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Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD)

The development of the higher education sector is of central importance to enable Sri Lanka to make the transition from a Lower-Middle Income Country (LMIC) to an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC). Recognizing this, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the World Bank have agreed to support the higher education sector through a Bank funded Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) operation.

The implementing agency is the Ministry of Higher Education and Culture Affairs (MHECA). The University Grants Commission (UGC) coordinates the activities of the universities. An Operations Monitoring and Support Team (OMST) coordinates and supports all AHEAD activities between the MHEH, UGC, and the universities.

AHEAD has three Results Areas:

Results Area 1: Increasing Enrollment in Priority Disciplines for Economic Development

Results Area 2: Improving the Quality of Higher Education

Results Area 3: Promoting Research, Development and Innovation

The objective of this results area is to increase enrollment in higher education programs of strategic importance for economic development. The expansion of enrollment in state Higher Education Institutions, will be focused mainly on the STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degree programs. The overall increase in enrollment will be promoted through a combination of demand- and supply-side initiatives.



This results area aims to improve the quality of degree programs. The objective of this results area is to develop universities that deliver degree programs that promote a combination of academic excellence with high-quality socio-emotional skills, so that students are well prepared for the world of work and for wider civic and social life.

The following strategic actions will be used to achieve this objective:

Enriching Learning, Teaching and Assessment (ELTA) and English Language Skills Enhancement (ELSE) grants. A system of competitive grants for ELTA-ELSE will be established to support innovative approaches for the combined development of academic excellence and socio-emotional skills.

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences has been won an Allocation of Rs. 120 Mn. award and recognized the following five activities as the most required activities to enhance academic and socio-emotional skills and English language skill of its undergraduates.

Activity 01: Integrating entrepreneurial skills development into the teaching and learning process

Activity 02: Enhancing training and research opportunities

Activity 03: Upgrading facilities for improving practical exposure

Activity 04: Improving English Language skills

Activity 05: Enhancing personal and professional development of students



Project Coordinator:

Prof. D.A.M. De Silva

Activity Coordinators:

Dr. T.S.P. Jayaweera

Dr. G.D.K. Kumara

Mr. Sivashankar Pathmanathan

Mr. Sudantha Senadeera



Project Name: Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) Value Creation In Higher Eduction

Amount of Allotted Funding: 120000000.00

Name of the Project Coordinator: Prof.D.A.M.De Silva

Name of Activity Coordinators:

Activity No 01:Prof.D.A.M.De Silva

Activity No 02:Dr.T.S.P.Jayaweera

Activity No 03:Dr.G.D.K.Kumara

Activity No 04:Mr.J.S.Senadeera

Activity No 05:Mr.P.Sivashankar

Name of Project Assistant: Ms.L.N.S.Silva

Postgraduate students and Researches are not funding under this Project.

Inventor-Investor linkage programme

Cargill's discussion

Tank  Preparation (Aqua Culture)



An Allocation of Rs. 20 Mn. award has been won by the Department of Agribusiness Management, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and has recognized the following five activities as the most required activities to enhance academic and socio-emotional skills and English language skill of its undergraduates.


Activity 1: Inculcating quality management principles for commercial level of Agri-Food Business creation

Activity 2: Strengthening the link between the industry and the Degree Programmes of B.Sc. in Food Business Management and B.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences and Management

Activity 3: Enriching teaching and learning through improved OBE & LCT methods

Activity 4: Improving analytical skills through students centered learning

Activity 5: English language skill enhancement



Project Coordinator:  

                 Dr. A. W. Wijeratne

Activity Coordinators:

                 Dr. S.H.P. Malkanthi

                 Ms. M.S. Elapata



Name of the project: Pathfinder of employability of graduates in Agri and Food business

Amount of allotted funding: Rs. 15,000,000.00

Team Leader/Project Coordinator: Dr. A. W. Wijeratne Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Agribusiness Management

Activity Coordinators: Dr. S.H.P. Malkanthi, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Agribusiness Management

                                      Ms. M. S. Elapata, Lecturer (Probationary) Dept. of Agribusiness Management


An Allocation of Rs. 15 Mn. award has been won by the Department of Export Agriculture. Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and has recognized the following five activities as the most required activities to enhance academic and socio-emotional skills and English language skill of its undergraduates.


