USP Lecturer Dr Krishna Kotra and Dr Brett Lyons of Cefas exchange the MOU documents during the signing.
South Pacific and United Kingdom (UK) marine science collaboration has been further strengthened with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UK Government’s Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) at the University’s Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu on 24 August 2016.
The agreement will explore a range of different partnership opportunities in the field of marine science.
Vanuatu Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary, Honourable Silas Bule Melve who was the Chief Guest at the occasion, stressed the need to know the environmental impacts of Vanuatu in a scientific way and safeguard it for future generations.
Dr Brett Lyons from Cefas team said that the MOU will formalise the excellent working relation between Cefas and USP that have been developed under the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme.
“One of the key goals of this programme is to develop capacity within Small Island States. By working closely with the University we can identify development opportunities for students,” Dr Lyons said.
This, he added, includes designing projects that will allow them to gain the specific skills and expertise required as they transition into the various Government Ministries and Departments involved in maritime policy and regulation.
“Cefas is building a collaborative network of research partners across the South Pacific in order to develop and deliver a series of programmes based around sustainable use of marine environment,” he further mentioned.
Lead Water Quality Scientist at Cefas, Dr Michelle Devlin said that the MOU gives Cefas access to laboratory facilities and a pool of local research scientists, which is a great aid when delivering science on the other side of the world.
“This also allows scientists from both USP and Cefas to explore joint funding opportunities in areas that will mutually benefit both parties,” Dr Michelle said.
While signing the MOU, USP Lecturer in Chemistry Dr Krishna Kotra said the MOU will help in fulfilling one of the University’s goals, which is the expansion of science courses across its regional campuses.
This MOU, he said opens the door for closer working ties between the two institutes.
“Most importantly it provides USP students the exposure to world class science research being conducted in the South Pacific. This will form a valuable addition to the academic services we offer and will help us equip the students with the tools they need as they move into diverse roles across the Pacific managing ocean policy and governance,” Dr Kotra said.
“The participation of the students in research oriented projects provides them hands on training and would strengthen their abilities and zeal to pursue higher education in the science stream.”
Dr Kotra added that the MOU will enable Emalus Campus staff and students to have many opportunities, especially in the science area.
“Students and staff can become part of the Cefas projects on environmental impacts in Vanuatu and other Pacific countries. Emalus Campus can also render help in making its science lab available for more extensive research oriented works and new advanced instruments shall be procured for the research analysis,” he added.
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