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 Pera Uni PGIS multi-theme research conference on 3-4 Nov.

Pera Uni PGIS multi-theme research conference on 3-4 Nov.

24 Oct 2023 | BY Dr. Thilini Chathurika Weeraratne

The annual research congress (RESCON) is one of the much-talked-about events organised by the Postgraduate Institute of Science (PGIS), University of Peradeniya, a national institution with a mission to enrich and promote postgraduate education, research, and development across a spectrum of scientific disciplines in Sri Lanka. 

This impactful event is being organised for the 10th consecutive time this year and is scheduled to take place on 3 and 4 November at the PGIS and the Faculty of Science of the university.

The conference demonstrates the commitment of the PGIS to promote publishing pioneering research and advancing scientific understanding. RESCON 2023 will feature a remarkable lineup of presentations and discussions centred around the themes of the life sciences, the physical sciences, information and communication technology (ICT), mathematics and statistics, science education, and the earth and environmental sciences. The congress wants to demonstrate how these different fields work together.

RESCON 2023 will be a platform for both local and international researchers and scholars to share their research findings. This time, we have received more than 200 local and international abstracts under the above five themes, proving the recognition of this annual event among the scientific community.

The life sciences

Prof. Kosala Weerakoon, who is well-known for his work in parasitology, will deliver the keynote address of the congress, sharing new ideas and thoughts about the future of the life sciences. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the latest discoveries and developments in various disciplines in biology such as ecology, where we study how living things interact with each other and the environment, the variety of life on earth also known as biodiversity, parasitology, microbiology, entomology, which involves the study of insects, conservation which can be simply described as taking care of our nature, epidemiology to genetics, and molecular biology. 

For instance, there is a wide array of studies on using natural plant properties to fight disease and pests in farming, the development of tools to detect diseases using advanced molecular biology techniques, the application of computer and maths-based models to track diseases, and the accumulation of microplastics in wildlife, etc.

Earth and environmental sciences

Participants from disciplines such as geology, climatology, hydrology, ecology, and conservation biology, etc., will present their research findings on, how we must get ready and cope with climate-related changes, protecting the variety of life on earth, taking care of resources for the long run and cutting edge technologies such as remote sensing, and more. Research that will be presented under this theme will be vital for researchers, policymakers, educators, and activists to understand the negative impacts of natural and human-made changes. Plenary speaker, the coordinator and head of an international research group in Germany, who is an expert in hydrogeology, Prof. Johannes Barth will address the attendees on the most recent trends under this theme.

ICT, mathematics, and statistics

This theme will kick off with a plenary speech by IDEAHUB (Pvt.) Ltd. Chief Executive Officer and Founder, who has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, Dr. Chaminda Ranasinghe. Parallel sessions will cover a broad spectrum of research on mathematics, ICT, and statistics. Attendees will be able to witness the practical applications of these fields in various industries and this will be a perfect platform to connect great ideas with practical use.

The physical sciences

Physicists and chemists working on the basic rules that control our entire universe will be presenting their recent findings under this theme. Outcomes from research focusing on the tiniest subatomic particles in the vast universe will be presented under this theme. Researchers will discuss research on renewable energy technology, nanotechnology, solar cell designs, quantum physics, biochemistry, particle physics, and theoretical chemistry. A chartered chemist and a renowned analytical chemist at Imperial College, London, England, Prof. Danny O’Hare will share his experience with the attendees as a plenary speaker.

Science education

A prominent figure in the field of science education, Senior Prof. in Educational Technology at the Open University of Sri Lanka Shironica Karunanayaka will deliver the plenary speech. The conference sessions will discuss the challenges in 21st-century education in science teaching and learning and in incorporating innovative teaching approaches to enhance curiosity and critical thinking in science classrooms. This will be a platform to recognise the importance of education and strategies to ignite the passion for fostering the next generation of scientists. 

Pre-conference workshops

The conference will feature two interactive pre-conference workshops that will provide a hands-on experience for attendees. One of these workshops will be on “Current trends in photo-electrochemical and photovoltaic materials, devices and applications” by reputed scientists from Sweden, India, and Sri Lanka, which will be on 6 October. The main aim of this workshop is to empower participants with practical skills and tools that can be applied to their own research and studies. 

The second pre-conference workshop will be held one week before the congress on “International collaborative research” by well-recognised research scientists outside the country with the scope of providing young scientists in Sri Lanka an insight into setting up international collaborative research.

(Dr. Weeraratne is a senior lecturer attached to the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, and the Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the RESCON 2023.)

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