SLASSCOM member company speakers at the Directlink Workshop
Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) facilitated a successful one day workshop on research projects for the IT/ BPO industry. SLASSCOM has been working in the last few years to create awareness in IT related new trends and, employment opportunities. One such initiative is the SLASSCOM directlink, which focuses on engaging the industry with academia. SLASSCOM directlink Initiative provides a platform for collaboration between the IT industry and the academia. A sound dialog and strong relationship between the academia and industry is essential to ensure that the IT/ BPO industry stays relevant and competitive in the global market.
The workshop highlighted current research needs for the industry and provided a platform for continuous dialog between the universities and the industry. The research ideas discussed at the workshop was for both under-graduate and post-graduate level. Many IT faculty members from University of Moratuwa- Engineering, University of Moratuwa Faculty of IT, University of Peradeniya, University of Rajarata, University of Ruhuna, University of Sabaragamuwa, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, University of Colombo School of Computing, Open University, Jaffna University, South Eastern University and other private universities were participants at this workshop.
The workshop was a collaborative effort between the industry and academia. Presentations were done by leading IT companies in Sri Lanka such as IFS, MIT, Virtusa, and Motorola Solutions on educating the University faculty members on the relevant research for the industry taking into account the current global IT trends. The workshop participants were able to gather knowledge on Intellectual Property rights in Sri Lanka with a presentation done by Dr. Karunaratne, Director General of National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka. In addition, the participating faculty members also had the opportunity to visit some of the leading IT companies based at Orion city at the end of workshop. ‘
“It is nice to see how the Sri Lankan IT companies are willing to collaborate with universities to do research. I feel that postgraduate level research collaborations are lagging behind in Sri Lanka compared to other countries. Need to focus more on Post Graduate research initiatives as well”, said one of the participants commented on the workshop. Another senior faculty member stated that, “It was a good session. Industry and academia collaboration in research is quite essential in taking the industry forward. This is a good start in creating a platform and taking the ad-hoc collaboration into a common forum in a coordinated effort”.
“There is a mismatch between the needs of the industry for R&D in line with current global IT trends and what the research done by students at the Universities. Further a larger student community lack research ideas when it comes to their final year projects. We need to bridge this gap by providing constant feedback from the industry to the Universities so that relevant and up to date research will be done by students which would also enhance their career options in the industry”, said Anuradha Tennakoon, Director of SLASSCOM and Director/ Country Manager for Motorola solutions Sri Lanka addressing the participants.
Madu Ratnayake, Vice President of SLASSCOM and VP & General Manager of Virtusa – Sri Lanka addressed the participants on “how student projects can drive the national agenda”. The presentation focused on how the rapid increase in ICT adoption in the emerging regions is creating significant opportunities. Furthermore, he went on to reiterate that significant innovation for the emerging regions can only come from within the emerging nations where people see the opportunities and needs day in and day out. He went on to state that, in this rapidly growing emerging market there is a real opportunity to address local problems and build local entrepreneurs to create a national level competitive advantage in the region to make export revenue. Getting students to apply technology for local and regional problems and challenges working across multiple disciplines like agriculture, health care, defense, etc. will get the seed of this started. He went on to request academia to have a special incentive for student projects who try to address local and regional issues, further he encouraged cross department collaborations within universities for research and projects.
All SLASSCOM’s capacity building initiatives are geared towards driving Sri Lanka to reach our national goal of becoming the #1 industry to lead Sri Lanka to the Knowledge economy while achieving the target of US$1 billion in revenue and employment to over 100,000 by 2015.