The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute's (CARIRI's) Industrial Materials Unit (IMU) – Civil held its first workshop for the year on Wednesday 24th January, 2018 at the Centre for Enterprise Development, Freeport. With over 40 attendees, the workshop delved into the dynamics of Construction Management and Planning.


The day started off with Quality in Construction and Material Specifications as the Deputy Laboratory Manager, Mrs Lisa Ramoutar spoke in depth about the importance of quality, materials and tests. Mrs Ramoutar supervises an experienced and knowledgeable team and together they wish to change the way we all think about materials and quality in construction. Additionally, she also went into the specification document as a guide in planning tools and resources for managing projects.


Mr Gerald Herriera, Senior Technician in the IMU – Civil Unit delved into Construction Methodologies – Defects as a result of poor quality of local construction practices. Mr Herreira, who has been with CARIRI for over 35 years, was able to share his knowledge and experience with the audience. He also spoke at length about the theory of aggregate and concrete sampling.


A Calibration perspective was also deemed to be of importance when speaking about Construction Management and Planning and Mr Miguel Andrews, Laboratory Manager of the Calibration and Maintenance Services Unit gave a very concise and different view on how significant this often overlooked service was to the industry.


Later in the day, participants took part in a practical demonstration and they were able to apply all the theory they had learned in the earlier sessions. After intense debate, discussions and sharing, attendees were able to learn about what others in their industry were doing and they left with a good understanding of how important it is to build quality into the process from the start of any project.


After being in this sector for a number of years and working with an assortment of companies, the IMU – Civil Unit of CARIRI has seen the need to further educate companies and individuals on the importance of quality in construction from the beginning of the project to the completion of the final structure. This remains one of the most important ways in which CARIRI is seeking to enhance industrial capability and competitiveness in the construction sector.


As a certified and accredited testing facility, it is vital that CARIRI take the lead in bringing these key quality issues to the forefront. With over 30 years of experience, the Civil Engineering Unit is the most advanced ISO-certified civil/construction engineering testing laboratory in the Caribbean. CARIRI's team of experienced professionals has provided testing and consultancy services to government ministries locally and within the region and to the construction, energy and light manufacturing sectors, among others.

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Mr Gerald Herreira having a discussion with a cross section of the audience.

For more information on Industrial Materials Unit, click here: IMU-Civil

On 1st December, 2017 The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago formalized a partnership agreement which cements the relationship between the two organizations. 

In 2014, CARIRI and Microsoft opened the 116th Microsoft Innovation Centre in the world at Innovation Avenue, Freeport and the signing of this new agreement will see the continuation of this collaboration.

Signing the agreement is the new Country Head of Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago, Ms Racquel Moses as well Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah.  Both parties expressed their delight at this development and expressed their commitment to working together on future projects. 

The Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) has been assisting developers, independent software vendors, entrepreneurs, researchers and students to develop and deploy innovative software solutions based on Microsoft technology. During the past three (3) years, over four hundred (400) persons have benefitted from a wide range of Information Communication Technology (ICT) training courses, workshops and competitions at the MIC, while several have taken part in the MIC Incubatee Program as well as individual ICT and business mentorship sessions. The services provided are designed to boost ICT development and foster the growth of a sustainable local software industry, through skills and professional training, industry partnerships and innovation.

Some of the stated objectives of the MIC are to focus on its Technical Incubator, which assists developers to achieve proof of concept; to have more training sessions, both developer-based and business-based and there is the intention to have more competitions to encourage the developer community to continue to expand. 

CARIRI is cognizant of the critical importance of  networks and networking in the Innovation process and is open to working with key stakeholders, such as Public sector organizations, Universities, Private sector companies/organizations, Research and Technology Organizations (local and foreign) and Regional and International Organizations, to advance the national Innovation agenda.

CARIRI and its Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), based in Freeport, are in a unique position to contribute to the overall development of the nation and are committed to ensure that the right partnerships are formed to further economic and social growth.

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Ms. Moses of Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago and Mr Shah of CARIRI 

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) recently hosted their first 3 day workshop on “Introduction to Animation” on Saturday 4th/11th/18th November at the Centre for Enterprise Development, Innovation Avenue, Freeport. The decision to host the introductory workshop was made after the overwhelming response from persons who wanted to come to our recently concluded Junior Adventure Technology Camp but were older than our age requirement of 13-18 years.

