Meet Sri Lankan Researcher — Nimanie Sachithra Hapuarachchi

What are you currently working on or worked on before?

Currently working on horticultural science, where I am looking into improving fruit production through crop nutrition and pollination. I have worked before in the fields of Plant genetics and plant biotechnology.

I am currently working with the Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security, Griffith University, Australia.

You can find my publications here.

What encouraged you to pursue your research topic?

I was really curious about genetics/DNA and that is why I selected Biological science for my A/Ls. After being selected for specialisation in plant biotechnology during my undergrad, I wanted to become a researcher / academic in plant sciences.

Where do you find your best inspiration for your work?

Seeing other researchers and academics working towards groundbreaking results that benefit the world.

What lessons would you share with a budding researcher?

Follow your passion, don’t get distracted from what others say and do. It might be the most unconventional or the most difficult thing to do but just believe in yourself. You will come to a point where you can look back and be happy about the decision you took.

What motivated you to be a researcher?

I loved working in the lab and doing experiments. It really made me happy to see the results from all the lab experiments. That is why I wanted to become a researcher, to find solutions by experimenting.

According to your opinion, what are the changes that the Sri Lankan education system needs to do, in order to meet the requirement of the international industry and academia?

The education system should be diverse and flexible enough so that students with different talents and passions can build up their careers. Students should be aware that there are other careers other than being a doctor, engineer, lawyer, etc. Therefore from middle school, they should be exposed to these different areas through the curriculum they follow.

Students should be given opportunities to try out different career pathways that exist within the country and internationally. Also, I think the time between A/L results and university entrance should be reduced to at least 3–6 months. Because our students waste a lot of time waiting for university and by the time they graduate, they have wasted the best period of their youth.

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We empower students, education institutes and education as a whole in Sri Lanka.