Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SPARC), Faculty of Arts, P.O. Box 1420, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka.
The Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SPARC) of the Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo, provides a focal point within the Sri Lankan University system to integrate research, teaching, training, policy analysis and advocacy on critical areas of social and economic development. The centre facilitates close collaboration between academics and institutions outside of the University system, including governmental as well as non-governmental agencies that are dealing with issues related to social policy.
The establishment of SPARC culminates through a process that was set in motion at the University of Colombo several years back with the launching of the “Improving Capacities for Poverty and Social Policy Research” (IMCAP) in late 2000; a staff and student development programme to strengthen skills of young academics from social science backgrounds on poverty and social policy analysis and research.
The programme has also implemented various research activities with active involvement of younger staff members from different departments within the Faculty of Arts. Significant studies have been undertaken on poverty, alienation of youth, urban housing, education, social and economic security and conflict impact assessment.
In view of these achievements IMCAP received the mandate to become a centre within the Faculty of Arts in order to perform its functions as an integral part of the University of Colombo. The centre builds on IMCAP’s achievements, but broadens its activities and contributions to the University.
- To facilitate and institutionalize independent research within Sri Lankan Universities on social development related issues.
- To facilitate interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue between scholars from different disciplines and backgrounds.
- To provide training and capacity building to improve the quality and relevance of social science education.
- To identify opportunities for social policy reforms in Sri Lanka
University of Colombo Team Members
Dr. Nishara Fernando
Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Director, Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SPARC), University of Colombo
Contact address: Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts,
Nishara Fernando is a Senior Lecturer (Grade-1) at the Department of Sociology of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is the Director of Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SPARC), Faculty of Arts University of Colombo and Postgraduate Programs Coordinator at the department. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology Special) degree from Colombo, University, Graduate Diploma in Sociology from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, MPhil in Sociology from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and PhD from University of Bonn, Germany. His PhD titled "Forced Relocation after the Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004: Case study of vulnerable populations in three relocation settlements in Galle, Sri Lanka was published by Institute for Human Security and Environment, United Nations University, Bonn, Germany in 2012.
Nishara's specialization lies in the fields of voluntary, involuntary relocation and reconstruction, applied research methods, urban livelihoods analysis, vulnerability assessments, natural hazards, vulnerable youth and institutionalized children in Sri Lanka. Moreover, he has broad work experience as a visiting lecturer for institutions such as the Kotalawala Defense University, the National Centre for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, (NCAS) National Science Foundation (NSF), Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI), Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS), Town and Country Planning Department, University of Moratuwa and Buddhist and Pali, University. His research experience includes various research projects conducted as a research associate or team leader for international (University of Bern, Heidelberg, UNU-EHS, University of Cologne, Bonn, and Institute for Education University of London etc.) national universities (University of Moratuwa) and organizations. Nishara is a member of Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science and holds a Diploma in German from Carl Deutchburg Centrum (CDC) Koln, Germany.