CAPTION: USP Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & International) Professor John Bythell, with other signatories of the PIURN agreement.
The University of the South Pacific along with 10 other Pacific universities signed an agreement on the establishment of the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN), at the Holiday Inn in Suva, on Wednesday 10 July, 2013.
The universities signed the historic document, which coincided with the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress (PSIC), after two days of intensive deliberation and discussion.
The Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors and members of the universities’ senior management teams committed to the signing of the document.
The PIURN is the first initiative in the region by Universities, who have collaborated to create a regional Pacific network, on research. The vision of the PIURN is to have a prosperous Pacific region where research and innovation collaboration addresses the needs of the people in identified priority areas.
It is a regional body which links up all the universities in Papua New Guinea (6), Fiji (3), French territories (2), and Samoa (1), and their resources to tackle regional problems via Research and Development (R&D).
The eleven universities which are part of the PIURN are:
- The University of the South Pacific
- Fiji National University
- National University of Samoa
- Pacific Adventist University
- Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources and Environment
- University of Fiji
- Papua New Guinea University of Technology
- University of French Polynesia
- University of Goroka
- University of New Caledonia
- University of Papua New Guinea
Their combined mission is to enhance research, innovation and collaboration to better serve the needs and aspirations of Pacific communities.
USP Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and international, Professor John Bythell said the signing is a very significant piece in history and the first step forward in regional collaboration on promoting and identifying key issues and relating to research.
“This document is proof that there is something tangible that has come out of these two days,” Professor Bythell said, adding that while the agreement is clear, simple and straightforward, it does not discount the deep level of commitment the universities have indicated.
“I think to have done it now, is a tremendous testament to the fact that you all are committed to this region, the people of this region, and committed to this network,” he added.
He thanked the representatives of the universities for making the initiative possible, and said he looked forward to further discussion in the future.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor thanked Dr Jito Vanualailai, Director Research at the USP Research Office, who came up with the idea of having a research network to link Pacific universities, as the Pacific copes with the demand for greater skilled research and skills development.
Dr Vanualailai said the agreement is a very relevant contribution towards regional collaboration, in academia, and will undoubtedly be the pillar of support for advancing Pacific research.
“The agreement is very significant; because this is the first time we have established this in the history of mankind, and it signifies the strong likelihood of more intensive cooperation between the universities,” he said.
All the universities have respectively contributed financially towards the establishment of the PIURN.