On Wednesday 3rd August, 2016, CARIRI and the Engineering Institute of The University of the West Indies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will see greater collaboration between the two institutions.  The general intent of both parties is to cooperate in the areas of Research, Development and Innovation (RDI), Entrepreneurship Development and Commercialisation. 

The primary focus of the MOU will be on collaboration in the areas of design, manufacture, calibration and marketing of electronic/precision engineered products/instruments and the establishment of joint training and entrepreneurship development initiatives. 

Signing the MOU on behalf of the Engineering Institute was the Manager, Professor Clement Imbert. Representing CARIRI was Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, Chief Executive Officer.  While acknowledging the new challenges that lay before their respective organizations, both men were looking forward to the collaborative efforts that will see real benefit accruing to the institutions and, by extension, Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region. 

Both CARIRI and the Engineering Institute have highly trained staff and modern, well equipped facilities which will see more ground breaking ideas and inventions coming to the forefront as the partnership takes effect.

CARIRI has established an Idea Advisory Service (IAS) over the last year, which is a free service offered to the general public. It provides an avenue for persons with innovative ideas to submit these ideas for screening, via a portal on the Institute's website, with a view to determining novelty and market validation, as well as proof of business. The IAS has been gaining traction over the last few months and the signing of this MOU with the Engineering Institute aligns with CARIRI’s ongoing, strategic thrust of facilitating Innovation, ie. Creativity Being Implemented, as a means of increasing substantively its contribution to economic diversification. 

For over 40 years, CARIRI’s modern laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment, together with its highly trained specialist professionals, technologists, technicians, consultants and researchers, have been helping local and Caribbean enterprises, encompassing large and MSMEs, to grow and develop while ensuring that the environment is adequately safeguarded.

CARIRI’s focus, as far as R&D is concerned, is primarily on applied research and, with the signing of this MOU, a new world of possibilities opens up to translate developmental work into commercial opportunities.  

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Signing of the MOU

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l-r: Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah and Manager of the Engineering Institute of the University of the West Indies, Professor Clement Imbert

On July 16th 2016, a diverse group of entrepreneurs and business start-ups completed the CARIRI Business Hatchery Programme. The graduates all agreed that the knowledge gained from the programme will enhance the viability of their respective businesses.  They also expressed that they had a clear vision of their next steps and how to move their businesses forward.

One graduate, Ms. Colleen Cameron who is the owner of Caribbean Concoctions described her journey from where she was, before she enrolled into the programme to where she is now:  “I ran a hectic, but not very profitable business.  I wanted to take my business to the next level.  Is this business really viable?  I signed up for the three (3) month programme and through its intensive market research fundamentals, mentorship and coaching I now have a clear vision to where and how to take my business forward.”  She also mentioned that her next step will be exploring exporting possibilities, new packaging and product development.

A number of graduates showed similar interest in the areas of: packaging, product development and getting into export markets.  CARIRI through its innovation have already designed a complementary programme: “The CARIRI Business Hatchery Food and Beverage Programme” to address these specific areas and it is currently scheduled to start as early as October 2016.

Present at the graduation was CARIRI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah. In his address he encouraged the graduates: “I would like to see each and every graduate continue their journey towards building better businesses. Aim for the stars and even if you did not achieve your goal on the first attempt, the true test is to pick up and try until you succeed.  Execution of business ideas and initiatives is a function of time and it is important as entrepreneurs to differentiate their products and services and through this innovation is how they will be able to impact the business world.  Service Quality is a key element in the formula for sustainability”.  Mr. Shah reminded graduates that the overall objective of the Centre of Enterprise Development (CED) is to create opportunities for Entrepreneurs.


First row – Ms Melissa Birbal, Business Development Officer, CARIRI;  Ms. Regina King, King’s Specialty; Ms. Maria Seecharan, Maria's Taste Delights; Mrs. Nigel Jordan, Twigs Naturals; Ms. Lisa Benjamin, Intervention Strategies.  Second row- Ms. Colleen Cameron, Caribbean Concoctions; Mr. Arnold Babwah, BH Programme Consultant; Mr. Ashley Mitchell Programme Consultant; Ms.Celise Patrick Alfred – TBA; Mr Liaquat Ali- Shah, Chief Executive Officer, CARIRI.

Congratulation to the graduates of Cycle 6 CARIRI’s Business Hatchery Programme!

Log on and learn more http://www.cedcariri.com/index.php/hatchery

On Thursday 7th July 2016, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) launched a new initiative, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Help Desk for Micro Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) called CARISupport. 

