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During the fiscal year 2008/09, infrastructural improvements will be undertaken at the Scientific Research Council (SRC).
These include the refurbishing of the microbiology laboratory and other facilities of the Product Research and Development building and the Marketech offices, and safety systems (fire escapes).
In addition, the security systems and information and communications technology (ICT) facilities of the SRC will be upgraded.
These are outlined in a Ministry Paper that was tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda.
In an effort to continue sensitization on national/regional importance of Science and Technology (S&T), the SRC has come up with a proposal for the establishment of a local cable channel in collaboration with the e-learning Project, which will be completed by March 2009.
Furthermore, proposals for the establishment of a mobile science laboratory will be revised and submitted by June 2008 to funding agencies for approval.
Also, memoranda of agreement/relationships will be reviewed and new ones formalized with the Social Development Commission (SDC), National Youth Service (NYS) and the inter-agency regional committees.
According to the Ministry Paper, there will be an increased utilization of technology in the productive sector. As a result, the solar drying technology for agro-processing sector will be improved. There will also be a low cost transfer of tissue culture technology to at least two facilities, including Port Royal and Sydney Pagon Agricultural College (formerly Elim).
Additionally, business plans for the training centre at the SRC will be completed by September 2008 for funding; the food processing incubator facility completed by December 2008 for funding; and the regional analytical services prepared by March 2009 and implemented as approved.
The SRC has also developed and implemented a sensitization/awareness programme targeting policy/decision makers about Science and Technology (S&T) as a tool for national development and improved competitiveness. Furthermore, collaboration with the National Commission on S&T will be undertaken to develop proposals and implement training of corporate planners in S&T, according to the Ministry Paper.
With the development of new products, customer satisfaction will be achieved. As a result, the SRC will develop two new products to meet the demands of a nutraceutical niche in the market by March 2009; while services in the extraction of oils will be provided to customers.
The National Health Fund (NHF) project on hypertension and diabetes studies will be implemented and approved, while research generated on the Glycemic index of select Jamaican starches for input in database will be done by March 2009.
In addition, proposals for the development of specialized products for the natural products will be developed. Proposals are being developed for submission to appropriate funding agencies by December 2008 for the establishment of a natural products pilot plant (for small-scale production), while proposals were also developed for submission to the NHF by December 2008 for development of herbal capsules/products.
The SRC has been allocated $331 million in this year’s budget to carry out its work.