Message from the Vice Chancellor,University of Ruhuna 

Higher Educational Institutions play a crucial role as a knowledge creation centerpiece of a country through education and research. Higher Educational Institutions should be resourceful to generate prime knowledge and innovate solutions to guide policy agendas to achieve national development goals. As a developing country, Sri Lanka has realized the importance of capacity building of Higher Educational Institutions in order to overcome the challenges of the country. Therefore, the Sri Lankan education system has prioritized to expand the novelty, relevance and the standard of research and innovation of academics and scholars.

To achieve this objective, University of Ruhuna has involved in a broader spectrum of national and international projects in various disciplines. The project namely Building Resilience in Tropical Agro-Ecosystems (BRITAE) is such a latest initiative. This has been planned to be implemented over the next 03 years by focusing on many prioritized areas such as Education, Agriculture, Forestry and Environment. This project is undertaken with the aim of developing the capacity of higher education institutions to undertake and disseminate high-quality research efficiently and effectively for building the resilience of Agro-ecosystems. The project is planned to be implemented with a wide range of objectives including enhancing knowledge on climate change and disaster risk reduction activities associated with agroecosystems and sharing expert knowledge, improving the skills and competencies of academic and administrative staff etc.

University of Ruhuna plays a vital role in this project as the leading partner and the legal representative of the project. Other collaborative partners are the Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre of University of Colombo- SL, University of Moratuwa- SL, University of Sri Jayawardhanapura – SL , Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Global Disaster Resilience Centre of University of Huddersfield- UK, University of Central Lancashire- UK, Tallinn University of Technology- Estonia and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University- Lithuania.

The scope of this project has a timely importance; filling the knowledge gap in Agro-ecosystem based resilience and, further ensuring sustainable Agro-ecosystem management. This will address the concept of ecological resilience, particularly focusing on tropical Agro-ecosystems.

As a result of intensive agricultural practices, depletion and degradation of ecosystems are emerging all over the world and as a result biodiversity degradation and many other adverse impacts have arisen. Maintaining high biodiversity in Agro-ecosystems makes agricultural production more sustainable and economically viable. On the other hand, with the frequent occurrence of disasters,  ecosystems are threatened and as a result, agricultural production is vulnerable to wide fluctuations. Climate changes have worsened the balance of Agro-ecosystems. Thus, in this context, pursuing innovative solutions for enhancing  agriculture-based ecological resilience should be a global priority. Accordingly, this kind of global networking will effectively accelerate the move towards building ecological resilience and it will ultimately ensure the sustainability and productivity improvement of Agro-ecosystems.

Development of a featured website for BRITAE project is a great initiative to achieve the intended project outcomes more effectively and efficiently. This website facilitates the dissemination of project results and as a communication interface, particularly for knowledge transfer.

I immensely appreciate the European Union and the affiliated Erasmus programme for their enormous contribution as the project focal point and the funding organization. The gesture of all the organizations and Higher Educational Institutes to cooperate as project counterparts should be profoundly appreciated. Our willingness to commit and collaborate is the key to the successful implementation and accomplishment of the ultimate goals of the project. I believe, the collaboration of all of us together will be required for the success of this project. The long term results of this project would particularly contribute to ensure the sustainability of tropical Agro-ecosystems across the entire world and all stakeholders would have a heartfelt rewarding experience.

University of Ruhuna is proud and privileged to serve as the leading university of the project, BRITAE. As the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ruhuna, I appreciate the invaluable effort of the project team to initiate such a vital project.

I wholeheartedly wish the  BRITAE project team the very best and I look forward to witness the success of the BRITAE project.

Senior Professor Sujeewa Amarasena
University of Ruhuna

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