The Family Farming, Lifestyle and Health Project (FALAH) workshop series officially began on Tuesday, 28 June at The University of the South Pacific (USP) Laucala Campus Suva, providing platforms for researchers from Europe, Australia and across the Pacific to discuss challenges faced by the Pacific region relating to climate change, food security, agriculture and health.
The FALAH project results from a strong collaboration between USP, the University of New Caledonia and co-chairs of the Pacific Islands University Research Network (PIURN).
USP is hosting the project’s first workshop, which was awarded 1.3 million euros by the European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 programme, highlighting the qualitative and competitive work of the Consortium led by the University of New Caledonia.
USP staff and students make up the largest number of teams within the project and have a leading role in contributing to the project’s success. The University has been co-chairing the network with the University of New Caledonia for several years.
When delivering his opening remarks, French Ambassador, H.E François Xavier Léger said the FALAH project is the result of a strong dynamic driven by the University of New Caledonia, leader of the project, with its 35 years of history, along with its Pacific partners.
He added that France was committed to strengthening research collaboration with the Pacific partners and creating steady linkages with research institutes and universities throughout the Pacific Region.
USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai said under the project, research collaboration has now become a reality for the Pacific region, with PIURN member universities within the region being actively engaged in the project, contributing to the project, with the support of the Pacific Funds.
FALAH brings together 14 institutions from Australia and Europe, allowing the exchange of knowledge, at the core of research cooperation.
He added that USP also valued the partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and welcomed the opportunity to involve USP’s PhD students in the project.
“This will be a great opportunity for them to create lasting links with researchers from the Pacific Region, Australia and Europe,” Professor Vanualailai said.