Born out of an InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) project that CARIRI has been executing for the past four years which involved MSMEs, CARIRI saw the need to provide a service such as this.  The overall objective of the IDB project was to improve the business performance and competitiveness of small businesses in the target sectors of Food and Beverage and Printing, Plastics and Packaging initially, and was later expanded to include virtually all sectors in the country.

After working with various MSMEs over the last few years, CARIRI recognized that there was a need to offer practical support and advice to these businesses, hence the creation of this Helpdesk.

CARIRI’s CARISupport is a one of a kind helpdesk meant to provide quality ICT support to MSMEs that do not have full access to an in-house team that is skilled or experienced in ICT.  ICT can be challenging for those who do not have that expertise or the time or finances to invest in this particular area.  This is where CARISupport sees itself making a difference by providing the necessary proficiency to support these MSMEs so that they can concentrate on growing their businesses by using technology. 

In a global economy, the only way to effectively compete is to use the technology that is available to extend your brand nationally, regionally and internationally.  CARIRI believes that the MSMEs in the country have a lot of potential to reach a larger audience with the proper use of ICT.     

CARISupport is an outsourced facility that will provide unlimited support with quarterly maintenance checks and on-call services for MSMEs that recognize the importance of staying up to date with the latest technologies or for those businesses that just need the support of experts but do not necessarily want to hire full time staff. 

An integral part of CARIRI’s mandate is to enhance business capability and competitiveness by providing a range of technical and technology-based support services to a number of organizations. 

CARISupport offers a flexible subscription to MSMEs, and some of the features include: ICT support (telesupport), callouts where the CARIRI staff would visit to determine the issue if it cannot be solved remotely and a live chat to help you with your issues. 

There are various packages that are being offered so that the MSME can pick the one that is most convenient and affordable to them. 

CARISupport is Your IT Solution Provider, contact us today at 299-0209 ext 2680 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and find out how we can help you grow your business with ICT. 


Date: Wednesday 1st June 2016

Venue: CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), Innovation Avenue, Freeport

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute’s (CARIRI’s) Air Quality Management Services (AQMS) unit in collaboration with the Ministry of Health recently hosted an information session entitled, “Let CARIRI help you clear the air” at CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development, Innovation Avenue, Freeport as part of their mandate to promote a safe and healthy working environment.  The launch was well attended by over 100 Health and Safety Professionals throughout the country as well as the Honourable Minister of Health, Mr. Terrence Deyalsingh who gave the feature address

In his speech, Mr. Deyalsingh educated the audience on the hazards of poor indoor air quality stating, “Our indoor environment can be 2-5 times more toxic than our outdoor environment based on everyday office items such as computers and copiers.” He also discussed a familiar term “Sick building syndrome” which the audience agreed is a big deterrent to productivity.

The Minister also highlighted the relationship between chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) and poor IAQ which poses health risks such as Stroke, Ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.  He emphasized the importance of information in the fight against poor air pollution and its health effect and the need for a multi sector approach. The Minister closed off his speech by stating “CARIRI is one of the best kept secrets in the nation with a prominent role in strengthening awareness and support in the fight against poor indoor air quality.”

CARIRI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah in his opening remarks welcomed everyone to CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development which he described as a national innovation hub and technology transfer centre which is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.  He went on to say, “We all need air to breathe therefore we are all affected by poor indoor air quality.” Mr. Shah stated that though indoor air quality in buildings was highly publicized in the media, individuals do not fully understand the effects air pollution can have on your health, work life and mental performance which in turn affects productivity.

He went on to describe CARIRI’s AQMS department as experts with extensive experience as evidenced by the completion of one thousand (1000) jobs with over 50 done regionally over a ten year period. He ended his speech with this profound statement on ascertaining the root cause of IAQ, “Better is not always about doing more, but identifying the risk.”

Participants also gained insights from CARIRI's expert team who are Council-Certified Environmental Consultants accredited by the American Council of Accredited Certification (ACAC) and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) which is the most prestigious certification specific to Indoor Air Quality.

Mrs. Tisha John, Environmental Specialist and Head of CARIRI’s Indoor Air Quality Department presented on some of the effects and causes of poor IAQ which she attributed to common indoor contaminants such as dust, fibreglass, indoor allergens such as dust mites from carpet and fabric furniture and even ozone from photocopiers. She went on to explain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which are a large group of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature. These are particularly dangerous as they are found in workplace cleansers, pesticides, disinfectants, glues and even paints.

