A new collaborative project on Higher Education and Research in Nanomaterials for Clean Energy Technologies (HRNCET-2.0) between the University of Jaffna (UoJ) and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) was launched on 06-04-2022 at the UoJ auditorium. The HRNCET 2.0 is the second phase/extension of the HRNCET project that was initially awarded in 2017 by the Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation (NORPART). The main objective of the HRNCET 2.0 is to enhance the existing collaboration on research for a PhD programme, and to increase the engagement of the private sector industry partners from both countries in clean energy technologies.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka HE Trine Jøranli Eskedal was the Chief Guest of the inaugural ceremony which commenced with the arrival of a delegation from Norway consisting of academics and researchers from HVL and University of Bergen (UiB) as well as Norwegian industrial partners.
Prof. Punniamoorthy Ravirajan, UoJ Coordinator of the HRNCET project while welcoming the guests, also shared the achievements the HRNCET-1 project has accomplished so far. He said that the first phase focused on (a) the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and curriculum development, (b) exchange of knowledge through student exchange, research stays and participation in international conferences in both countries, (c) carrying out outreach activities for community empowerment, and (d) the introduction of floating solar plant to the nation in general through this project. He also added that while the project commenced primarily focusing on the Science of clean energy technologies initially it also gradually moved into the designing and engineering of the technologies.
Addressing the gathering Prof. Dhayalan Velauthapillai, HVL Coordinator of the HRNCET project said that the HRNCET-2 phase of the project will be moving up to the level of PhD programmes in collaboration with the UiB. This initiative will increase opportunities for collaborations with the industrial partners which is crucial for the country to move towards low carbon solutions. The new programme will also focus on Hydrogen technologies. He went on to say that the programme will also include an extension of the activities from the first phase and will incorporate skills development, innovation and research (being the key to broader institutional and industrial networks), and engaging in feasibility studies.
The Vice-Chancellor, UoJ addressing the gathering thanked the engaged universities and the donors for a successful collaboration. Prof. A. Atputharajah elaborated on the progress and challenges of the first floating solar power plant installed at the UoJ Kilinochchi premises and Dr K Ahilan briefly described the first Master Programme on Clean Energy Technologies carried out by the UoJ.
Prof. Øyvind Frette from UiB and Prof. Lise Bjørkhaug Gundersen from HVL also addressed the gathering and congratulated all those involved in the project for the successful implementation of the project.
The Vice-Rector for Research at HVL, Gro Anita Fonnes Flaten addressed the gathering digitally stressing the need for increasing collaboration through higher education institutions as they play a vital role in achieving the sustainable development goals.
The event concluded with the signing of a tripartite agreement between the UiB, HVL and UoJ.