Munchee, the flagship brand of Ceylon Biscuits Limited’s (CBL), recently supported the Association of Food Science and Technology (AFST) aligned to the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura in a novel initiative to bridge the gap between industry and academic research.
CBL as the main sponsor of OPTIMUS ’18, a unique event organised by AFST, highlighted the growing importance of the food industry and university in collaborating, sharing knowledge and building long term relationships which is mutually beneficial for both parties.
One of the main objectives of the event was to recognise and award prizes to the winners of the research competition organised by AFST. Over 50 research proposals were accepted from Graduates and Postgraduates of the department with 20 papers short listed by an eminent University panel.
From among the six finalists, the winner of the Graduate category was Roshima Vithanage for research on the ‘Analysis of Antioxidant capacity, Total Phenolic Content and Physiochemical properties of raw extract, Pectinase treated extract and cellulose treated extract of pineapple waste.’
In the Postgraduate category Ajani Chandrika Wijeratne won for research on the ‘Physiochemical properties of rice based herbal biscuit incorporated with the decoction of syzygium cumini bark.’
Rewarding their academic excellence and providing an incentive to continue further research, the winners received awards and medals from CBL.
The keynote address at OPTIMUS ’18 was delivered by Prof. Ajith de Alwis, Professor of the Department, Department of Chemical & Process Engineering, University of Moratuwa while the Guest of Honour was Dr. L. T. Gamalath, Deputy Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health.
Addressing the gathering, Prof. de Alwis said, “Looking at the role of industry and university, we need serious industry-university interaction. The research needs to translate into rupees as it is very important going beyond one or two events creating new levels of partnership and importantly a sense of togetherness. The best way is having continuous research projects and trouble-shooting where the industry gives projects to the university and with the university reacting with answers. Both parties must take a proactive role, the industry walking into the university system and students walking outside into the industry creating dynamic exchanges.”
Emphasising CBL’s commitment towards enhancing food industry and academia relationships, Nalin Karunaratne, Chief Executive Officer CBL said, “Our association with OPTIMUS ’18 is part of our ongoing initiatives to bridge the knowledge gap between industry, universities and academic research and not a once-off alliance. As CBL celebrates its 50th anniversary aligned to the theme of ‘Fifty Years of Caring’ we believe this occasion is fitting to showcase our continued journey with the university as Sri Lanka’s one of the largest conglomerates in supporting future research and trends. This collaboration will be beneficial to all stakeholders the community and our nation.”
A host of academia from the University, Health Ministry officials, representatives from allied industries, past and present students of the department, and the media also attended the glittering event.
During the event, the Association launched the new edition of its popular magazine ‘FoodInc’18’ with a collection of interesting and thought-provoking essays. Another noteworthy highlight was the unveiling of the Association’s website.
Praising CBL for its unstinted support, Isuru Bandara, President of the Association of Food Science and Technology, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Sri J’pura noted, “We have the theoretical knowledge but not the practical knowledge. Munchee has been extremely supportive as the main sponsor and a huge motivation for us. We believe this event will serve as an impetus to attract more research participants so that there will be opportunities in the industry especially through CBL and Munchee in the coming years.”
Shyama Rajapaksha, Quality Assurance Manager, CBL engaged the audience with an interesting presentation highlighting the company’s immense expertise and implementation of rigid international quality assurance standards aligned to the food industry.