Launched as the principal public sector agency of Jamaica with responsibility for the promotion and coordination of scientific research and the application of its results through the transfer of technologies in support of national development, the Scientific Research Council (SRC) came into being on June 1960 through the passing of an act of parliament under the leadership of His Rt. Excellent Norman W. Manley (former Premier and National Hero of Jamaica).
In accordance with its mandate, the projects and activities of the SRC are designed to support the growth and development of the local agro-industrial sector through research, adaptation of available technologies, creation of new and appropriate technologies, the provision of training, technical assistance and consultancy services geared at the development and establishment of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Projects undertaken by the SRC have resulted in – increased productivity and yield, export opportunities, employment creation and income generation, cost reduction, increased quality standards, food safety and the establishment/development of industries.
Through quality control programmes and stringent monitoring, the SRC continues to offer first-class service to Jamaica. As part of its continued effort towards improving customer relationship through effective communication, improved efficiency and consistency in procedures, the SRC obtained the prestigious ISO 9001:2015 certification and is also the proud owner of its own registered certification mark – a symbol of excellence denoting safety and quality.
Additionally, the SRC was the first entity to be accredited by JANAAC in Jamaica. Its analytical laboratories, which offer chemical and microbial testing of food, cosmetics, water and wastewater have been ISO 17025 accredited since 2010. Accreditation scope includes Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, cyanuric acid, chemical oxygen demand (COD), Total coliform and acidity.
The Council’s unwavering commitment to entrepreneurial activity through the support of the local agro-processing industry is witnessed through its accomplishments over its 60 plus years.
Some of the SRC’s achievements over the years are highlighted.
The SRC satisfies the processing needs of over 60 MSMEs annually, especially in the areas of milling and drying of herbs and spices; juice production; meat processing and production of various sauces and condiments. Through the provision of training and development of products and processes, SRC has contributed to the establishment and growth of many entities such as the following:
Commissioning of UASB reactor (the first in Jamaica) to treat food waste produced by the Food Technology Institute at SRC.Biogas/Anaerobic Technology developed to promote the use of alternate sources of energy, supplement total energy demand, utilize waste and provide organic fertilizer and biogas while preserving healthy environment. SRC has commissioned over 150 biodigesters on farms/households island-wide. Since 1993 SRC has enhanced this technology with the development of polishing ponds. The ponds utilize air to further treat water after it leaves the drying bed.
Development of Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) Reactor that utilizes biogas/anaerobic technology to efficiently treat complex industrial, agro-processing and municipal waste.
Development of Biodigester Septic Tanks (BST) to replace soak away pits. To-date SRC has commissioned over 500 BST’s to treat farm, agro-processing, industrial, commercial and residential waste island-wide.
SRC adapted Biogas/Anaerobic Technology to promote the use of alternate sources of energy and to supplement total energy demand, utilize waste and provide organic fertilizer. These systems produce biogas, organic fertilizer and treated wastewater that can be used for irrigation or returned to water bodies without causing harm.Successfully demonstrated that treated wastewater can be reused for irrigation and soil conditioning. The Sidgrains Project demonstrated that treated wastewater can grow crops such as sorghum (animal feed) and vegetables e.g. sweet pepper, okra and corn; reducing the use of potable water for irrigation.
A number of new food products are developed from local raw materials for commercialization and subsequent divestment to private sector. These activities provide socio-economic benefits to Jamaica in areas such as income generation and employment creation. SRC provides training and consultancy services, enabling the development and establishment of micro-businesses.
Research results led to the development and commercialization of various technologies such as: Solar Salt Technology – Provide solar salt, used as raw material for the growth of chemical industries, producing caustic soda and plastic resins.
Technology for the crystallizing and syruping of ginger.
Sophisticated technology for making multi-purpose caramel.
Contributed to the Development of Local Industries via training of agro-processors and value-added products – Sorrel, Sweet Potato (beverage and pudding) variety of herbal teas and lemongrass – food and personal care items.
Development of Solar Crop Dryer, designed to dry spices, nuts, fruits and vegetables to obtain higher earnings. SRC encouraged small farmers and exporters to use solar drying technology to preserve pineapple, papaya, mangoes, peanuts, peas, ginger, pepper and banana. Impact: Extended shelf-life of tropical fruits and vegetables and diminished loss incurred during storage. Led to the development of value added foods
Introduced New Variety of Sugar – Worked with SIRI towards introducing a new variety of sugar cane, called energy cane, that would yield a higher increase in sucrose content and greater volume of molasses and fibre
Establishment of a local Sorrel Industry – that now boasts a new variety of sorrel, known as the “Bashment Sorrel’. The industry now has over 15 products such as squash, jams, chutney, toppings, liqueur, sauces, teas and other juices on the market.
Developed suite of award-winning sorrel products under the Hope Gardens Jamaica label and stimulated demand for agricultural produce. Initiated export of products to Canada, UK and USA under Hope Garden’s label and stimulated demand for local produce (sugar, ginger, mango, guava, pineapple and spices) in the making of value-added products.
Promoted commercial cultivation of Oyster mushrooms and aided in establishing local mushroom industry. Provide technical assistance and spawn to farmers facilitating the commercial production and sale of local mushrooms; solved pests and disease problems affecting mushroom.
Executed tests on 100 local plants used in traditional medicine and was able to isolate anti-oxidant activity specific to treatment of various ailments.
