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Research students ‘drive research activity’

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Professor Derrick Armstrong (middle) with research students and staff during the scholar’s evening.

Research students in any university are the engine of any research activity, said The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and International, Professor Derrick Armstrong.

He made the comment during the Research Office scholars evening organised by the Research office at the Laucala campus on 11 August, 2016.

According to Professor Armstrong, there are 348 students registered for Masters and PhD programmes this semester.

The Research Office currently sponsors 71 research students and this is 15 per cent of the Masters population and 28 per cent of the PhD population.

“Each year, we have more than a hundred applications coming in for the Graduate Assistant Scholarship programmes, and each year the competition gets tougher. You students are really the best and the brightest of the lot here at USP,” he told the research students who were present.

The Research Office, since its inception in 2009 has continued to improve the postgraduate structures and experiences at USP, he said.

“Late last year, we commenced work on postgraduate research policies and guidelines and this will come to a conclusion in September (when??). The policies and guidelines will ensure that all research students receive the administrative and academic support that is needed to see them to a successful completion,” Professor Armstrong said.

The office he said, has also been working towards moving all postgraduate research processes online via the development of the Postgraduate Research Portal [PGRP].

“The testing for which is ongoing and I am certain a few of you have already had the chance to test the system yourselves,” he noted.

The PGRP will:

1. Integrate, consolidate, streamline and standardise processes across the Faculties in relation to planning, supervision, assessment, etc. of research degree projects;
2. Introduce an early warning system around process constraints and bottlenecks, which will assist with monitoring, evaluation and reporting; and
3. Improve research degree project documentation, which will assist with understanding, planning and controlling behaviors and outcomes (both research students & supervisors).

During a question and answer session, some research students suggested for better lab facilities and an increase in allowance, among others.

All points raised by students were noted.

This news item was published on 12 Aug 2016 08:10:39 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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