The University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) has been awarded the Food EDU Project through the American Heart Association (AHA).
The Award is for two years at a value of $197,780 (USD) and starts in January 2024.
The Food EDU Project was awarded to Dr Vincent Lal as the Principal Investigator from the Institute of Applied Sciences. Food EDU supports six fellows’ professional development through mentoring and research support.
AHA and The Rockefeller Foundation, USA, funded the establishment of one of the nine global Centre of Excellence (COE) of the Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) at IAS in August 2023.
The Fellowship project will focus on the biochemical diversity analysis of different varieties of indigenous and underutilised crops from the South Pacific.
The Fellowship will be awarded to researchers who have shown leadership, potential, experience, and commitment to contributing to the body of science knowledge in food composition analysis and biodiversity conservation. There is also a focus on indigenous and traditional foods, access and benefits sharing, and climate resilience.
Figure 1 Mr. Joape Ginigini, a natural products researcher for the Pacific Natural Products Research Centre at IAS who has been nominated for the fellowship position under the Food EDU Project
The IAS has nominated two of its staff for the fellowship positions: Mr Joape Ginigini, a natural products researcher with experience in access and benefit sharing issues in Fiji and Mr Jeremaia Koroijiuta, a Food Key Technical Person for accredited food chemical analyses.
The Award will support recipients in their research on the priority areas identified by IAS and AHA. These areas will include food composition analysis, access and benefit sharing, and community participatory mapping of food and climate resilience.
The fellows will also be supported by mentors who are experts in their field of study. Such capacity development is important in the Pacific Islands to strengthen research on traditional and underutilised foods from the region.
Figure 2 Mr. Jeremaia Koroijiuta, a Food Key Technical Person for accredited food chemical analyses at the IAS Laboratory has also been nominated for fellowship under the Food EDU Project
IAS Acting Director Dr Isoa Korovulvula expressed his appreciation towards the AHA for its recognition of the Institute’s research capabilities.
“I am anticipating the discovery of new findings in the Fellow’s research and their recommendations towards the policies on traditional and indigenous foods in the South Pacific,” he said. “It supports the Mission of the Institute, which is to empower resilient and sustainable Pacific communities through applied Sciences and innovation,” he added.