‘The Ray’ award to commercialise Sri Lankan inventions

- www.ft.lk

The Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission and Commercial Bank, has announced ‘The Ray’ award.
The Trust invites all Presidential Award winners of the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission to apply for this prestigious award which is a bi-annual lifetime award, given in memory of the late Ray Wijewardene, the foremost inventor produced by Sri Lanka, to help a recognised inventor to commercialise his or her invention.

The RWCT, which has appointed an eminent independent panel of judges, would award a distinctive plaque and a citation to the winner of ‘The Ray,’ whilst Commercial Bank would award a substantial credit line to assist the winner to prepare his/her invention for commercialisation.
The University of Moratuwa would provide the technical support necessary to convert the winner’s invention to a product or process ready for the market. In addition, the Commercial Bank would consider raising the required funds if the winner prepares a bankable project.
Commercial Bank, the most internationally awarded Sri Lankan bank, has incorporated corporate sustainability strategies that hinge on innovation and technology, collaboration and networking, continuous process improvement and stakeholder engagement. The overall goal of the bank’s social policy is to generate measurable and sustainable social dividends for different segments of the society, in particular those which require empowerment most urgently.
The Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust was established in 2004 and presently focuses mainly on projects aimed at uplifting standards of IT and English education. The trust commenced with a start-up capital of Rs. 25 million and the bank contributes up to 1% of its after tax profits every year. The bank sees this initiative as another opportunity to nurture talent that will change the future of the country. The RWCT is indeed privileged to have their patronage.
In 1955, Ray Wijewardene looked critically and scientifically at the farming practices prevailing at the time and thus pioneered the world’s first two wheeled tractor – the Landmaster. In the years that followed, over 300,000 units were sold in 27 countries including Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Japan.
The Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust was established in January 2011, to promote and sustain the vision and ideas of the legend that is Ray Wijewardene. It aims to recognise and support innovations in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, engineering and aeronautics – disciplines and pursuits that were close to his heart for over half a century.
‘The Ray’ is presented in order to encourage on-going innovation and enterprise in areas of public interest and continue his vision of innovation amongst Sri Lankans, especially the youth.
In December 2011, the RWCT together with the Institute of Engineers of Sri Lanka, presented the inaugural Ray Wijewardene Memorial Lecture, ‘Grassroots Innovations for Inclusive Development,’ delivered by the distinguished Indian Professor Anil Gupta, Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad, and holding the Executive Vice-Chair of the National Innovation Foundation of India.
The lecture showed how innovation can make extensive changes in a rapidly developing country, affirming the need for South Asia to seize and harness the myriad ideas that emerge from innovators, designers and people, whether they be highly trained or illiterate, and to go out and find them, respect them and help them via entrepreneurs and technicians to transform their inventions into applicable solutions.
The award ceremony is scheduled for mid October 2012 and it is very much hoped that all Presidential Award winners of the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission will perfect and submit their applications by 31 July 2012, making ‘The Ray’ a reality and a success!

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