Paulwell launches Minister's Innovation Awards
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell today announced the reintroduction of The Minister's Innovation Awards, scheduled for November 8.
He said that the programme, which was first introduced in 2005, was primarily created to encourage innovation and development of prototypes for scientific and technical solutions to a variety of problems and improve productivity.
"For us to add value in all areas, whether we are providing goods, or providing services, the way to achieve that is through total preoccupation with science and technology, how to incorporate new systems to become more efficient," said Paulwell.
He was speaking at a press conference held at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) auditorium Thursday afternoon.
According to Paulwell, his ministry is concerned about the way students view the sciences, which he said are labelled as being hard.
He added that his ministry was seeking ways to get more young people to see the sciences, especially Mathematics, as subject areas they should study.
Paulwell also argued that too many students who studied the sciences at the tertiary level were unable to find a job because many companies are not interested in science and technology.
The implementation of the Innovation Awards will serve as a means to educate and encourage preoccupation with the concepts of research and technology, the minister contended.
"We have to get at the advanced stages, post graduate work, more publication, at our universities we have to get more research and development going...in all of what we're doing, we are looking at how we are going to create growth and jobs," he said.
The awards programme, he explained, would identify and reward outstanding innovative individuals and institutions.
The top prize is $2m for the Innovator-of-the-Year with additional prizes range from $1m to $750,000.
Innovators may enter by visiting the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining website, the Scientific Research Council's website or innovateja.com.
The competition opened September 6 and will close on October 19, followed by the award ceremony at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
The categories are; Health and Wellness, Creativity, Resource use efficiency, Resource/Knowledge Valorisation and an open category which includes all sectors.
Past winners of the Minister's Innovation Award include, The Mother's Power Patty; Telemedicine, which was developed by Winston and Sonia Davidson; an Automatic transfer switch by Rohan Taylor of the University of Technology and the Cardiac surgery simulator by Daniel Coore of the University of the West Indies.