JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said research and development activities should be synchronized with the country’s growth and production objectives, if Jamaica is to become globally competitive. He said science and technology have largely remained academic in nature and that in order to benefit the economy, it should be more practical, purpose defined and outcome driven.
Mr. Golding’s comments were made on Friday (Feb. 15) at a science and technology retreat organized by the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST). Participants included representatives of the public and private sector, as well as the University of the West Indies and the College of Agriculture Science and Technology (CASE). He said the country must be able to see the results and benefits of laboratory work in areas such as agriculture and manufacturing, where applied technology could improve efficiency and productivity levels. He said the opening up of the European market to exports from the region has created new opportunities for Jamaican producers, and that science and technology must help to identify the ingredients and critical imperatives needed to seize those opportunities. He said identifying alternative sources of energy is one area in which research and development could help boost the economy.
Mr. Golding suggested the amalgamation of research activity among the different government agencies, which could then be anchored at a tertiary institution such as the University of the West Indies. He said the benefit would result from more effective use of resources and funding that is available for scientific research.
Minister of Industry, Commerce and Investment, Karl Samuda who also spoke at the retreat, said there are tremendous opportunities in agriculture, and that farmers must be brought up to speed in order that they can get the best return on their investment. His comments were supported by Agriculture Minister Christopher Tufton, who pointed out several projects that were driven by research and development and to which science and technology have been applied. Dr. Tufton also spoke of the need to commercialise some of the products that have been developed through research and development.
Presenters at the retreat were drawn from the NCST, Scientific Research Council (SRC), Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications. Topics covered and discussed included the contribution of science and technology to Jamaica’s food and energy security. A work team has been established to pull together the main discussion items that will inform the way forward for the use of science and technology in enhancing economic growth.

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