The Sri Lanka Academy of Young Scientists (SLAYS), together with the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka (NSF) and in collaboration with the Coordinating Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI), co-organised the 2nd SLAYS Open Forum on “Research for Impact – March of the Sri Lankan Young Scientists” in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the beginning of October 2018.

The forum’s target audience was early- to mid-career scientists from academia and industry, and attracted 200 participants on invitation. The aim of the forum was to convince participants that they can do more towards impactful research in the country, through development of the research culture in the country. The event also provided a forum to discuss ways towards inclusive research policies which encourage young researchers to take part in quality research. The Keynote speakers of the forum were Prof Monte Cassim, President – Shizenkan Graduate University, Japan, Prof Ravi Silva – Director, Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), University of Surrey, UK, and Prof Richard de Grijs,Associate Dean (Global Engagement), Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, Australia. The forum was organised in four sessions, with one devoted to young scientists contribution to industry, and another on young scientists contribution for impactful research.

The third session was dedicated to the “3 minute research presentation competition-3MT®” by MPhil/PhD students. The objective of this session was to showcase young scientists who excelled in research communication in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.  10 finalists of the competition presented their research outcomes to the Forum. Chathuri M. Senanayake from the University of Kelaniya became the champion for her presentation on “Effects of plant-based extracts to stabilize and improve the nutritional quality of selected foods” and won the award of 1,000 USD, while Miyuru Piyathilake from the University of Moratuwa won the peoples choice award for her presentation on “Remote Estimation of Corrosion in Structural Applications”.

As a highlight of the final session of the Forum, three energetic and eminent young scientists – Dr Asha De Vos, Prof Neelika Malavige and Prof Rangika Halwatura, motivated the next generation to be interested in science.

Photo: Finalists of the 3MT® competition during their final presentations.