Kingston, Jamaica (Jamaica Observer) – MORE than 200 students and teachers participated in ideation sessions held recently to prepare them for the Scientific Research Council (SRC) National Science and Technology Fair.
The three sessions, which were held in Kingston, Montego Bay and Mandeville, provided a forum for participants to identify key challenges affecting sectors in Jamaica and possible solutions.
Coordinator for the Science and Technology Education Unit at the SRC, Amanda McKenzie, explained to JIS News that the sessions took the format of a panel discussion.
Following this, ideas from the discussion were pitched and analysed to determine their feasibility.
“The sessions really took persons through an idea to determine whether it is really needed in the market, and how it is that they can go all the way through the process of commercialisation,” she noted.
“For the fair, we don’t want persons to come up with ideas that are not necessarily relevant at this time, so the sessions were to provide that sort of brainstorming session that would first identify the gaps that currently exist, what we can expect in the future, and how it is we can now, through foresight, develop innovative solutions to address [these],” she added.
Students and teachers were exposed to presenters from various industries representing the categories of the Science Fair, including energy, health, security and food and agro-processing.
McKenzie said there was a representative from the Montego Bay Marine Park who looked at the environmental conditions in Jamaica, and challenged persons to come up with ideas and solutions to mitigate these.
Additionally, the students and teachers were exposed to an entrepreneurial perspective with the inclusion of entrepreneurs in the fields of nutraceuticals, agriculture, entertainment and photography.
“This [entrepreneurship] is important because this is something that we are really pushing for persons, especially for the youth to get involved in,” McKenzie explained.
She further added that this is a key component of the ‘Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Industry’ (YEDAI) project, with which the Council is partnering this year to stage the National Science and Technology Fair.
“We realise that there is a high rate of migration, especially for individuals who have attained tertiary-level education, there is a low innovation index in Jamaica; even in cases where persons have developed items, products and services, there is not enough support, guidance or resources available to them,” McKenzie said.
She noted that the sessions sought to provide persons with information to let them know of the potential that they “can tap into, benefit from and generate employment for themselves and other persons”.
The sessions were held between April 19 and May 2.
The National Science and Technology Fair is scheduled for June 12, with a registration deadline of May 18.