Science, technology and innovation a necessity for growth
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.
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