The University of Moratuwa (UoM) on December 22, 1978 under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and operates under the general direction and guidance of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Sri Lanka. However, its origin can be traced back to the Government Technical School (GTS) which was established in Maradana, Colombo 10 in 1893.
The GTS, was renamed as Ceylon Technical College (CTC) in 1906 and in January 1933, The CTC was authorized to prepare candidates for the external degrees in engineering of the University of London and for the Associate Membership Examinations of the three major professional institutions (Civil, Electrical and Mechanical) in England. A Junior Technical Officers (JTO) course was also inaugurated at the CTC in the late 1940’s.
Technical education at Katubedda commenced in 1960 when the technician courses at the CTC were transferred to a new establishment called the Institute of Practical Technology (IPT) constructed at the current premises of the university. It was a gift from the people of Canada and its primary aim was to provide full-time JTO courses for technicians of sub-professional grades. The Government of Ceylon (GoC) in 1961 realized that an effective system of specialized education and training, capable of supplying the country with necessary scientific and technical personnel, was a pre-requisite to achieve and sustain rapid development. The GoC, therefore, appointed a Commission of Inquiry on Technical Education. As engineering education at professional level was provided at that time exclusively by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ceylon, the Commission in its report of 1963 recommended the expansion of facilities at Katubedda to cater to professional engineering education.
The Ceylon College of Technology (CCT) was thus established at Katubedda in 1966 which offered practically oriented engineering diploma (Diploma in Technology, abbreviated to Dip. Tech.) equivalent to a degree. It was, developed and offered with technical assistance from UNESCO. The CCT commenced its diploma course with specializations in civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, initially utilizing the physical facilities available at the IPT. The IPT which continued to offer its full-time courses from the same premises was amalgamated with the CCT in 1967 and the JTO course was restructured and renamed as the Technician’s Course. At the beginning of the third year of the Dip.Tech. programme, the electrical engineering stream was bifurcated to electrical engineering and electronic and telecommunication engineering specializations. The Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering was thus formally established in 1969.
The CCT at Katubedda earned university status, as the Katubedda Campus of the then University of Ceylon on February 15, 1972. The Department of Architecture which was located in Colombo at that time was transferred to Katubedda with the formation of this new Campus. The campus at the beginning had only one faculty, i.e. Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. The first president of the campus, Dr. L.H. Sumanadasa, who steered the progress of the Institution, was in fact the principal of the IPT. With Ceylon becoming a republic on May 22, 1972, the corporate name of the university was changed to read as the University of Sri Lanka. Consequently, the Dip.Tech. programme was upgraded to a B.Sc. Engineering degree programme and all students from the first intake of Dip. Tech. became eligible for a degree. Further, the name of the Technicians Course was changed to read as the National Diploma in Technology (NDT).
With the gaining of university status, the technical education programmes conducted at the Katubedda Campus were expanded. The Department of Town & Country Planning was established within the Faculty of Engineering & Architecture in 1973. Furthermore, in 1974, with the formation of a link-programme between the University of Moratuwa and the University of Leeds in the UK, the School of Applied Science was instituted. Under this school, the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Mining & Minerals Engineering were established. In 1975, a Computer Centre with a modest computer IBM 1130 computer was established within the Department of Electrical Engineering to serve the entire university. With the development in engineering education at Katubedda, the first postgraduate programme was inaugurated at the Department of Civil Engineering in 1976.
- Mr. Sasiranga De Silva, a Lecturer of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, emerged the winner of Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge, in the Low Carbon Mobility category. His invention, a conversion kit that allows three wheelers to function with electric power made him a winner at this competition. Following this achievement, he has won a grant worth US$ 10,000 from UN Environment and will be eligible for training offered by international experts.
- Team SHARK of Department of Mechanical Engineering, participated in the 2018 Formula Student UK (FSUK) Competition from 11th -15th July 2018 at the Silverstone Racing Circuit, UK. They were able to place University of Moratuwa at 33rd in the overall ranking of the competition among 81 teams, surpassing some of the most technically advanced and reputed universities in the world.