Mrs. John advised the HR persons and also the HSE officers to keep an eye out for prevalent cases of skin rashes, dryness and irritation of eyes, nose, throat and skin, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea and sinus congestion as these are common symptoms of poor IAQ. She closed off her presentation summarizing some of the common causes of issues associated with poor IAQ which include improperly maintained HVAC’s, contamination by construction materials, continuous re-circulation of air inside buildings and lastly increases in the number of building occupants 

The next presenter, Mr. Tricia Singh, Laboratory Manager of CARIRI gave a riveting presentation on, “How mold can affect you.” She started the presentation with this interesting fact, “The human body can go approximately three weeks without food, one week without water but only 3 minutes without air!” She describes mold as the most misunderstood and controversial topic of all indoor air quality parameters which includes mold spores, bacteria, yeast and viruses.

Ms. Singh also went on to specify three main factors influencing growth of mold indoors which include:

  • The availability of a food source e.g. organic and cellulose based materials such as ceiling tiles, leather, fabric and even accumulation of dust and garbage from lack of proper housekeeping,
  • Temperature as mold grows optimally within the range of 10-40 oC since this coincides with the temperature of most indoor environments
  • Availability of moisture is the most critical factor. Sources of moisture include infiltration of moisture from outdoors such as roof leaks, flooding and win driven rain. Indoor sources such as leaking plumage and sewage spills can also contribute to moisture.

Ms. Singh closed off by saying air contamination is not the only cause for feelings of discomfort and illness and may be related to issues in the total indoor environment such as noise levels, thermal comfort (temperature, humidity and air movement), lighting and ergonomics which she explained CARIRI has the capability to test.

CARIRI’s capabilities were expounded by Mr. Rishi Shaffie, Environmental Technologist of CARIRI who describes the Air Quality Management Unit as a multi-disciplinary team with extensive experience and a wide range of skills to meet the needs of the Client. Some of the services offered by CARIRI in the area of Indoor Air Quality include but are not limited to:

  • IAQ Testing & assessments
  • Ventilation systems inspections
  • Microbial IAQ testing
  • Noise surveys
  • Occupational health risk assessment
  • Sick building syndrome surveys

Basically, the department can monitor for any occupational hygiene exposure (noise, heat stress, gases, particulates, vibration, lighting, and ergonomics) and compare results to international and local standards and guidelines.   

The session also included a riveting panel discussion which featured Mr. David Abdulah, Political Leader, Movement for Social Justice giving a union perspective, Mr. Terence Seemungal, President, Thoracic Society of Trinidad and Tobago giving a medical perspective and Mrs. Denise Ferguson, Human Resources Officer, CARIRI giving an HR perspective as it relates to issues of IAQ.

Mr. Abdulah made a suggestion that though the session undertaken by CARIRI was informative and a step in the right direction, more needs to be done through targeted information via various media specifically the air conditions firms and even insurance companies who he believed would benefit most.

Professor Seemungal answered several questions posed by audience members on occupational Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which are lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe. From his experience in Trinidad over the last 13 years he believes there is a rise in lung related disease and a few instances which could be linked to exposure from the workplace.

Mrs. Ferguson gave invaluable insights into how employees can make a difference by increasing communication between departments and documenting workplace illnesses in real time. This collection of data can then be analyzed by management to assess troubled areas within organizations and can also be used for trend analysis.

CARIRI and CED continues to remind the public about its diversity and innovation not only in scientific research but also entrepreneurial development for example the Business Hatchery program and the IAS (Idea Advisory Service) just to name a few. CARIRI is not only about general research rather it is about applied research.

For more information on our Indoor Air Quality Department you can contact them at:

Air Quality Management Services (AQMS)
Trincity West Industrial Estate,
Tel: (868) 285-5050 ext. 3300
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Before the programme, the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, toured the Centre for Enterprise Development alongside Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah, CEO, CARIRI and the media where he saw CARIRI’s Technology Bays in operations, Business Hatchery, Idea Advisory Service (IAS), Tekmania, 3D printing lab and Microsoft Innovation Centre.


The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health during his Feature Address


Side-shot of attendees at CARIRI’s Air Quality Session


CARIRI’s CEO Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah explaining the value added products of CARIRI’s technology bays to The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health


Our esteemed panelists from (L-R) are Mr. Terence Seemungal, President, Thoracic Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Denise Ferguson, Human Resources Officer, CARIRI and Mr. David Abdulah, Political Leader, Movement for Social Justice