The National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) was established as a statutory body by Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Act No. 20 of 1984, now Chapter 39:58. Since its establishment, NIHERST has resourcefully pursued its mandate to promote the development of science, technology and higher education in Trinidad and Tobago, and enhance the innovative, creative and entrepreneurial capabilities of the general population. The fulfilment of this mandate has been guided both by changes in national development priorities and government's policy imperatives.
Through its line ministry, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST), NIHERST supports government's goal of attaining sustainable integral development and a more diversified, knowledge-intensive economy, built on the native genius of our people. Its work involves: research and intelligence gathering to shape science policy and guide the funding of research and development (R&D); promoting innovation and commercialisation of technology in priority areas; building collaborative global relationships; and fostering a culture of science, innovation and entrepreneurship.
NIHERST's 2011 - 2015 Strategic Plan identifies five areas of strategic focus based on the institute's mandate and its capabilities within the matrix of related institutions. The organisation seeks to leverage its distinctive competencies to become a pivotal, internationally recognised agency that facilitates the utilisation of research, science and technology in the service of economic transformation driven by innovation and competitiveness. It will play both a leadership role and a supporting role in advancing the MST's aims, and in conceptualising and driving new pathways and initiatives for public-private partnerships.
Research and Intelligence Gathering In Support of Economic Diversification
- To provide policy support to MST in developing a national science policy and action plan
- To undertake science, technology and innovation (STI) policy studies in the support of economic diversification- e.g. foresighting studies
- To undertake international benchmarking and comparative studies on Research & Development (R&D)/STI in selected countries, regions, sectors and areas
Promoting Innovation and Commercialisation of Technology in Priority Areas
- To establish a sustainable private-public sector mechanism to finance start-up enterprises in priority areas and niches identified in studies by NIHERST including its foresight 'best bets' and support R&D in identified niches and priority areas
Building Collaborative Global Relationships
- To build international relationships with world-class STI institutions
- To undertake joint projects of relevance to the rapid creation of a sustainable, knowledge-intensive economy
Fostering a Culture of Science, Innovation and Creativity
- To construct a world-class National Science Centre
- To engage all citizens in the experiential learning of science
- To provide hands-on experience for developing capabilities in technological innovation and entrepreneurship
- To recognise excellence in STI through national awards and publications
Positioning NIHERST as a World-Class STI Institute
- To restructure NIHERST
- To re-brand the organisation as a world-class STI institute
- To consolidate its offices