The National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) is taking its innovation thrust into communities across Barbados.?? Director, Lennox Chandler, said the first part on this journey, will be to educate the public sector of its importance to the island???s future development.

He stressed that innovation must be embraced and made an appeal for the implementation of an integrated innovation system which is based on new attitudes and greater public/private sector collaboration.

Mr. Chandler made this assertion today, while addressing the launch of the Prime Minister???s Awards for Innovation and the National Innovation Competition at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He said: ???The Council recognises and understands the importance of having a culture of innovation established in order to build an innovative society. With this understanding, the NCST will embark on an awareness raising programme for its stakeholders.???

Mr. Chandler further explained: ???It must be also recognised that innovation cannot be separated from Science and Technology.?? Therefore, a fragmented support of Science and Technology will no longer suffice.???

While acknowledging that creativity can occur in any sphere of human activity, the NCST head pointed out: ???For innovation to flourish, we must put in place the requisite flexible financial tools, fiscal and tax incentives to encourage innovation. ??We must also train our human capital for the productive sector; provide continuing education for professionals … and strengthen the interaction between business and academia,??? he added.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, Mr. Chandler outlined a four-point plan to drive the productive sector forward.

The plan seeks to consolidate the various venture capital agencies into one body that would provide targeted support to small and large businesses; and offer tax credits to companies involved in research and the development of innovative projects for the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors.?? It will also implement policies aimed at a closer working relationship with commercial banks and the introduction of a two-year write-off for investments in new manufacturing, energy and environmental technologies.

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