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The Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology will be partnering with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona and the University of Technology (UTech) in the creation of a research and innovation park and a bio-technology park.
Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House, yesterday (June 1).
He told the House that for Jamaica to be able to compete globally, greater integration of Science and Technology (S&T) into its plans for growth and development must be pursued.
The Minister informed that the U$26 million research and innovation park, which would be located at Mona, would facilitate research and innovation from local and global knowledge institutions and firms, to foster the establishment and growth of science and technology-based enterprises in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Nine centres are proposed to be built, covering analytical services, mariculture, bioscience, eco-tourism/ecology, web/software solutions, materials research, Information Communication Technologies and electronics as well as food technology and nanotechnology.
The Minister said although proposals for the UTech biotechnology park, which would be developed along similar lines, were at a less developed stage, both would require developmental assistance to determine technical feasibility, commercial viability and business plan preparation.
He said the Ministry would be contributing some $10 million each towards the two projects, which would serve as a mechanism to link innovative products, which already existed, to capital investment.
Meanwhile, Mr. Paulwell said his Ministry, through collaboration with the Education Ministry, would be launching a programme to further popularize Science and Technology in schools. This would see schools and science teachers being awarded for their achievements under the programme as well as the establishment of a science and technology Hall of Fame for science teachers.
The Minister pointed out that significant work has been done through the National Commission on Science and Technology and through collaboration between the Scientific Research Council and the Jamaica Bureau of Standards on a number of S&T popularization initiatives.
Mr. Paulwell also announced the initiation of a prestigious Minister’s Award for Innovation in S&T, to be awarded in November of this year to highlight advances made in S&T by companies in different categories.