Yesterday marked a landmark day for Sri Lanka’s innovation and learning goals, as the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) together with the Ministry of Technology and Research laid the foundation for the commencement of construction of the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence (NCE), which will be at the heart of a world-class nanotechnology park in Sri Lanka.
SLINTEC… It aims to attract research and development institutes, multinational companies, small and medium enterprises and education institutes to take advantage of the research, development and innovation bound to flourish in the enterprising ecosystem created at this advanced technology park. The Ministry of Technology and Research together with the National science Foundation (NSF) and five private sector partners initiated this effort a few years ago. The land has been allocated by the government. The Ministry and the Treasury are funding a flagship NCE which will form the epicentre of the park. SLINTEC will build, operate and manage the NCE whilst developing the broader nanotechnology park with the support of the Government and like-minded private sector organisations. The state-of the art NCE will be host to a series of high tech labs with the latest equipment managed and operated by a highly skilled team of scientists. It will focus on research and development, incubation for taking research into commercialisation and provide facilities for corporate research and business development. The NCE will also offer a wide range of essential centralised services enabling the hub and spoke concept that will drive operations across the park. Leading experts from around the globe will have tenures at the NCE and they will be available for consultation to organisations that will reside in the park, enabling them to continue to push the boundaries of innovation. The second phase of the park will focus on expansion of research and business development for both the private and the public sectors in Sri Lanka and potential Foreign Direct Investment from multinational corporations as well as small and medium enterprises through attractive incentives, terms and conditions. The third phase will be about expansion of advanced technology industries, institutes and expansion of centralised services. The fourth phase will provide housing and recreation for the community of the park and education facilities related to the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence. The holistic plan is to integrate with the surrounding area and connect with the larger knowledge hub master plan for Homagama. The Nanotechnology Park will enable companies and institutes to invest and develop their research centres, incubation facilities and pilot plants in an environment of an advanced technology park. These companies, whether they be MNCs or SMEs will be provided attractive incentives to set up their facilities in the park. These, along with the environment of open innovation and access to the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence, will give any company or institute a considerable advantage.
The Government is increasing its emphasis on research, development and education. Being innovation friendly, it is focusing on rapid development through advanced technology. The 2012 budget has noteworthy provisions and incentives for Research and Development including a significant reduction in corporate tax on profits derived from R&D related income, a reduction in personal income tax for individuals engaged in research and technology, and a triple deduction to companies that undertake R&D through research institutes. The Board of Investment (BOl) in Sri Lanka offers many incentives and tax holidays to companies, both local and foreign, that invest in all aspects of economic development. As such, the BOI will play a major role in the development of the nanotechnology park in Homagama. SLINTEC will work with the BOI and the Government to secure the maximum benefits and incentives for all companies that invests in the nanotechnology park and in nanotechnology research and development in Sri Lanka. “Our vision is to position Sri Lanka as a leading destination for nanotechnology research and development by creating a world-class innovation platform and contributing significantly to national economic development. This Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence will put SLINTEC firmly on its path to realising this vision,” said SLINTEC Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean. Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitarana stated: “This is an important milestone in the National Nanotechnology initiative I started as the Minister of Science and Technology in 2006, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with the vision of enabling Sri Lanka to achieve rapid economic development through high tech industrialisation and I am committed to coordinate all necessary resources and energies in an inclusive manner to realise this vision.” A technology park ensures maximum sharing of both human and physical resources for multidisciplinary R&D and offers the ideal foundation for companies looking to create the future and is the most effective means to bring research, industries, entrepreneurs and academia together to achieve a collective greatness. Sri Lanka has flourishing industries in apparel and textile, tea, rubber, activated carbon and rich mineral resources ready to move into higher value categories. It has prominent universities in science and technology ready to provide a steady stream of skilled talent. The Government has invested in supporting research, provided land for a nanotechnology park and continues to create an enabling environment for local as well as foreign companies and institutes. The conditions are conducive for investment in nanotechnology research, development and commercialisation in Sri Lanka.