To build academic resilience and improve the completion rate for postgraduate research at The University of the South Pacific (USP), the Norway-Pacific Ocean-Climate Scholarship Programme (N-POC) Team developed and successfully implemented its first Research Support Week for 2024, covering a range of activities in the academic journey from admission to submission.
The purpose is to help N-POC’s second cohort of nine PhD candidates and other postgraduate research scholars at USP develop a greater sense of understanding and belonging to the Pacific region’s research context to build academic resilience.
It also reinforces the university’s aim to provide a supportive environment for postgraduate research, with the N-POC programme taking a leadership role. N-POC’s philosophy is that once a robust research foundation is established for Pacific students, the challenges they may face while undertaking their research will more easily be managed, with all N-POC scholars being academically and spiritually resilient to achieve their desired outcomes.
During January 17 – 19, 2024, research support activities were held at the Laucala campus in Suva, Fiji, to familiarise the new N-POC cohort with USP and to continue supporting other Master’s and PhD scholars at the university and the week involved academics, research professionals and speakers from across the institution.
Day one included a panel discussion on the ‘‘PhD Journey’’ with Ana Waqanokonoko (School of Law and Social Sciences -SoLaSS PhD candidate), Raynier Tutuo (School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education PhD candidate), Dr Tamara Osborne and Dr Rajesh Prasad from SAGEONS.
Day two began with a ‘‘Library Research Skills’ session by Vasiti Chambers (Laucala Central Library), followed by Professor Digby Race (School of Business and Management & Graduate School) discussing the ‘‘Research proposal: Purpose and Structure’’. The day concluded with a panel discussion on the ‘‘Research Proposal: Advice and Strategy’’ with Dr Margaret Mishra (SoLaSS) and Dr Awnesh Singh from the Pacific Centre for Environment & Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD).
Day three began with a Fijian traditional ‘‘Talanoa Research’’ with Professor Digby Race and the new N-POC cohort facilitated by Mr Joape Toganivalu to create a spiritually-based environment where participants were allowed to talanoa about research and cultural practices.
The first N-POC Cohort also had an opportunity to share their research experiences as represented by Peter Emberson (PhD in Pacific Studies), Laura Williams (PhD in Marine Science), Ulamila Vakaloloma (PhD in Marine Science), Fulori Nainoca Waqairagata (PhD in Marine Science), Silia Leger (PhD in Land Management), Viliami Vakapuna (PhD in Education) and Kiali Molu (PhD in Politics and International Affairs). The day wrapped up with a panel session with staff from USP’s Campus Life covering health (Veitacini Koro Sr Palu), counselling (Carlos Perera) and campus life in general (Rajiv Prasad).
The N-POC team expressed their gratitude to those who participated to ensure the completion of the Research Support Week 1, including relevant disciplines, schools, and departments of USP.