University of Ruhuna is the leading University of the BRITAE project. Snr. Prof. C.M. Navaratne is the Coordinator of the project and Snr. Prof. Sujeewa Amarasena, Vice Chancellor, is the legal representative of University of Ruhuna. The proposal for the BRITAE project was developed by five Sri Lankan universities and four European Union (EU) universities and the team was able to secure a highly competitive and prestigious international research grant (Ref. No. 610012-EPP-1-2019-1-LK-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP) under the grant scheme of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (Erasmus+: Higher Education – International Capacity Building – Joint Projects) of the European Union. The project duration is three years (15.01.2020 – 14.01.2023). The Sri Lankan partner universities are University of Ruhuna (UOR) (leading university), University of Colombo (UOC), University of Moratuwa (UOM), University of Sri Jayawardenepura (USJP), and Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka (SUSL) whereas European partner universities include Huddersfield University, UK (HUD), University of Central Lancashire, UK (UCLan), Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia (TUT) and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Lithuania (VGTU).

The education sector is vitally important for social and economic development of Sri Lanka (Region 6) and distinguished education in engineering and engineering trends is a key priority (Category A) in Asia. This priority covers environmental protection technology, including solutions relevant to food security and climate change. Therefore, the proposed project is aimed at developing joint curricula modules on building resilience in tropical agro-ecosystems (BRITAE) in Sri Lankan universities in order to increase their capacity to continually modernize, enhance the quality and relevance of education of students to the global market needs and to ensure international cooperation in line with the above needs.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. To understand the knowledge gaps in agroecosystem-based resilience through a comprehensive survey framework by assessing the knowledge gaps, resources and capacities of current agroecosystem-based resilience for joint curriculum development.
  2. To develop a joint innovative and adaptive MSc curriculum on tropical agroecosystem-based resilience, aiming at food security and climate change impacts.
  3. To develop a Smart Agroecosystem based Resilience Center for teaching, learning, research, and development.
  4. To develop and implement an online student service platform by blending European practices in education (learning and teaching tools, methodologies and didactic approaches including learning outcomes and ICT-based practices) from participating EU universities to program country universities.
  5. To implement a Master’s degree programme in Building Resilience in Tropical Agroecosystems
  6. To prepare academic and administrative staff in the HEIs to undertake advanced, world-class and innovative, multi- and inter-disciplinary research that will contribute to increased ecological resilience to disasters by providing a robust understanding on climate change, and DRR activities which are focused more on agroecosystems.
  7. To increase international cooperation by partner HEIs on research programmes that tackle ways to increase societal resilience to disasters.
  8. To reinforce educational and scientific networking among EU and PC universities in the BRITAE project.
  9. To disseminate the project progress, successes and outcomes as far as possible, and to raise awareness across the field of HE about capacity building for the research area-resilience building on agro-ecosystems.

With the implementation of the project, an innovative curriculum will be introduced and will strengthen the capabilities of HEIs to tackle the challenges associated with agro-based ecological resilience to disasters. This will include an increase in educated people in the agro-based ecological resilience and allied sectors. This project will be instrumental in greater internationalization across each HEI’s research and innovation capacity, including high quality cooperation among different HEIs.

The project is expected to enhance the competencies and skills, management, governance and innovation capacities of partners of HEI’s academic, management, administrative and technical staff. BRITAE will also strengthen  relationships between HEIs in the region, and  interactions in the context of wider social and economic environment.

Augmenting research capacity building by BRITAE in HEIs is becoming progressively required so that they can actively play their role as incubators of knowledge and ideas. Making HEIs the center for innovation and generation of ideas is critical for development. Through BRITAE, we hope that the knowledge gap in the agro-based ecological resilience in the tropical area in Sri Lanka will be addressed. Consequently, it is expected to improve the capacity to produce knowledge domestically with the help of international experiences and lessons learnt.  The proposed project fits with national and institutional strategies and policies on number of aspects such as access to higher education, preparedness for future climate associated disasters, internationalization and modernization, etc. ensuring  sustainability.    


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