Activity 1: Capacity enhancement of the staff and students in teaching, learning and assessments with special emphasis on outcome based education (OBE) and learner centered teaching (LCT)

Activity 2: Inculcation of research culture to the Department, strengthening and development of professional skills of both staff and students through collaboration with industries

Activity 3: Upgrading the existing farm to a model teaching and research farm

Activity 4: Plant germplasm conservation and establishment of a herbarium

Activity 5: Upgrading English language skills of undergraduates



Activity Team

Team Leader/ Project coordinator:

Dr. J B D A P Kumara, Lecturer, Department of Export Agriculture

Activity Coordinators:

1. Dr. J B D A P Kumara, Lecturer, Department of Export Agriculture

2. Prof. P.I. Yapa, Professor, Dept. of Export Agriculture

3. Mr. G A H Galahitigama, Lecturer (Probationary), Dept. of Export Agriculture



  • Goods purchasing is in progress to purchase 37 different good items for the Department under the five activities in the project
  • BOQ preparation process of refurbishment of an existing room to Gavel club office and Construction of a shed for Bio-fertilizer unit is in progress




An incredible amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) is produced in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world. Consequently, effective and sustainable waste management system should be adopted in order to minimize negative consequences of garbage accumulation. The Black Solider Fly (Diptera: Hermetia illucens), a harmless insect proven enormous bio waste degradable ability and animal feed in worldwide.

Project aims to ease commitments to establish cleaner environment under greener economies allowing BSFL to accelerate decomposing of organic wastes to solidify the sustainable integrated organic farming system in Sri Lanka. Further, the utilization of Black Solider Fly larvae system to produce low cost feed grade animal protein.

Five basic objectives of the project

1. Preparation of commercialized BSFL (Hermetia illucens) units from domestic model to mass production model

2. BSFL as a substitute to fishmeal for commercial broiler feed (Gallus domesticus domesticus)

3. BSFL as a feed ingredient for pond fish culture

4. BSFL as a manure management/resource recovery tool Integrated farming

5. Investigation of sociological impact of the research and cost benefit analysis


Outcomes of the Project

1. Commercialization of domestic waste compost bin as a mass production model

2. Production of high valued feed grade protein as the replacer of fish meal in broiler feed

3. Production of high valued feed grade protein as the replacer of fish meal in aqua feed

4. Production of organic fertilizer, slurry and liquid fertilizer and healthy organic farm

products at commercial level



Project Coordinator: Dr. Manjula P Sumith Magamage

Deputy Coordinators: Dr. A.W. Wijerathna

The Research Team: Prof. PI. Yapa, Dr. TSP Jayaweera, Dr. (Mrs.) HAD Ruwandeepika,

                                      Dr.M.A.J.P Munasinghe, Mr. G. Weerakkody, Dr. DD Wickramanayake

                                      Dr. R.K Muthukumarana, Dr. C.N Walpita, Ms M.D.J.W Wijesinghe,

                                      Mr. P.P.S.K Patabandi and Ms. R.N.N. Perera

Project Assistants: Ms. PK. Lakmini

Research Assistants:  Ms. E.W.D.M. Ellawidana and Mr. M.K.C Priyadarshana



BSFL larvae brooding and installation of feed processing unit and broiler unit (In progress)



Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinamomum Zylanicum (old botanical name)/ Cinamomum verum ) a plant indigenous to Sri Lanka is a moderately size bushy ever green tree. In traditional medicine Cinnamon is considered a remedy for respiratory, digestive and gynecological ailments (Ranasinghe et al. 2013). Sri Lanka is producing 70% of the global Pure Cinnamon production in the world being the largest producer. The Ceylon Cinnamon referred to as "sweet cinnamon “, “true cinnamon”, and “pure cinnamon" due to its superiority over the Cassia cinnamon variety in the global market (SLEDB 2018).Cinnamon grown and produced in Sri Lanka has acquired long standing reputation in the international market due to its unique, quality, color, flavor, and aroma associated with the geographical origin. In current global market, Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese cinnamon) is widely using over many products. However, Ceylon cinnamon has superior qualities to Cassia type. Limited efforts in value addition to Ceylon cinnamon cause to low level of income to the country and provide space to misuse the Ceylon cinnamon reputed brand name. Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) is a World Bank funded Sri Lankan government operation funded for the project “DEVELOPMENT OF NOVEL BEVERAGE TYPES WITH CEYLON CINNAMON, (Cinnamomum zelanicum) (STEM) (AHEAD/RIC No : 16) under RIC (Research Innovation and Commercialization) project (LKR 50 millions).


