ACIAR Events & Announcements

The ACIAR Pacific Agricultural Scholarship Support Program (PASS Program) provides and promotes capacity building opportunities to scholars from the South Pacific to address key areas of interest in the Pacific region. The ACIAR PASS Program aims to support brilliant minds of the region with scholarships to tackle issues in the field of Agriculture (including horticulture), fisheries (including aquaculture), and forestry across the region. This strategy aims to foster and strengthen agricultural innovation systems in our beloved Pacific.


Events & Announcements

The Australian Centre for International Agriculture (ACIAR) Pacific Agricultural Scholarship Support  & Climate Resilience (PASS-CR) Program is proud to announce that Ms. Nirma Nadan & Ms. Shirlyn Lata have successfully completed their Master’s program with the University of the South Pacific (USP)

Both Mrs. Nadan & Ms. Lata began their HDR journey in 2021 have been supervised by an amazing set of supervisors both locally at USP and in Australia. The persistence, patience and passion for research the two ladies showcased was nothing short of amazing. With the help of their supervisory team and the scholarship team, they safely navigated the waters of research, through pandemic restrictions to the graduation podium.

Mrs. Nadan’s research project on “Examining the potential of beneficial rhizosphere Actinobacteria to manage the plant pathogenic bacteria that causes wilt in tomato, Ralstonia solanacearum” is linked to the active ACIAR Project (HORT2016/185) led by Prof Mike Furlong of the University of Queensland.

Ms. Lata’s research project focuses on “Intraspective variation of Cocus nuciferaI on Viti Levu Island and Taveuni, Fiji Islands” is linked to an ACIAR project (HORT/2014/080) led by Prof Phil Brown from Central Queensland University.

The ACIAR PASS-CR family wishes both Nirma and Shirlyn a heartfelt congratulations and the best success in their future endeavors.

These two ladies are expected to graduate in the USP Graduation on the 11th of April 2024.

As part of their trip, Dean Race and Joe had visited the Australian National University (ANU). Their trip coincided with the HDR Induction week that was hosted for all Higher Degree Research (HDR) scholars.

It provided an opportunity for the two to gather tips on Induction programs that could benefit the students at the University of the South Pacific. The USP team also met with some alumni of USP who were pursuing their higher degrees at ANU.

HDR Team at ANU were very accommodating to the questions and the scholars’ reflection provided valuable insights to what can be included in next year’s Induction back at USP.

These photos features USP Alumni who are currently pursuing a PhD degree at ANU- Mr. Michael Kabuni & Ms. Rakel.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research team at ACIAR House in Canberra welcomed both Prof Digby Race & Mr. Josevata Cava from the University of the South Pacific.

The two staff members from USP presented to the ACIAR RPM’s and the ACIAR CEO, Prof Wendy Umbeger, on the success of the scholarship program at USP over the years and the future prospects of the scholarship program. The discussions that followed also covered topics of future collaborations, building regional supervision capacity, and pastoral care.

The photos feature Prof Digby Race and Joe meeting with Ms. Kate Turner-Mann (ACIAR Director Capacity Building), Dr. Nora Devoe (ACIAR RPM Forestry) and Mr. Jason Valusaga (ACIAR Capacity Building Officer).


The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research PASS-CR team at the University of Sunshine Coast (UniSC) hosted two delegates from the University of the South Pacific on 3rd April, Prof Digby Race, the inaugural Dean of the Graduate School, and Mr. Josevata Cava, the ACIAR PASS-CR Graduate Officer.

Their visit to UniSC was marked by fruitful discussions and potential collaborations with professional staffs of the University with the likes of:

  • Prof Stephan Riek, the Dean of the Graduate Research School;
  • Prof Ross Young, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation);
  • Dr. Lee McGowan & Dr. Saskia De Klerk, the ACPIR Researchers; and
  • Prof Steven Underhill, Dr. Linda Wess, Dr. Dani Medina Hidalgo, and Mrs. Kirsty O’Callaghan, the ACIAR PASS-CR Team at UniSC

The discussions held prospective dialogues on capacity building that aims to forge great collaborations between the two universities that results in program(s) that enhances both the university’s strengths and capability.


6th March

Day 1

Theme: Wellbeing & Finance

7th March

Day 2

Theme: Proposals, Risks & Mental Health

8th March

Day 3

Theme: Library & PG Affairs



10:59 am

  • Presentation by Campus Life
  • Presentation by USP Student SA
  • ITS Presentation
  • Talanoa Session

On Enhancing Proposal Writing & Understanding Submission Processes

  • Project Presentation
  • Presentation on PG Hand book

    M       O      R       N       I       N       G                 T       E       A

11:30 am


12:29 am

  • Discussion on the paperwork & Submission of finance documents
  • Presentation by the USP Counsellor
  • Presentation by the USP Health Team
  • Library Session with Mrs. Vasiti Chambers
12:30 pm

L         U       N       C       H

1:30 pm


3:29 pm

  • USP Finance Team Presentation (MA, Procurement, Student Finance)
  • Presentation by International Office
  • Presentation by the Risk Assurance Team
  • ACIAR Activity (ACIAR Scholars ONLY)
3:30 pm



ACIAR Scholarship recipients’ joint induction at USP

Seven students from The University of the South Pacific (USP) and five from Fiji National University (FNU) were inducted last week as recipients of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Scholarship to boost relevant and timely research in Fiji and the Pacific.

The induction, held at the USP Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji, was attended by ACIAR alumni, current student researchers and, new ACIAR scholarship recipients from Fiji and the Pacific, academics from other tertiary institutions around Fiji, and stakeholders.

To read more about the Joint Induction, click here

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