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USP Student awarded Best Paper at International Meet

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Presentation of best paper award. From L-R, Professor Satish Chandra (Councillor South Pacific, ISTRC, Mr Mohammed Umar (President of the ISTRC-PB) and Mr Taniela Kepa Siose.

A Tuvaluan PhD student from The University of the South Pacific (USP) was awarded the Best Paper along with a complementary monetary prize at the First Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops – Pacific Branch (ISTRC-PB), held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji from 24-27 April 2018. 

The award is a reward for Taniela Kepa Siose’s collective assiduous work, his supervisors and colleagues at the Soil Science Department as well as the support from the SAFT Head of School.

Mr Siose presented three papers from his thesis:
1) Adaptability of improved sweet potato cultivars under contrasting soils and their response to NPK fertilisation in Samoa;
2) Effects of organic amendments on Sweet Potato yield on calcareous sandy soil of Samoa; and 3) Effects of inorganic and organic and their combination on yield and dry matter partition of Sweet Potato in Samoa.

Mr Siose, who has been studying under the USP-GA scholarship, currently has his thesis under evaluation and he is expected to graduate soon from USP’s Alafua Campus.

He wishes to encourage young researchers from regional institutions such as USP and government ministries to target relevant conferences for an opportunity to showcase their research.

He noted that a good experience is to meet up with experts in their fields at such occasions for instance, a student majoring in soil science was extremely delighted to have met and learned from Soil Scientists from the region including Dr. Siosiua Halavatau of the Pacific Community, Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi of the College of Micronesia and Dr. Sanjay Anand of USP during the Symposium.

It is hoped that the networks of regional experts will enable young enthusiastic researchers to grow. Mr Siose is grateful to USP’s School of Agriculture and Food Technology for financing his attendance.

Dr Rosiana Lagi, Tuvalu Campus Director said postgraduate pools in respective regional campuses like Tuvalu is expanding and opportunities such as this must always be tapped into.

She stated that as USP is being developed into a renowned research institution in the region, it is vital that students from regional campuses are provided funding and are encouraged to present their research in conferences of their area of expertise. 

This she noted, will encourage students to continue to research and publish their work and will further motivate other students to do the same.

“Furthermore, research students will be able to use their research skills to address issues in their country and consequently be inspired that they can contribute back to their country through research.  More importantly, the students will be able to grow in their area of expertise,” Dr. Lagi added.

The First Symposium of the ISTRC-PB was attended by learned participants representing the Cook Islands, Fiji, FSM, Samoa, USP (Alafua and Laucala), College of Micronesia and the Pacific Community.

Key themes of the Symposium were in root and tuber crops in the Pacific Island Countries, including aspects of; Agronomy, Production, Plant Protection, Value Chains, Food Technology, New Technologies, Marketing, Export, Economics and future challenges. 

This news item was published on 21 May 2018 11:27:23 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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