The University of Ruhuna, the leading partner of the project FOUNTAIN (Fostering sustainable university-industry techno-entrepreneurial collaborations and innovations in Asian universities) cofounded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, is proud to announce its commencement on 1st July 2023. The kick-off meeting was held hybrid on 19th – 20th July 2023 at the gap HQ in Colombo 07 with the physical participation of FOUNTAIN local partners and online participation of foreign partners. The University of Ruhuna team comprises Senior Prof. G.Y Jayasinghe (Coordinator FOUNTAIN Project), Emeritus Prof. C.M. Navaratne, Prof. K.L. Wasantha Kumara, Dr. D.L.C. Kumari Fonseka, Dr. Chamila J. Wijekoon, Dr. Prabath Priyankara and Mr. K.M.C. Tharupath of Faculty of Agriculture, contributed to the FOUNTAIN Project at the forefront.
The proposal for the FOUNTAIN Project which was developed by the University of Ruhuna team was able to secure a highly competitive and prestigious international research grant (Ref: 101082309) under the grant scheme of the Education Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Union.
The FOUNTAIN Project will address the lack of strategic university-industry partnerships in Asian universities in terms of student employability, blended learning, invention and innovation, techno-entrepreneurial skills, curriculum development, multidisciplinary joint research and many other aspects. Through need assessments conducted with partners in Sri Lanka and Thailand, FOUNTAIN identifies gaps in university-industry collaboration, aiming to align industrial interests with public interests, particularly in agro-industries. Its objectives include enhancing university curricula with robust industrial training programs, strengthening university-business links, and establishing a community of practice involving university and industry actors in the field of agro-industries. Additionally, the project seeks to facilitate the transition of ideas into practice, promote business start-ups, and establish a centre of excellence in the invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship to meet the needs of graduates, academics, farmers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and other industries in the country and the region.
The FOUNTAIN Project boasts an impressive list of partnering higher education institutes from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden, including the University of Ruhuna, University of Peradeniya, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Horizon College of Business & Technology, Naresuan University (Thailand), Chiang Mai University (Thailand), Tallinn Technical University (Estonia), Vilniaus Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania) and Mid Sweden University (Sweden).
Addressing the gathering the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ruhuna, Senior Professor Sujeewa Amarasena emphasized the importance of these projects and the institution’s commitment to fostering collaboration and advancing sustainable development. The event’s keynote speakers, Dr. Ravi Liyanage, Co-founder, and present Chairman/CEO of the Raigam group, and Senior Prof. Ranjith Dissanayake, Senior Professor at the University of Peradeniya and Chairman of the Green Building Council of Sri Lanka (GBCSL), shared valuable insights on sustainable business practices and green infrastructure, inspiring the audience to work towards a greener future.
The highlight of the event was the official launch of the FOUNTAIN Project’s website, serving as a digital gateway to access information about the project’s activities, achievements, and research opportunities. This platform is set to facilitate communication and collaboration among project stakeholders and partners worldwide, furthering the FOUNTAIN Project’s mission towards a sustainable and prosperous future.