-day program. The newly appointed Vice Chancellor of University of Peradeniya, Prof. M.D. Lamawansa graced the event as the chief guest of the final event. The FAuRS-2020 is the first official event that the newly appointed Vice Chancellor attended and addressed to students. Prof. Lamawansa highlighted the importance to blend the wisdom of young undergraduates in the fields of Agricultural Sciences and Allied Sectors who are capable and enriched with knowledge and skills in addressing the current local and global issues. Prof. Lamawansa also pointed out that as the pioneer in agriculture higher education and research in Sri Lanka, the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya has taken the leadership and driving its human resources in the most striking ways in finding viable and effective solutions to many of the challenges in the agriculture and allied sectors in collaboration with the stakeholders at all levels, both locally and internationally. The Vice Chancellor also introduced the FAuRS-2020 as a unique platform for young undergraduates, the torchbearers of future humankind to present their research findings, share their knowledge & advances in research and development to build networks of professionals, researchers, academia, and policymakers while exposing to a wider range of audience. Moreover, Prof. Lamawansa highlighted how this unique event promote forward thinking, insightful and valuable perspectives on the strategic challenges of the agriculture and allied sectors. He brought fascinating examples from the Nobel prize winning research and linked to the context. “I would like to thank Prof. M.D. Lamawansa, the Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya and the Chief Guest and invited speakers, who shared their thoughts and visions at FAuRS-2020. Special tributes are due to the Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Subcommittee Chairs, the Editorial Committee Members, Activity Coordinators, FAuRS-2020 Committee, the Session Chairs, Evaluators, Session and Audiovisual Coordinators, generous Sponsors; University of Peradeniya, A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., Ahinsa Tea, Browns Agri Solutions , CIC Agri Businesses , National Savings Bank, Bank of Ceylon, Ceylon Agro Industries Limited, Hayleys Agriculture Holdings , Hatton National Bank, Peradeniya branch, Hayleys Agro Biotech Pvt Ltd. , and everyone who encouraged and supported this event in numerous ways. It was indeed a pleasure to work with them”.

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