Research to Impact Health & Wellness – SRC supports local nutraceutical industry by executing research; training of entrepreneurs; and developing value added food and personal care products.
The Natural Products Unit administered dibenzyl trisulphide (extract from Guinea Hen Weed) orally in old mice and discovered that it caused significant increase in thymic weight. The thymus is an immune organ that regulates the development of disease in the human body as it ages. This work has implications for treatment of diseases associated with aging. Guinea Hen Weed is also known for its anti-cancer properties.
Conducted Research Activities to increase yield of legume crops:–
Nitrogen Fixation – can allow up to 50% increase in yield of legumes (notably red peas).
Potassium improved the growth and nodulation of red peas. Addition of phosphate and potassium yielded a 23% increase in red peas per hectare.
Other R&D Activities include
Devised means of making Invert Sugar that was previously imported by Electric Arc Jamaica Ltd., for use in the production of welding rods. Saved expenditure of scarce foreign exchange.
Isolated insecticides/pesticides from local plants for commercial use against ticks and fleas.
Rat Bait Developed. SRC in collaboration with Storage and Infestation Division developed rat bait, made in cake form, utilizing relatively new compound. The bait is suitable for homes, warehouses and fields and can withstand any climatic condition. Commercialized in 1989.
Identified Potatoes Suitable for making French Fries. Conducted studies on 36 varieties of potatoes and assisted farmers in identifying varieties of potatoes suitable for making French fries.
Developed Jerk Seasoning formulations – support food and spice industry.
Developed Drying Techniques that eliminated the need for refrigeration – support Food and Meat Industry
Food Technology – Work in Heat Penetration Process allowed for the export of low acid canned foods including callaloo, red peas and ackee.
Instrumental in establishing guidelines for the proper feeding of students in residence in schools and children’s homes, and adults in penal institutions.
The introduction to Jamaica of enriched formulations (patties and quick bread) for the School Feeding Programme.
Participation in the formulation, evaluation and execution of the National Food and Nutrition Policy.
The development of enriched crackers and biscuits for use in maternal and child health programmes.
Production of an in-depth series of nutrition education material, which comprise films, slides and various publications.
Developed exotic food products: soups – red peas – with/without meat; gungo peas – with/without meat; canned mannish water – goat soup; sauces and preserves; jerked and smoked meat products; assortment of chips e.g. cassava, banana; suite of natural juices; suite of sorrel products – jam, liqueur and squash.
Mineral Resources Pilot Project – Utilized local raw material to make clay tiles, ceramics and sanitary ware. Local ceramic industry benefited from research work in the use of fluxes and glazes for stone and earthenware.
Developed acid resistant floor tiles, decorative pieces, drain pipes and roof tiles.
Researched and developed clay bricks and blocks as part of a low-cost housing programme.
Researched and promoted a limestone deposit to maximize the use of the Island’s extensive limestone resources. Impact: Whiting (calcium carbonate, which produces the white colour in plastic, toothpaste, paint and paper) developed contributing to import substitution.
Tissue Culture Technology – production of disease free plantlets to increase plant yields (example banana) reducing the need for the importation.
SRC has provided disease free planting material to the farming community in flexible economic quantities; preserving endangered species and conserving plants of economic importance.
Development of the largest Musa (banana) gene bank in the Americas (Caribbean, North, Central and Latin America).
Production of Irish Potato micro tubers using Temporal Immersion System (TIS) enabling supply of local market and reduction in importation. TIS has contributed to increased efficiencies e.g. output.
Molecular characterization of our local ginger variety.
Executing research to sole ‘root rot’ problems associated with ginger rhizome.
Launched and maintained Science and Technology Societies at the primary and secondary levels islandwide.
SRC named the focal point for STIN Network. STIN is an integration of libraries, documentation centers, and other information units involved in S&T. Benefits: Enable users to have ready access to S&T information available both locally and overseas, comparative acquisition and reduction in duplication.
SRC is the regional focal point for the Caribbean Energy Information System (CEIS) network. The network consists of eighteen countries committed to the pooling and exchange of energy information.
Information Dissemination: Utilizes various media to popularize science and technology.
Development and optimization of new products and processes
Sensory evaluation – helps to ensure market acceptance of product
Access to Food Pilot Plant with certified food technologists (for persons without access to factory).
Packaged food formulations – raw material selection, processing; process flow; packaging; Good Manufacturing Practices; equipment needs.
Consultancy services – factory layout and equipment guide; use of appropriate packaging; shelf life studies; nutritional labeling.
Analytical Services – food, water and wastewater
Training courses in Food Processing; Essential Oils and Development of Personal Care Products; Tissue Culture; Treatment and Maintenance of Wastewater Treatment Systems.
Information on Renewable Energy; Science, Technology and Innovation
School Science Education Services – Enhance teaching of science in schools. This includes training workshops for teachers, career talks, science summer camps and fairs.
Biodigester Septic Tank (BST).
SRC received two patents to support commercial production of feed for ornamental fish and marine shrimp as under:
Shares patent with UWI for development of Natural Pesticide from local plant
The Council received the Gleaner Company’s Honour Award for Excellence in Science & Technology
SRC was nominated by the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) for Providing Outstanding Consultancy Services.
SRC’s Analytical Lab was the first to be accredited – ISO 17025 certification
Received international quality certification – ISO 9001: 2000 (Now ISO 9001:2015 certified)
SRC was nominated by the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) for Providing Outstanding Consultancy Services.