The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has recommended funding the grant application titled “𝐄𝐧𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬: 𝐃𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧” valued at 9.9 million Norwegian Kroner (approximately 217 million LKR)! This collaborative grant application includes three institutes – University of Stavanger in Norway, Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia, and University of Moratuwa. The Department of Transport and Logistics Management played a prime role in the application with Senior Lecturers Dr. Niles Perera and Dr. Amila Thibbotuwawa leading the way with the experienced support of Dr. Ajith Pasqual (Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering) and Dr. Ranil Sugathadasa (Senior Lecturer, TLM). Ms. Banusha Aruchunarasa rounded up the team from University of Moratuwa.
The grant application was the only Sri Lankan success story of the recently announced NORHED II grant call which saw 199 applications from around the world with 9 coming from Sri Lanka. Only 60 applications have been recommended for funding after a rigorous evaluation process. The centerpiece of the grant is to establish a Supply Chain Analytics Lab at the Department of Transport and Logistics Management. The grant also includes two PhD scholarships with exposures in all three partner countries to build socially sustainable supply chains in Sri Lanka. This is in addition to multi-party technology and knowledge transfer initiatives, especially relating to Industry 4.0 applications to support the local industry. The grant also aims to develop a new postgraduate degree program to support knowledge acquisition of local professionals as well as an increased focus on practice-driven research among many other planned activities.