Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, has announced the completion of a science and technology innovations road map for Jamaica, by the Ministry.
Mr. Paulwell emphasised that the road map is pivotal to Jamaica's future development, as the administration believes that the country will not accomplish the “laudable” objectives outlined in the long-term National Development Plan, Vision 2030, without a sustained focus on advancing science and technology innovations.
Speaking at the media launch for the 2012 Minister’s Innovation Awards, at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), in New Kingston, on September 6, Mr. Paulwell argued that for Jamaica to advance from a country engaged in “basic and primary levels of production,” to one where outputs have significant value added, there will have to be “total pre-occupation” with science and technology.
"This means looking at how to incorporate new systems to become more efficient; how to utilise even imported science and technology and build on them to add value; and how to innovate, and to bring the raw natural talent of Jamaicans to these processes. (Otherwise) we are not going to have the future that we deserve,” the Minister said.
In this regard, Mr. Paulwell outlined several key areas of focus, in order to achieve the stated objectives. These include: generating greater interest in the sciences by young people, particularly those at the secondary school level; advancing research and development, especially by tertiary institutions; and encouraging increased applications for patent registrations, in order to secure and protect them.
"The science and technology innovations road map adequately, I believe, addresses these areas. It is seeking to get us far more centralised in the way we use (the) limited resources of the State, of academia and of business, to ensure that there is this total pre-occupation with (Science and Technology),” he said.
The Minister assured that, “as a Government, we are going to become totally pre-occupied with advancing this agenda, to get our people to innovate, using science and technology; and this Ministry is going to lead that effort,” Mr. Paulwell said.
The Minister’s Innovation Awards, which is the brainchild of Mr. Paulwell, aim to enhance the Government’s objectives of encouraging and promoting individual science and technology innovations creativity, imagination, effort and concomitant outcomes.
It is intended to identify, recognise, reward as well as facilitate intellectual property protection and commercialisation of innovations originating locally from persons and institutions.
The initiative’s goal is to catalyse an increased and enduring wave of innovation successes, which can be tapped to support the government’s Science and Technology Policy.