Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and the University of Jaffna launch a new collaborative project with new partner, University of Bergen

The launching of the new project on Higher Education and Research in Nanomaterials for Clean Energy Technologies (HRNCET) 2.0, a collaboration project between the University of Jaffna (UoJ) and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) took place at the UoJ auditorium on 06-04-2022. The HRNCET 2.0 is the second phase/extension of the HRNCET project that was originally awarded in 2017 by the Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation (NORPART) by extending the collaboration with University of Bergen (UoB). 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 in both countries in clean energy technologies.

On the arrival of the delegation from Norway consisting of academics and researchers from HVL, the University of Bergen (UoB) and the Norwegian industrial partners to the university of Jaffna, the inauguration commenced with the lighting of traditional oil lamp and welcome dance performed by the students of the Department of Music, Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts, University of Jaffna The delegation appreciated the excellent dance performance. The Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka HE Trine Jøranli Eskedal was the Chief Guest of the event and she congratulated the active collaboration between the Norwegian and Sri Lankan institutions that will contribute positively to achieve the national and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to climate issues and clean energy. She highly commented outreach activities and the launch of the first-ever floating solar project at the University of Jaffna-Kilinochchi premises successful partnerships with the private sector under the project.

Prof. Punniamoorthy Ravirajan, UoJ Coordinator of the HRNCET project while welcoming the guests, also shared the achievement of the project so far has accomplished. He said that the HRNCET project focused on the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and curriculum development, knowledge exchange through student exchange, research stays and international conferences in both countries, carrying out outreach activities for community empowerment, and a national contribution through the introduction of the first floating solar plant through this project. He also added that initially, the project commenced primarily focusing on the science of clean energy technologies, the project 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 project will be moving into the level from Master programmes to PhD programmes. The PhD programmes will be in collaboration with the UoB and will increase 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 and floating solar with industrial partners Greenstat and Current Solar, Norway. He went on to say that the programme will also include the extension of the activities from the first phase with the focus on skill development, innovation and research, the key to broader institutional and industrial networks and engaging in feasibility studies. He also thanked both the  Directorate for Higher Education and Skills and the Royal Norwegian Embassy for the moral and financial support.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university of Jaffna, Prof. Srisatkunarajah addressing the gathering thanked the engaged universities and the donors for a successful collaboration. He appreciated the project coordinators, especially Prof. Dhayalan Velauthapillai for masterminding the project development by engaging the Scientists of HVL and UoJ. He expressed his sincere gratitude to Norwegian ambassador Her Excellency Trine Jøranli Eskedal and the team from HVL, UoB and private sectors for gracing the inauguration of the HRNCET-2.0 project which would be running for another five years from 2022 to produce skilled research personals through PhD programmes. The Vice-Rector for Research at HVL, Gro Anita Fonnes Flaten addressed the gathering  stressing the need for increasing collaboration through higher education institutions as they play a vital role in achieving the SDGs.

Prof. A. Atputharajah presented the progress and challenges of the first floating solar power plant installed at the UoJ Kilinochchi premises and Dr K Ahilan presented the first Master Programme on Clean Energy Technologies carried out by the UoJ.

Prof. Øyvind Frette, Vice- Dean from UoB and Prof. Lise Bjørkhaug Gundersen, Vice Dean from HVL also addressed the gathering and congratulated all those involved in the project for the successful implementation of the project. They also pointed out the need for higher education and research collaboration in clean energy technologies as the energy demand has higher day after day.

The event concluded with the signing of a tripartite agreement between the UoB, HVL and UoJ.

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