The University of the South Pacific (USP) in collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia recently organised a three-day mini-induction workshop amongst the Higher Degree Research (HDR) scholars that are based at the Samoa campus.
USP Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia during the event stated that such an initiative presented real opportunities for these scholars to connect and stay abreast with some of the latest events, particularly those who are pursuing masters or PhD programmes.
He stated that one of the best things about forging a partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) has not only been the provision of support, but it also allowed scholars to finish their studies soon.
The ACIAR scholarship currently has three scholars at USP Samoa Campus, doing their research whilst the fourth scholar is expected to join the three-membered team soon.
The Vice-Chancellor indicated that the institution appointed a new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and one of the initiatives or programmes that is expected to be implemented this year is the establishment of a new Graduate School at USP which would benefit the students or scholars.
“We want you to see that this is not a lifetime exercise. When I first came to USP, they told me that the average time for PhD used to be 10 years and I wanted to emphasise that, knowing that knowledge-based research is a disciplined change. The data the school started 10 years ago is now completely different,” Professor Ahluwalia stressed.
USP’s Agriculture and Food Security Senior Lecture, Dr Md. Abdul Kader said that this has been a lifelong partnership with the supervisors and the students.
He added that a stringent and thorough process was followed to select the successful recipients.
“The scholars this year were selected through a rigorous selection process to lead the Pacific country agriculture sector. This scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship for us. The scholar who is selected allows the development of the sector. This created an opportunity for the scholars to develop their network which would be helpful in future,” Dr Kader stated.
Some of the topics of discussion included the introduction to the ACIAR PASS programme and scholarship, N-Vivo training, work placement programme, library session with USP Samoa Librarian, student’s role in the research team, monthly meetings and its importance, the Master’s and PhD research journey, the Post-Graduate Handbook 2023, HDR journey presentation and the financial documents presentation.
Two officers from the University of Sunshine Coast were present at the event, including Mr Josevata Cava from USP, Laucala Campus.