Animation is an exciting topic froth with career potential in Trinidad and Tobago. This is exemplified by the changing marketing needs of companies who are always pushing the envelope on innovative and creative designs. Gone are the days where traditional print media would suffice as everything is digitized in the internet era. Successful marketing techniques ten years ago must now be combined with digital marketing. This is due to changes in lifestyle and user preferences with increased use of the internet and social media. In 2006 if you asked anyone what this “#” symbol meant they would have responded with, “Oh, that’s a number sign for #2 pencils or the pound sign on telephones.” Fast forward to 2014 and “Hastag” and has been added to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary.

Digital Marketing is increasing and is evident based on budget allocations of companies. According to a benchmarking study done by ITSMA which is a leading source for insight community and B2B marketers in the connected economy, offline marketing decreased by 29% with participants anticipating an increase in their spending for online marketing by 18%.  

Important aspects of digital marketing include online video content, social media campaigns and mobile marketing. In terms of online video content, animation has proven to be an engaging instrument that can help companies tell their “Brands Story.” According to Molecular Biologist, John Medina, vision is our most dominant sense which takes up half of our brains resources and is processed 60,000 x faster than text. On average Facebook streams more than 4 billion video streams every day. Animated videos can put you ahead of the crowd as internet viewers have short attention spans and animation videos done right can evoke emotions that resonate with viewers. With the rise of intrusive marketing ads, animated videos are a breath of fresh air. If your company falls into a technical field, animation can simplify difficult topics but demonstrating how mechanisms and processes work through fun characters. Animations can also make you nostalgic which is a powerful emotion. Digital marketing provides an avenue for companies to use content in an effective way which can promote brand awareness and increase conversions.

For more information on our future workshops such as our Introduction to Animation feel free to contact our mCentre App Club which is an outreach programme to help build a developer community and increase awareness and competency in the Information Communication Technology field.Members of the public can join the App Club at no cost and will benefit from free information sessions like these as well as virtual support, if needed. CED and CARIRI are making leaps and bounds in driving innovation and creating a space for people with ideas to develop them.

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Introduction to Animation Workshop participants learning the basic of modeling and animation 

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Successful participants are all smiles with their certificate of completion

On November 30, 2017 CARIRI hosted a workshop, the Theme of which was “Practical Applications of Solar & Wind Energy in the Energy Efficiency Matrix”. This workshop was a follow up to an Energy Efficiency Stakeholder Forum held on July 20 2017. These initiatives form an integral part of CARIRI’s thrust to build capacity and provide services to the public and private sectors in the area of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The Workshop on Practical Applications of Solar & Wind Energy was well attended by both Public and Private Sector organizations, inclusive of Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Works and Transport, West Indian Tobacco Company Limited (WITCO), Caribbean Bottlers Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Shell Trinidad & Tobago, National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), National Energy Corporation, Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards and other Stakeholders from the Manufacturing and Petrochemical Sectors.

Feature presentations were made by Mr. Søren Draborg, Product Manager, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Danish Technological Institute (DTI); Dr. Indra Haracksingh, Lecturer in Environmental Physics, University of the West Indies; Ms. Anita M. Hankey, Team Leader, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Division, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries; Mr. Courtenay Mark, General Manager (Ag.), Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC); Mr. David Fojo, Green Architect, Fojo Design & Develop Ltd.

Given the inevitability of the progression towards adoption of Renewable Energy at a global level, CARIRI sees its role, as a focal point for Research, Technology and Innovation, as both contributing to laying the groundwork for the paradigm shift that must take place in the national psyche and supporting the private sector in its efforts to enhance operational efficiency, productivity and competitiveness by fostering more efficient use of energy or embracing renewable.

Going forward, CARIRI will be accelerating its efforts to build awareness and work with stakeholders in advancing the national Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy agenda.

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(L-R) Ms. Eka Rudder-Fairman, Programme Leader, Sustainable Energy, CARIRI; Mr. David Fojo, Green Achitect, Fojo Design & Develop Ltd; Dr. Indra Haracksingh, Lecturer, Environmental Physics, University of the West Indies, Mr. Anita Hankey, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Team Leader, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Mr. Courtenay Mark General Manager (Ag.), Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC); Mr. Søren Draborg, Product Manager, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Danish Technological Institute (DTI).