Sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion a ne­ces­sity for growth

Jamaica Gleaner - - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH COUNCIL -

JA­MAICA’S NAME is in­deli­bly etched in track and field his­tory, fol­low­ing the bril­liant per­for­mances of our ath­letes at ma­jor in­ter­na­tional track events. Tremen­dous lessons can be learnt from our re­cent record break­ing per­for­mances in the 2016 Olympics. So much could have gone wrong - but these risks were min­imised with ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tion, unity of pur­pose and re­lent­less crav­ing to ex­cel. The use of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion by many of our coaches and ath­letes con­trib­uted to their suc­cess É and so it should be with the coun­try as we strate­gise and em­bark on plans to grow and de­velop our na­tion. In­ter­na­tional lessons Although the term of Pres­i­dent Obama as leader of the USA is com­ing to an end, cer­tain con­sis­tent mes­sages still re­sound world­wide. For ex­am­ple, his pre-elec­tion (and still main­tained) pledge to “re­store sci­ence to its right­ful place É” was well re­ceived as be­ing grounded in the fact that sci­ence and re­search are key to health care, the en­vi­ron­ment, agri­cul­ture É all el­e­ments which were ail­ing and erod­ing the econ­omy of the most pow­er­ful na­tion in the world. In de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, pro­grammes em­body­ing sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion have been touted as pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary visa out of poverty. The United Na­tions, Mil­len­nium Devel­op­ment Goals (MDGs), with pri­mary fo­cus on erad­i­cat­ing poverty, hav­ing tracked the progress of coun­tries, noted in its 2007 re­port, that sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion were the most im­por­tant con­trib­u­tors to the progress made in prac­ti­cally all the devel­op­ment goals. The MDGs seek to erad­i­cate poverty us­ing var­i­ous strate­gies and the im­pli­ca­tions of us­ing the tools pro­vided by in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, biotech­nol­ogy and nan­otech­nol­ogy, to name a few.

IN­NO­VA­TION

Sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion (ST&I) can be seen as a cat­a­lyst for growth for many de­vel­op­ing na­tions. This win­ning com­bi­na­tion, suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented can grow and de­velop our econ­omy in sync with the govern­ment’s thrust to grow Ja­maica “from poverty to pros­per­ity”. In­no­va­tions in ar­eas such as medicine, food and agri­cul­ture, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­ment and trans­porta­tion in a glob­alised and digi­tised world are in­dica­tive of the in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive con­tri­bu­tions of many sci­en­tists and tech­nol­o­gists world­wide. The SRC, an agency of the Govern­ment of Ja­maica is com­mit­ted to work­ing and col­lab­o­rat­ing with stake­hold­ers to ex­e­cute re­search and devel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties that will ben­e­fit in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­ni­ties and the na­tion at large. Cel­e­brat­ing Novem­ber as Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (S&T) Month un­der the theme, ‘Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion, Stim­uli for Health, Wealth and Well­ness’, will, among other things, as­sist us in bring­ing na­tional fo­cus on the role and im­pact of ST&I on na­tional im­per­a­tives and high­light S&T Month ac­tiv­i­ties. We in­vite per­sons to par­tic­i­pate in the var­i­ous planned ac­tiv­i­ties and to make Novem­ber a month to re­mem­ber. DR CLIFF RI­LEY Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Sci­en­tific Re­search Coun­cil

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