The University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka (UGC) invited Professors Dilanthi Amaratunga and Richard Haigh from the CASCADE project to lead a session on Horizon 2020, the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).
On the 2nd December 2014, the University of Huddersfield with the support from CASCADE project and also along with the EU office in Colombo, organised an event at the UGC under the direction of its Professor Ranjtih Senaratne, Vice Chairman of the UGC.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) is the apex body of the University System in Sri Lanka which. The functions of the UGC are; planning and coordination of university education, allocation of funds to Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), maintenance of academic standards, regulation of the administration of HEIs and regulation of admission of students to HEIs. Its vision is to be an excellent regulatory body which guide, develop and sustain a network of ‘Centers of Excellence’ in higher education meeting the national needs and aspirations in keeping with global trends.
All 15 Sri Lankan universities are under its umbrella: University of Colombo, University of Peradeniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Kelaniya, University of Moratuwa, University of Jaffna, University of Ruhuna, The Open University of Sri Lanka, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Uva Wellassa University, University of the Visual & Performing Arts. Vice Chancellors of all these universities along with other scientists attended the event.
The event commenced with a welcome address by Professor Ranjith Senaratne, Vice Chair, UGC (Photograph, above). Opening remarks were provided by Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama, Chairperson, UGC. These were followed by Mr Simone Brotini, Development Cooperation Section of EU, Colombo, who spoke about Collaborating with the EU.
Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga from the Global Disaster Resilience Centre at the University of Huddersfield in the UK went on to provide a detailed overview of the EU’s Horizon 2020 scheme, including the different programmes. Professor Richard Haigh, also from the Global Disaster Resilience Centre at Huddersfield spoke about the practical steps involved in developing linkages with EU institutions. This was followed by a series of presentations on the sharing of experience and lessons learned by an EU Grantee: Professor Samantha Hettiarchchi , University of Moratuwa; Shayani Weeresinghe, University of Moratuwa; Professor A. R. Wickramasinghe, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya; and, Professor Ranil De Silva, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenapura.