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ACIAR SCHOLARSHIPS FOR 2011

ACIAR – University of the South Pacific (USP) Scholarship scheme for agriculture (including horticulture), forestry and fisheries

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is an Australian government authority and forms part of Australia's international development cooperation program. ACIAR aims to enhance rural household incomes and broader economic growth by investing in international research partnerships that encourage agricultural development, sustainable use of natural resources and capacity building of benefit to partner countries and Australia.

The ACIAR Pacific Island Country strategy recognises the importance of the agricultural (including horticulture), fisheries, forestry and related sectors within these countries. It is committed to supporting research-and-development (R&D) and capacity building to address three main thrusts: improved food and nutritional security; integrated and sustainable management and development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry resources; and improved biosecurity and increased trade in agriculture, fisheries and forestry products. Important aspects of this strategy are the funding of collaborative R&D projects and a strong emphasis on capacity building for R&D within the region.

As part of this commitment to R&D capacity building, ACIAR, in partnership with USP, have established the ACIAR-USP Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme. In addition to funding collaborative R&D work, this Scheme provides the opportunity for partner country scientists associated with these ACIAR-supported projects to obtain postgraduate qualifications.

Under the newly expanded ACIAR-USP scholarship scheme, up to 16 additional awards will be provided for postgraduate diploma, Masters degree or PhD study at USP for the academic year beginning in January 2011, each with field research to be carried out in association with an active ACIAR project under way in the Pacific.

There are about 25 ACIAR projects active across the Pacific at any one time, so the ACIAR-USP scheme will provide a significant number of new opportunities for both students and staff to become involved in collaborative, problem-solving research. ACIAR and USP will use the scholarship scheme to build new linkages between USP final-year students, USP staff and researchers working with ACIAR projects in the region.

There are currently 13 students enrolled in the ACIAR-USP scholarship scheme.
ACIAR-USP Scholarship Conditions

  1. Students must be citizens of one of the ACIAR partner countries in the Pacific, namely Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu (and normally resident in that country).
  2. It is a requirement of the awards that the student spend a substantial period working on research linked directly to an ACIAR project (currently 13 weeks for a Diploma candidate, 22 weeks for a Masters candidate, and two years for a PhD). A short proposal for this work forms an important part of the scholarship application. The scholarship is provided continuously throughout the enrolment period, including the time of field work. In addition, a grant will be provided to cover necessary research and travel expenses for the student and his/her USP-based supervisor, based on a detailed proposal prepared by the student in consultation with his/her supervisors.
  3. ACIAR is usually only able to support full-time study and to support field work related to the project as a means of obtaining practical work experience.
  4. Scholarships are normally awarded on a 12-month basis for postgraduate diploma students, an 18-month basis for Masters students and at least 3 years for PhD student, though additional courses may be required by the University (and the scholarship extended accordingly) depending on the academic record of the applicant. Extensions to the scholarship period and total grant awarded will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, demonstrably beyond the control of the student.
  5. Awards are in line with conditions for the USP Graduate Assistantship program, which currently includes (per 12 months): tuition (paid directly to the University at the applicable rate), a living allowance (currently FJD 10560/year, 12000/year married), book allowance (FJD 750/year), medical insurance, establishment allowance (currently FJD 250); allowances for students based at the School of Agriculture at Alafua Campus, Samoa, are paid in local currency at the prevailing rate of exchange. Some expenses may also be covered for travel needed between a student’s country of origin and location of study.
  6. As Graduate Assistants of the University, scholarship holders are expected to contribute (without additional payment) up to eight hours of work per week to the department hosting their research, normally in areas relating to their field of study, providing them with useful experience of university activities.
  7. For students already in employment, a letter confirming release of the applicant, if successful, from their respective employers is required.
  8. A senior ACIAR staff member or representative will visit USP to work in collaboration with USP staff on student selection and project matching.
  9. Successful candidates will, in normal circumstances, be expected to take up their place in the semester immediately following the award of a scholarship.
  10. Students receiving a scholarship must provide a progress report to ACIAR, via their university supervisor, at the end of each semester and are expected to participate in various workshops and seminars intended to further the aims of the scholarship scheme. The award may be terminated and all allowances forfeited if the student fails to maintain adequate progress in academic courses or project research.

For further information about the ACIAR-USP Scholarship scheme and a list of current active ACIAR projects in the Pacific region (with contact persons for the development of research proposals), or to obtain an application form, please contact Mr. Pranesh Kishore, Graduate Assistant Officer, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji Islands (email: kishore_p@usp.ac.fj, Ph: (+679) 3232859).

For those not currently enrolled in a postgraduate program at USP, the scholarship application must be accompanied by an Application for Admission to the USP Postgraduate Program, with the required documentation. For those applicants who are currently enrolled in postgraduate studies at USP, their scholarship application must be accompanied by a copy of their academic transcript.

Completed applications should be sent in hard copy to Mr. Pranesh Kishore by registered mail or courier TO ARRIVE NOT LATER THAN 1st October 2010.


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