Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Welcome Remarks by Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council Mr Winston Thompson at the opening of the USP Research Week by Prime Minister of Samoa and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum

  • Honourable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum;
  • Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat;
  • His Excellency Ratu Tui Cavuilati, Fiji’s Roving Ambassador for the Pacific;
  • Honourable Ministers and Permanent Secretaries;
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
  • Heads of Regional and International Organisations;
  • Members of the Private Sector, NGOs and Media organisations;
  • Senior Management, staff and students of the University;
  • Media representatives;
  • Ladies and gentlemen;

A very good afternoon to you all.

On behalf of The University of the South Pacific (USP), I am privileged and deeply honoured to welcome Honourable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum to the Laucala Campus.

It is indeed an honor for the University to host you, especially as this is USP’s 50th Anniversary year and having you visit the University’s Laucala Campus has made this year even more special for us as a regional University of higher education, research and regional integration.

Honourable Prime Minister Sir, your commitment to education and particularly towards USP is clearly reflected in your various engagements with the University.

A special welcome also to the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor. I also wish to welcome all our invited guests, dignitaries; members of the public and the media; staff and students.

Importance of Research at USP

The essence of any university is the creation and dissemination of new knowledge via research. Indeed, education can lose justification at the tertiary level if research performance is not up to par. And, research, previously an activity that came to the university as a means of assuring quality in education, is now for many institutions, an important source of status and income.

Most of the research carried out at USP is focused on the priorities of its Member Countries and is organised into one or more of the University’s seven Strategic Research Themes. Interdisciplinary research is highly valued at the University, which requires that staff focus on key areas of opportunity and challenge for the Pacific and its people. Postgraduate research is also promoted, with Masters and PhD scholarships given to promising students. Most research is also carried out in conjunction with the communities in order to incorporate cultural knowledge.

A key member of the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN), USP has been an active researcher in areas such as Education in the Pacific, Renewable Energy, and Regional Economics to name a few. USP also houses the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) which focuses its work on research into environment trends, the assessment of the impacts of Climate Change, and the recommendation of appropriate responses to environmental concerns.

The Pacific is indeed one of the best places in the world to study Marine Science and research issues such as Climate Change. USP has produced cutting-edge research in areas such as Coastal Protection, Biodiversity, Gender Gaps in Learning, and challenges in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Innovation is also strongly promoted and encouraged at USP. Innovation is focused on producing immediate solutions and outcomes for Member Countries and communities through the use of local resources and traditional knowledge in combination with advanced skills and high tech tools to create new knowledge, approaches, and devices. USP staff and students have secured patents for the following inventions that will improve lives in the Pacific Islands. Some of these include: a Mobile Cane for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a Braille Slate to teach children with visual disabilities, a Portable Wave-Solar Harvesting Device, an Aromatic Network for Power Distribution System, and the GSM-based Early Flood Warning and Monitoring System. All these innovations are of direct benefit to the region and its people, which is the premise of the vision of the Research Office.

USP Research Week

Ladies and gentlemen, this week is dedicated towards not only celebrating USP’s past achievements but also to commit USP’s aspirations in research and innovation.

I hope discussions and presentations this week will increase the University’s capacity in ably coming up with innovative research ideas to meet the region’s development needs while at the same time training our future researchers in the region.

I once again, extend my warmest welcome to the Honourable Prime Minister and all dignitaries present here today for the opening of this very important week.

Vinaka and Thank you.

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