IFS, the global enterprise software company, recently celebrated two decades of pioneering partnerships with the nation’s leading universities. Since the establishment of IFS’ product R&D center in Sri Lanka in November 1997, IFS has grown to become one of the leading software development companies in the country and an integral part of IFS’ global operations. Today IFS employs over 1000 staff in Sri Lanka working with product research and development, sales, implementation, consulting and support.
Throughout two decades IFS has contributed over Rs. 500 million towardsUniversity centered activities in Sri Lanka, playing an integral role in providing work-integrated learning opportunities, teaching and curriculum enrichment, mentoring programmes, soft-skills development, and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship aimed at fostering research and developing industry-ready graduates and future leaders.
Commemorating this milestone, over 15 state and private universities were felicitated with awards of appreciation for their role in contributing towards strengthening links between industry and higher education.
Commenting on the industry-university collaboration, Alastair Sorbie, CEO IFS said, “Building partnerships with universities goes a long way toward furthering pure and applied research and building a vibrant industry-ready talent pool. At IFS we have chosen to focus our CSR efforts on the area of education because it’s an area that IFS, as a knowledge-based company, understands well. We believe together with universities we can inspire creative thinking and spearhead innovation that benefits both industry and the nation”.
Reaffirming the company’s commitment and the need for strategic partnerships that go beyond traditional funding, Ranil Rajapakse, Senior Vice President and Head of IFS World Operations, Sri Lanka said, “IFS, with its two decades of experience has created a robust and sustainable platform for industry-university collaboration. Having long-term industry-university collaboration that produces top talent and drives innovation is essential for the country and a game changer for a knowledge-based economic future that is imperative for propelling growth and technological advancement in countries such as Sri Lanka.”
A host of dignitaries including senior officials of the University Grants Commission, vice chancellors, deans of faculties, heads of department, academic staff, senior management of IFS and members of the media graced the occasion.
During the event, IFSalso signed a milestone agreement with the University of Moratuwa towards the establishment of the ‘IFS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubator’ located at the university premises.Towards strengthening the research capacities at the University of Moratuwa and fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the company has already established an ‘IFS Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ at the University.
“The University is rapidly becoming known for its forward-thinking and innovative outlook attracting the best minds and creating a strong innovation and entrepreneurial culture. The launch of the incubator is a further step in providing many new opportunities to our students and faculty,” noted Prof. Ananda Jayawardane, Vice Chancellor, University of Moratuwa.
Empowering students to pursue their passion for information technology, 20 scholarships were also awarded to students of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), at the event.
Accepting the scholarship award, CEO/Vice Chancellor of SLIIT, Professor Lalith Gamage said,“IFS has created an innovative work-integrated education model that enables aspiring students to earn their degree on a full scholarship while working. We are appreciative of IFS’ continuous support and ongoing efforts to provide our students with outstanding opportunities to develop skills, enhance learning and excel in the competitive workplace.”
IFS has an extended history of fruitful collaboration with universities dating back to the inception of the company in Sri Lanka. Through its university collaborations, IFS has over the years become a conduit for enriching the career paths of students and recruiting top talent. Since 1997, IFShas recruited over 1600 students from state and private universities across the country.
In its ongoing pursuit to promote education and to recruit and train the next generation of software engineers, IFS has over the years bestowed 150 full-tuition scholarships for students to follow a related degree while working at IFS.
Additionally, annually over 100 financial assistance scholarships have been distributed to needy students since 2012.
As part of IFS’s internship and mentoring programme, over 600 students have gained hands-on experience since its inception.
To assist the teaching and learning of ICT, IFS has donated three fully equipped computer laboratories to the Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Peradeniya.
Helping to mentor and improve the knowledge base of future graduates IFS staff are also encouraged to engage in teaching assignments. IFS staff routinely deliver lectures at the Colombo, Peradeniya, Kelaniya Universities and at SLIIT. Additionally, they assist in curriculum review.
IFS also facilitates industry visits from universities across the country helping students gain insight into their work and to receive vital industry exposure.
Helping in strategy and partnerships, senior IFS staff serve on University Boards including those of the Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Kelaniya.
Promoting further collaboration within the industry, IFS also regularly sponsors university events including research symposiums, hackathons etc. Top achievers from universities are also recognised for their accomplishments through IFS sponsored awards and gold medals.