ACIAR Scholarship recipients’ joint induction at USP


Seven students from The University of the South Pacific (USP) and five from Fiji National University (FNU) were inducted last week as recipients of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Scholarship to boost relevant and timely research in Fiji and the Pacific.

The induction, held at the USP Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, was attended by ACIAR alumni, current student researchers and, new ACIAR scholarship recipients from Fiji and the Pacific, academics from other tertiary institutions around Fiji, and stakeholders.

FNU Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Professor Paul Iji, during his presentation, highlighted the institution’s focus on various fields of agriculture and emphasised the need for research in animal science, crop science, and fisheries, to name a few, since they joined ACIAR in 2020.

Professor Iji said, “Being part of the ACIAR family will boost FNU’s output in pursuing timely research in agriculture to fuel the future strategic development of the industry not only in Fiji but in the Pacific region.”

“We have broad research themes that cover food security and climate-resilient agriculture; livestock production and health in the area of sufficient and safe supply of animal protein; and fisheries and forestry by exploring the sustainable and broader exploitation of forest and water resources.”

The ACIAR recognises that Pacific Island Countries face research and adoption challenges related to the size of their country, institutional and other capacities, and remoteness from markets.

The ACIAR’s regional programme aims to improve the Pacific’s constituent project portfolio designed to address limiting factors with a strong emphasis on adoption pathways and research and development capacity building.

Welcoming all new scholarship recipients, USP’s Dean of the Graduate School Professor Digby Race reiterated the need for collaboration among students, alumni, and supervisors to ensure the successful and timely completion of studies under ACIAR.

Professor Race said as postgraduate researchers, each ACIAR scholarship recipient must manage their time wisely and take every initiative needed to seek assistance, guidance, and mentoring throughout their study.

“You must reach out to your colleagues, fellow alumni, lecturers, and the pool of researchers if you have any questions. Be engaged in your research community.”

The Dean for USP’s Graduate School also highlighted that “as researchers, you must take responsibility for your learning and organise meetings with your supervisors. Take advantage of this opportunity and be bold.”

As part of the induction of new postgraduate students from all universities across Fiji, current and former recipients of the ACIAR scholarship also shared their journey and advice with the new recipients on how to better navigate their way for the duration of their scholarship.

USP’s Director Research, Professor Sushil Kumar, also attended the event and provided some highlights of successful graduates whose studies were made possible through ACIAR and who are now contributing to the development of their countries across the region.

Meanwhile, USP is inviting all USP Higher Degree Research (HDR) scholars (Research Master’s & PhD) from all Schools to attend another induction session and learn about the University’s procedures and support that all research students need to know from the 6th to 8th March 2024, at the School of Accounting, Finance, and Economics Post Graduate Lecture Theatre.

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