- The team “cse_uom_grydtech” from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering was awarded the 1st place competing with 4000 participants around the world for their Dengue Prediction system they presented at “DrivenData”, an online data science competition hosted to provide solutions to social challenges around the world. The team consists of four final year undergraduates and won the challenge titled "DengAI: Predicting Disease Spread".
- Team Bathkoora from University of Moratuwa has secured 2nd place and was awarded with a cash prize of 1500 USD at the MathWorks Mini Drone Competition IROS 2018 held on 3rd and 4th October 2018 in Madrid, Spain as a part of IEEE/RSJ IROS 2018 conference.
- A final year student of B. Design in Fashion designing and product development, was announced as the Winner of the Circular Ocean Innovation Competition 2018 (over 25 age category) by the Centre for Sustainable Design of University for the Creative Arts, UK.
- A range of IoT products developed at the Dialog-University of Moratuwa Mobile Communications Lab won the coveted ‘Industrial IoT Initiative of the Year’ award at the 7th annual Global Telecoms Awards (GLOTEL Awards) held in London in November 2019. The winning entry is a result of a 4-way partnership between Dialog, the University of Moratuwa, Axiata Digital Labs (ADL) and Lanka Electricity Company (LECO).
- A group of undergraduates of the Department of Integrated Design (DID), Faculty of Architecture won the pavilion design competition of Creative Youth Program (CYP), Expo2020 Dubai. Upon winning the competition, the team got the opportunity to be involved in the execution phase of Sri Lanka Pavilion for Expo-2020 in Dubai until year 2020. This brought plenty of benefits to the country, including free of duty in fit-cost-construction of Sri Lankan Pavilion inclusive of all freight.
- Mr. Sasiranga De Silva, a Lecturer of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who has developed an affordable conversion kit to allow tuktuks to run on electric power has won a US$20,000 grant from UN Environment. As a winner of the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge in the Low Carbon Mobility Category, he will receive business and marketing training from global experts. The Asia-Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge aims to mobilize and support young people with business ideas on how to foster energy efficient, low-waste and low-carbon lifestyles.
- An MPhil student of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, has won three gold medals, one silver medal, and three special prizes at the International Invention Innovation Competition (iCAN 2019) in Canada. His inventions included a guiding device for blind people, a headlight dimming device for vehicles, an automated rail gate control system and a sewing machine monitoring system.
- Dr. Thilina Lalitharathne, Sanjaya Mallikarachchi and Dulith Chinthaka of Department of Mechanical Engineering won the First Prize at the Brain Computer Interface Hackathon held during the IEEE BIBE 2019, Athens, Greece for their “Brain Signalled Controlled Wearable Surgery Assistant Robot”.
- Team MORA Phoenix, a group of Mechanical Engineering undergraduates won the first place under the higher education category of ‘COVID19 Student Challenge’ organized by ‘EqualEngineers’ in partnership with IMechE,UK among over 100 unique entries across the world. Team MORA Phoenix has presented their idea for a lightweight, easy to manufacture vest integrated with a cooling system designed to keep healthcare workers comfortable in hot weather conditions while wearing hazmat suits and personal protective equipment.
- The team (Team SiRi) represented by the University of Moratuwa became the champions at the 2nd Regional Association of Energy and Power Universities (RAEP) Energy and Electricity Market Business Decision Simulation Competition 2020 organized by the Shanghai University of Electric Power (SUEP), Shanghai, China.
- The University of Moratuwa won the award for the Best Annual Reports and Accounts at the second Best Annual Report and Accounts Awards for the public sector, which was organized for the second consecutive year by the Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL) which is the public sector wing of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), for the year ended 31 December 2015. Several of Sri Lanka’s top public sector organisations including universities, ministries, and departments, among others were honoured for their high quality financial reporting at this competition.
