The Advisory Committee of the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) held its first meeting on 17 April 2018 at the USP ICT Conference Room. Comprising high level representatives of the Fiji Government, European Union, IUCN, SPREP and USP, the Committee’s main role is to provide guidance and advice on the strategic direction of the Institute.
In opening the meeting, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Mr Robin Yarrow, a former Permanent Secretary in the Fiji Government under various Ministries and current Chairman of the Nature Fiji, emphasised on the importance of the Institute’s role in Fiji and the Pacific region. He added that IAS’s major areas of expertise underpin the many conservation, renewable energy and climate change issues in the region and it is crucial that proper advice and guidance is provided to ensure that IAS fulfills its purpose. He welcomed all members and noted that with their background and current roles, IAS will benefit from their contributions to strengthen its position in the region.
The Director of IAS, Dr Johann Poinapen shared with the members the overarching strategic goals of the Institute as described in the five-year Strategic Plan (2017-2021) and also presented a short video showcasing the services offered by the Institute. He highlighted the three main roles of IAS which are:
1. Training and capacity building
2. Services – Laboratory & Consultancies
3. Implementing Research and Development Projects
Members were also briefed on the achievements of the Institute and the status of collaborative work undertaken with various Government ministries and regional organisations. In particular, IAS along with its project partners is developing the Access Benefit Sharing concept for the use of marine and terrestrial organisms for research and development purposes. IAS has also set up a Biofuel Laboratory in partnership with the Fiji Government’s Ministry of Infrastructure to support the Government of Fiji in its efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing its dependency on fossil fuels. Moreover, IAS has also developed expertise in Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies. Furthermore, IAS develops and offers short technical and scientific training courses that cannot be met through the normal teaching programmes of the University. People identify IAS as the regional institute that really works with applied solutions that are meaningful to improving their livelihoods.
The Committee members expressed their appreciation for the clarity of the information provided. They also made valuable comments on the strategic direction of the Institute of Applied Sciences to solidify its position as the leading scientific services provider in the region.