MNA Science & Technology Desk: Canada can strongly assist Bangladesh in innovating and developing technologies to enter the era of 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), said Robert Norris, Honorary Consul for Bangladesh in Saskatchewan Province in Canada.
“The North American country can provide Bangladesh with its state-of-the-art research facilities to innovate technologies especially in the areas of education, agriculture, health, energy and advance technology,” he said in an exclusive interview with the FE.
The Canada-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) arranged the interview at a city hotel on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Norris, who also served as a Member of Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly for nearly a decade, said strong coordination among the countries is needed to tackle the challenges of upcoming industrial revolution as no nation can do it alone due to the extent of technological changes ahead.
Quoting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said Bangladesh has set a vision to become one of early adopters of the technologies aligned with 4IR.
“It needs a generational jump to become one of the pioneers in technological innovations to cope with 4IR where Canada can be a strategic partner.”
The country has made a significant progress in many social and economic indicators in the past two decades strengthening its position in the global economy.
Referring to the long-standing bilateral relationship between the two countries, Mr Norris said Canada has research facilities equipped with the world’s latest technologies while the biggest asset of Bangladesh is its large population.
The country needs to focus more on expanding quality technical and vocational education and training cope with future technologies, he added.
Indicating to Bangladeshi nationals’ growing immigration to Canada, the honorary consul also said Bangladeshi scientists and graduate students can use the research facilities in Canada to innovate for own country and the world.
“There are some ten thousand Bangladeshis living in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan at this moment increasing from several hundred only a decade back,” he noted.
He said scientists and students can grasp the opportunity to study and research in Canada’s finest institutions like the Canadian Light Source (CLS).
“Bangladeshi scientists and researchers can take unique opportunity to cooperate more fully with CLS synchrotron at the University Saskatchewan, thereby being positioned strategically to lead the 4th industrial revolution in Bangladesh.”
CLS is Canada’s national synchrotron light source facility, located on the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
Serving CLS as the Senior Government Relations Officer, Mr Norris focused on advocacy, strategy and partnership development in Asia, the Middle East, the Americas as well as Canada.
Stating that Saskatchewan province holds 40 per cent of Canada’s arable lands, he said there are huge scopes for Bangladesh, being an agriculture dependent country, to collaborate with University of Saskatchewan for agro innovation.
Giving an example, he said researchers work on enhancing seed quality and developing drought-resistant crops for future food security at the CLS which matches the needs of Bangladesh.
To attract Bangladeshi agro-researchers and find out the fields of mutual cooperation, the Global Institute of Food Security – an organization supported by the University of Saskatchewan, and Nutrien, a global leader in fertilizer, in association with Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), and Ministry of Agriculture organised a workshop from February 6-10.
The workshop titled ‘Advance Knowledge and Technologies for Agricultural Research in Bangladesh’ aimed at developing programmes, activities, and implementing plans for both parties.
Apart from agriculture, Mr Norris also said, Bangladeshi researchers also have an ample opportunity to study on health, energy, environment, and advance materials.
When these students will return to Bangladesh, often with work experience, they will become valuable resources to deal with the future challenges, he added.