  • Promote the pure cinnamon value-added products in the global market and being competitive as the producer of pure cinnamon.
  • To innovate, improve, and expand Sri Lankan value added products in beverage industry with unique products as carbonated drinks, herbal teas, wine, and latte with Ceylon cinnamon.
  • Identify the most applicable extraction method of pure cinnamon in food/ beverage applications that gives its optimum functional values.
  • Develop a formula with healthy ingredients by appropriate combinations that gives a unique and satisfying flavors.
  • Manufacture the suggested products in a safe, healthy, and sustainable manner, after the research and development process.
  • Manufacture the products in an attractive and profitable way to approach high-end market.
  • Introduce the products to the local exporters in the beverage industry
  • Introduce the products to the high-end customer in foreign market starting from the East-Asian countries and expand to EU and USA markets.



Coordinator             - Prof. D.A.M De Silva

                                   Contact - +94718307499/

Deputy Coordinator -Dr. R. K. C. Jeewanthi

                                    Contact - +94774314067/

Quality Experts          -Dr. M.A.J.P Munasighe

                                     Contact -

Researcher                 - Ms. M.S Elapatha

                                     Contact - +94710818599/

Researcher                 - Ms. K. K. H. M. Rathnayake

                                     Contact - +94711538496/

Research Assistant   -Mr. W.M.T.B Weddagala

                                       Contact - +94713549462/

Research Assistant    - Mr. Janaranjana Ekanayaka

                                       Contact - +94712476733/

Postdoctoral fellow   -Yet to recruit



Laboratory installation (In Progress)

Cinnamon extraction production (Completed)

Sensory panel training (1st Stage Completed)

Product formula finalization (2 products in progress)

Patent & Copyright application (completed for 2 products)


1) Communications (abstract) submitted

Weddagala, W.M.T.B., De Silva, D.A.M., Jeewanthi, R,K, C., and Rajapaksha, R.H.N. (2019, September). Investigate the Product Harms Crisis in Ceylon Cinnamon. Paper submitted to Agri-food 2019 Conference

(Submitted) (Presented) (Won Best Presenter Award of the Conference)

2) Number of research publications submitted to peer reviewed internationally indexed journals

Achini M. De Silva, Rends Jeewanthi, Heshani Rajapaksha, Tharaka B. Weddagala, Naoki Hirotsu, Jagath Munasinghe, Bun-ichi Shimizu (2019). Clean Vs Dirty Labels: Transparency And Authenticity of the Labels of Ceylon Cinnamon. Sustainable Alternatives for Food Preservatives and Additives: Frontiers, (Submitted)

3) Number of research publications as books or monographs submitted to reputed international publishers

Jeewanthi,R.K.C, De Silva, D.A.M. & Weddagala, W.M.T.B. (2019), Value Creation and

Food Products of Cinnamon, (Chapter 15), Germany, Springer.

Participated in

Shilpa Sena EXhibition ශිල්පසේනා 2019

InnoTech 2020 - National Innovation and Technology Exhibition

Agriculture, Agrotechnology and food technology Invention-Investor Linking Programme



Contact us

Director OTS               Senior Prof. R.P. Mahaliyanaarachchi
Tel : +94(0)45 2280073
Project Coordinators 


Senior Prof. A.A.Y. Amarasinghe
Tel : +94(0) 45 2280046

 Prof. D.A.M. De Silva
Tel : +94(0) 45 2280073

Dr. A.W. Wijerathna
Tel : +94(0) 45 2280073