Jamaican innovators have one last chance to apply for the 2018 National Innovation Awards, as the extended deadline comes to an end on May 31.
Categories for entrants include Agriculture; Food and Agro-processing; Education and Popularisation of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI); Energy; Cybersecurity; Entertainment Products; Environmental Sustainability; Health and Safety; Youth Innovator; Engineering; and Manufacturing.
Executive Director of the Scientific Research Council (SRC), Dr. Cliff Riley, told JIS News that “we are looking for persons with innovative ideas and prototypes, things that can have an impact at a community level, a national level or internationally”.
“Any solution to a particular problem, or improving on something that is already being utilized, is an innovation,” Dr. Riley explained.
He highlighted that the awards, which have been around for a number of years, initially began with the SRC as a way of recognising innovators in Jamaica and in an effort to champion the cause of innovation driving the economy.
“We have to recognise excellence when we see it, and we have to celebrate persons who have an impact on how we perform and operate nationally,” he said.
Dr. Riley noted that, to date, there have been 77 applications from nine different categories for this year’s awards.
He indicated that the shortlisting process will begin in the second week of June, followed by interviews and discussions with the selected candidates.
In the meantime, Dr. Riley pointed out that the structure of the awards has changed, as there will now be pre-awards and post-awards capacity-building activities
He noted that in August there will be a session with all the applicants, looking primarily at intellectual property (IP) as well as looking at how to put ideas together in a business-pitch format.
Dr. Riley also indicated that for the post-awards support, there will be funding from the Youth Employment in Digital and Animation Industry (YEDAI) programme.
This will facilitate the participation of nine winners in a capacity-building programme with mentors to guide them through the process, so that at the end of the programme they should be able to pitch their ideas, have their business plans, have their IP protection, can readily move to market, and get investors to propel them forward.
“For us to move forward as a country, we must unearth new knowledge and we must come up with solutions that are exportable,” Dr. Riley said.
Encouraging persons to apply for the awards, Dr. Riley argued that “this is a grand opportunity to be recognised on a national level as well as an opportunity to enter into a no-cost programme to increase your probability of success in your innovation and to be exposed to wider networks, with the ability to access other markets”.
All entrants must consult the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) before submitting applications. All application forms must bear the JIPO seal.
Applications should be addressed to Mrs. Andrea Kerr, Coordinator, Innovation Awards Secretariat, Executive Director’s Office, Scientific Research Council, PO Box 350, Hope Gardens, Kingston 6.
For additional information, interested persons may visit www.src.gov.jm.
The SRC, in collaboration with the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), coordinates the activities around the awards, and collates and reviews the applications.