I consider it a privilege to have been bestowed with the honour of serving as President of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon, an organization which has gradually become one of the leading institutes and has contributed significantly towards the advancement of chemical sciences and its practice. Due to its pivotal role in being the largest contributor towards chemistry related jobs in Sri Lanka, I think the Institute of Chemistry has immense potential in bridging the gap between academia and industry and could enable the country to work towards achieving its goals. Thus, the theme for this year, “Steering Chemical Industries towards a Smarter Nation” was selected with a view to expand the contribution of chemists to steer the nation along the right path to development. The time is nigh for Sri Lanka to harness local talent to spearhead this process.
Through the many programmes that the Institute offers, the Institute of Chemistry is undoubtedly the largest contributor of chemists and laboratory technicians to industries in Sri Lanka. Thus, whatever practices the Institute instills in our students could surely be manifested in the many roles that they play as contributors to our society.
There are many goals for this year and right at the top of the list is to spearhead the Development Project at Malable to house the IChemC Campus which will provide adequate space for both teaching and research. Lack of sufficient space and facilities has been a long standing problem for the Institute and this project will surely suffice to provide the much needed atmosphere to truly uplift the learning experience for our students. The final draft of the agreement has been received from Devco Architects and it is hoped that we may begin construction work in November.
It is noteworthy that the GIC programme has received accreditation of the Royal Society of Chemistry. We hope to complete the College of Chemical Sciences Accreditation and Institutional Review process. We have submitted a proposal regarding the new BSc degree programme so that the Institute could be granted Degree awarding status and the self-evaluation report for the programme review has been submitted to the Higher Education Ministry. I hope to use the experience I have gained, through serving for nine years as the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, to overcome identified weaknesses at the Institute of Chemistry management and the GIC programme.
A smart nation can only be achieved by judicious steering of its industries in the direction of sustainability and green concepts. The role of the Institute as a bridge between academia and industry will surely benefit Sri Lanka towards becoming a smarter nation.
Finally, I would like to end with this quote from Mehmet Murat Ildan,
“Every nation determines its own destiny; the clever the nation, the better the fate!”
Senior Professor Sudantha Liyanage, PhD, C.Chem., F.I.Chem.C., F.PRISL, FRSC
President, Institute of Chemistry Ceylon