The Norway-Pacific Ocean-Climate Scholarship Programme (N-POC) is now open for applications for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme at the University of the South Pacific (USP) for the academic year 2023 under the bi-institutional PhD degree agreement between USP and the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway. Potential candidates are invited to submit their applications by 1 May 2023.

N-POC Programme

N-POC is an ambitious PhD training programme and research partnership between the UiB and USP funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) for a joint PhD education by both collaborating universities. N-POC offers full 3-year PhD scholarship opportunities to students from all member countries of the USP, as well as Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and Papua New Guinea.

The main objectives of N-POC are threefold:

  1. To build a strong interdisciplinary Pacific cohort of PhD researchers to address urgent challenges for ocean and climate;
  2. To build new multidisciplinary Pacific research on the ocean-climate nexus for regional and global policy impact;
  3. To build enduring partnerships between researchers and universities in Norway and the Pacific Islands.

N-POC Multi-disciplinary Research Clusters

The following indicative, multi-disciplinary research clusters or themes from the N-POC grant documents  provide the initial foundation for N-POC’s scope of research. These clusters represent but a fraction of possible research topics readily at hand for the ocean-climate nexus in the Pacific. They are aligned with the USP Strategic Plan, 2022 – 2024 and they build on strong research records at both UiB and the USP which represent significant knowledge gaps of high urgency.

In this Second Call for Applications, we are interested in receiving more research proposals on ocean-climate nexus from any disciplinaliry or multi-discipinary topic related to cluster 1, 3, 4 and 5. You will find descriptions of each cluster on the UiB N-POC website.

Cluster 1: Stewardship and Governance of the Ocean-Climate Nexus

Cluster 2: Securing Healthy Ocean, Islands, and Coasts

Cluster 3: Water and Food Security for Pacific Islands

Cluster 4: Envisioning a Sustainable Blue Pacific 2050 and Beyond

Cluster 5: Addressing the Challenges of Global Warming and Sea Level Rise, and Natural Hazards

Cluster 6: Pacific Cultural heritage and the Ocean-Climate Nexus

N-POC is firmly rooted in a principle of equity and intends to promote and safeguard equal opportunity and inclusion for all applicants in the programme with particular attention to gender and marginalised groups.

For more information on the N-POC programme and research clusters, see the N-POC website and factsheet.

N-POC Eligible Countries

In this Second Call for Applications, a special consideration is to be given to applicants from Cook Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau and Vanuatu. In addition, potential candidates from Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalue are welcome to apply but may not have first priority in this round.

You can apply for an N-POC PhD scholarship if you are a citizen of one of the following countries:

  • Cook Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

N-POC Eligibility Criteria

Students admitted into N-POC will also be admitted into the PhD programme at UiB, culminating at completion in a joint PhD degree from both universities. To apply for an N-POC PhD scholarship, the candidate must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must have lived in your home country for at least 2 years
  • You must be 45 years or younger but flexibilities can be considered under exceptional cases
  • You are required to hold a Master`s degree by research. Any person who has been awarded a First Class Honours from a Senate-recognised university may also be eligible for an N-POC scholarship
  • Candidates must fulfill the criteria for admission to the joint PhD education, registration, training and examination at both universities and should undertake joint research projects with supervisors from both universities.

N-POC Scholarships Coverage

The benefits that a successful PhD candidate gets with the N-POC scholarship include:

  • Annual tuition fees
  • Annual book allowance
  • Annual general service fees
  • Annual health service fees
  • Annual living allowance of FJD 24,000
  • Establishment allowance of FJD 1,942. Click here for the establishment allowance criteria
  • Annual dependency allowance will be provided to eligible candidates. Click here for dependency allowance criteria
  • Research grant of FJD 30,000 maximum
  • Travel grants shall be provided if the candidate requires to travel to another USP campus to take up the offer

Students will be offered a research and coursework stay at the UiB for which travel and living costs will be fully funded by N-POC, in addition to the items listed above.

N-POC Scholarship Conditions

  • All N-POC PhD scholarships require 3 years full-time enrollment, from starting date to the date when the candidate submits her/his thesis
  • Candidates are not permitted to be in paid employment during the tenure of the scholarship
  • The N-POC programme requires candidates with completed PhDs to seek and apply for relevant jobs nationally and/or regionally

N-POC Scholarships Application Submission

  1. The application must contain the following:
    1. N-POC 2023 Scholarship Application Form
    2. N-POC 2023 Scholarship Application Checklist
    3. N-POC 2023 proposed research overview and progress plan. The research overview can focus on one or several of the stated N-POC research clusters/themes. N-POC does not require a full research proposal during the application process but a clear overview of the nature of your intended study. Use the template available here.
    4. Cover letter or letter of application
    5. Curriculum vitae with name and contact details of three referees
    6. References from 2 referees who can comment and evaluate your research potential. Your referees must complete and submit their reports themselves to n-poc@usp.ac.fj by the application deadline. N-POC prefers at least one of your referees to have successfully supervised research students in the past. One of your referees can be a potential supervisor at USP. Visit this link to find a supervisor.
    7. Certified true copies of relevant transcripts and certificates
    8. Proof of citizenship
  2. Applications must be submitted in PDF form via email to n-poc@usp.ac.fj with the subject line ‘N-POC 2023 Scholarship Application’.
  3. Closing date for applications is 1 May 2023

N-POC Contact

Ms. Florence Toganivalu

N-POC Administrator


+679 3232492

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