The knowledge and capability of students will be further enhanced after the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) included the climate change resilience component in the Pacific Agriculture Scholarships, Support and Climate Resilience programme (PASS-CR).
The new component will ensure a comprehensive academic and research programme on tackling climate change and food systems for the Pacific region.
The new climate resilience component of the PASS-CR programme, managed by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and the Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research, provides scholarships for postgraduate research and support for academics at the Fiji National University (FNU), and The University of the South Pacific (USP).
The PASS-CR programme currently assists 18 students from USP.
“This inclusion of the climate change aspect is timely as this will help address impacts of climate change on the sustainability of the agricultural sector in the region,” said USP’s Director of Research, Professor Sushil Kumar.
“Students have highly sought the scholarship for the benefits it offers and for the specific programmes the scholarship covers that address the Pacific region’s needs and dynamics.”
A team including ACIAR’s Capacity Building Officer for the Pacific, Ms Joy Hardman, PASS-CR Programme Coordinator, Dr Linda Wess and Communications Director for the PASS-CR Programme, Ms Tash Turgoose, who visited the USP Laucala Campus to engage with scholarship recipients, were impressed with the progress made by the students in their studies and the support from the Research Office and the School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS).
Ms Hardman said she was pleased to learn that students would now be able to contribute locally and regionally through their studies.
Solomon Islands student, studying for a Master of Science, Sabrina Pania said the scholarship enabled her to continue her education in marine science and contribute to her community.
She added the project component of her studies by ACIAR provided her with industry knowledge, which was a plus.
Fijian student, Aleksio Rabaka who is currently pursuing a Master’s in environmental science, was grateful for the support of the PASS-CR programme enabling him to focus on his academic research rather than the financial obligation towards his tuition fees.
ACIAR recognises that Pacific Island Countries face research and adoption challenges related to the size of their country, institutional and other capacities, and remoteness from markets. To address this, ACIAR’s regional programme and the constituent project portfolio are designed to address these limiting factors, including a strong emphasis on adoption pathways and research and development capacity building.
It aims to enhance rural household incomes and broader economic growth by investing in international research partnerships (through its scholarship schemes) encouraging agricultural development, sustainable use of natural resources, and capacity building benefitting ACIAR’s partner countries.
The ACIAR is an Australian Government agency, which is part of Australia’s official Overseas Development Assistance.