- A group of students from the Department of Electrical Engineering won the second place at the “Maker Fair” Category at IEEE SS12 Age of Innovation - International Project Competition and Maker Fair 2018. The project was titled “Lecture Hall Assistant”, which consisted of an Automatic Volume Control System, Smart Lighting and Ventilation Control System and an Online File Server. “Maker Fair” Category of IEEE SS12 2018 is a celebration of innovators, makers, doers coming together to showcase their products to the local community. 35 finalist teams from 8 countries participated at the finals which was held at NSBM Green University on 8th and 9th September 2018.
- Dr.(Mrs) NMVK Liyanage, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Dr. Shantha Walpalage, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering, and Dr.(Mrs) MCW Somaratne, Senior Lecturer of the Institute of Technology, University of Moratuwa were honoured with Presidential Awards at the ceremony of “Presidential Awards 2018” held on 26th October at the BMICH. These awards were made in recognition of their invention titled “A method for Reinforcing Natural Rubber Latex Products by Incorporating Modified Silica Disperions” which won the first place in the field of Applied Science and Technology at an evaluation undertaken by the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission.
- Dr. (Mrs). Galhenage Asha Sewvandi, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, received the President’s Awards for Scientific Publications for highly-rated scientific research as evaluated by peers and published in year 2016. The recognized papers were published in the American Physical Society, Physical Review Applied 2016 Vol. 6, Art No. 24007 and Nature, Scientific Reports 2016, Vol. 6, Art No.30680. The ceremony was held on 19th December at Hotel Taj Samudra and the ceremony was graced by President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Science, Technology and Research.
- Prof. R.U. Halwatura, Professor of Department of Civil Engineering received the President’s Awards for Scientific Publications for highly-rated scientific research as evaluated by peers and published in year 2016. The ceremony was held on 19th November 2018 and was graced by President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Science, Technology and Research.
- The Sinhala-Tamil translation system “SiTa” was adjudged Winner in the e-Swabhimani 2018 Digital Social Impact Awards in the Government & Citizen Engagement category. The e-Swabhimani Awards are organized annually by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, and this year the event was held on 29th November at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. SiTa is intended to assist human translators in translating official government documents efficiently from Sinhala-to-Tamil and vice versa. The project has been a collaborative research and development activity by the Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) and the Centre for National Language Processing (NLP Centre) of the University of Moratuwa with the Department of Official Languages of the government of Sri Lanka.
- Prof. Sisil Kumarawadu has been awarded the Sri Lanka Education Leadership Award 2019 by the World Education Congress and CMO Asia with CMO Council as its strategic partner. The Award is presented to individuals and institutions who have become role models with their exemplary leadership. The Award is based on a researched process where a shortlist produced by a research cell is reviewed by a jury comprising eight senior professionals around the world.
- Prof. MTR Jayasinghe (Senior Professor), Prof. Mrs. C Jayasinghe (Senior Professor) and Dr. JCPH Gamage of Department of Civil Engineering (Senior Lecturer) became the Presidential Award Winners for Scientific publications in 2017 at the Presidential Awards for Scientific Publication ceremony held in August 2019.
- Professor Gihan Dias of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering was awarded the “ICT Lifetime Achiever Award” for the invaluable services rendered for the development of local ICT Industry. This recognition is awarded jointly by BCS Chartered Institute for IT and ICT Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka at the NBQSA Awards Ceremony on 11th of October 2019.
- Ms. Nadeeka Jayaweera, Lecturer (probationary) of the Department of Architecture, was awarded the President’s Award for Scientific Research in 2020. The award winning article “Local factors affecting the spatial diffusion of residential photovoltaic adoption” was published in the Energy Policy Journal in 2018 (Volume 119). The research study leading to the publication was funded by a short-term research grant from the Senate Research Committee of the University. The article was co-authored by the academics at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
- A “Vision-Based Adaptive Traffic Control System”, a final year project by Team AbruTech, won the Gold Award at the National Best Quality Software 2020 (National ICT) Awards. The competition was organized by the British Computer Society in the Tertiary Student Category and has been nominated for the APICTA (Asia Pacific) Awards to be held in Malaysia.