The Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognises the strategic role of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in achieving sustainable development. In economic terms this is seen as creating a diversified knowledge-based economy that thrives on the creativity of its citizens, their innovativeness, their productivity and global competitiveness. Such an economy relies on an innovative, well-educated and technically-trained workforce which makes human resource development as one of the country's top priorities. In preparing the country's workforce to meet the new challenges ahead, it is essential to immerse citizens more fully and actively in science education and to expand the country's human resource base in STI. The on-going production of knowledge, its commercialisation and widespread dissemination are also necessary for achieving economic development and improvements in the quality of life of all citizens without harm to our natural environment.
To assist in the realisation of government's developmental objectives, NIHERST has been given a mandate in Science Popularisation & Promotion. The overarching goal of our science popularisation initiative is to be the advocate for a society that recognises and embraces the fact that Science & Technology impacts upon and is a part of their everyday existence, and is empowered by this knowledge to effect improvements in their quality of life.
Under this mandate, NIHERST is spearheading with the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology the construction of a Science City at Indian Trail in Couva. It will provide cutting-edge facilities for nurturing a national ethos for STI and developing future generations of scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians. NIHERST currently operates with the support of the National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago (NGC).
NIHERST has also established the National Science Centre which is responsible for planning and executing programmes in science popularisation in order to improve citizens' understanding of and engagement in science, to develop their innovative capacity, to encourage students in their pursuit of science studies and careers, and to nurture a national science ethos. The centre houses 200 plus interactive science exhibits for viewing by members of the public. It also has an extensive outreach programmes for promoting scientific and technological concepts using a range of non-traditional teaching methods.
NIHERST also manages the Prime Minister's Awards For Scientific Ingenuity. This biennial awards scheme seeks to encourage creativity among our citizens in the area of Science & Technology. Camps and workshops on innovation, invention and technopreneurship are also conducted for students and teachers as part of NIHERST's outreach programme.
The Science Communication Unit is responsible for the production of multi-media resources to educate the public on Science , Technology and Innovation. The unit also conducts other initiatives such as workshops for science communicators, among other relevant mechanisms for promoting S&T appreciation, literacy and a national culture supportive of STI.
This section of NIHERST's web site presents information on NIHERST's activities in these areas and more importantly provides resources for teachers and activities and information for students and members of the public.