Organized jointly by Sri Lankan Academy of Young Scientists (SLAYS) and National Science Foundation Sri Lanka (NSF) in collaboration with Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI), Ministry of Science Technology and Research, The SLAYS Open Forum 2017 was held on 28th February and 01st March 2017 at Hilton Colombo Residences, Colombo.
The Sri Lankan Acadamy of Young Scientists (SLAYS) was established in year 2012 with the aim of bringing early/mid-career scientists together to create new opportunities that facilitate improvement of science in Sri Lanka. Dr. Tharanga Thoradeniya who is the current president of the SLAYS in her message to the Open Forum 2017 says “The SLAYS strongly believes that young scientists in Sri Lanka should play a transformational role in integrating scientific knowledge into society for the betterment of the nation. SLAYS is strong with its multidisciplinary team of members who believe in their capabilities and exchange ideas across disciplines to identify innovative solutions for the challenges faced by the country. From health care to climate change and resource depletion, we face up to the planet’s greatest challenges today. Improving the health of the nation, health of the environment, and enabling a more equal society should be high on the agenda of an able young scientist. Young scientists need more support and fewer burdens in order to achieve this agenda. ”
During this two day event number of local and international resource persons delivered their speeches which were mainly focused on young scientists of Sri Lanka and how they can overcome challenges they face in common. Professor AP de Silva from Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Professor David Wilson from University of Southampton,United Kingdom, Professor Reinhard Damman from University of Giessen, Germany, Professor Veranja Karunaratne, Senior Professor, University of Peradeniya, Dr Muditha Senerath Yapa, Head – John Keels Research, Technology Incubation Center, Nanotechnology & Science Park, Professor Monte Cassim from Ritsumeikan University, Japan, Professor Ajith de Alwis from COSTI, science writer and columnist Mr. Nalaka Gunawardene, and Professor Saroj Jayasinghe, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo were some of the notable speakers of this two day forum.
One of the main attractions of the SLAYS open forum was the SLAYS 3MT competition where MPhil/PhD students presented compelling spoken presentations on their research and its significance concisely in just 3 minutes to forum audience. During the second day of the forum 11 finalists from the competition presented their research work and the award for the best presentation and the peoples choice award was won by Shalini Thiruchittampalam for her presentation on “Probable chemical compounds from Sri Lankan flora for the treatment of neurodegeneration “.
Scientists from the Sri Lankan Academy of Young Scientists, other scientists from local and international institutes and many other invited guests were present in this two day forum.