The University of Newcastle, Australia

Scholarship helps drive impact in the Pacific Islands

Thursday, 21 September 2017

As a recipient of a 2017 International Development Scholarship for UON professional staff, NIER Research Development Coordinator Justine Ulph spent two weeks in the Pacific Islands to work with counterparts at The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) - an organisation responsible for the Pacific region’s environmental protection and sustainable development.

Research Roadmap launch

"My scholarship has supported research development activities to progress the establishment of a research node within the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP)'s Pacific Climate Change Centre as part of UON's Global Impact Cluster for Energy, Resources, Food and Water (GIC ERFW)," Justine said.

A key outcome of Justine's time in the Pacific Islands was the development of a Research Roadmap (PDF, 9.39MB) which outlines the key elements of UON and SPREP’s strategic capacity building partnership.

The development activities in the Research Roadmap will support SPREP and its Member countries through:

  • knowledge development and transfer to skills and training
  • support for business and government through an innovation incubator
  • the establishment of five targeted PhD scholarships on priority research projects - a critical part of the strategy

International engagement is a priority for UON's GIC ERFW which is administered by NIER and is currently being rolled out.

"Through the GIC, UON is expanding its global reach and contributing to solutions for real world problems. This research node will deliver applied research and opportunities for knowledge transfer to build skills and enterprise across important focus areas:

  • climate change resilience
  • ecosystem and biodiversity management
  • waste pollution and control
  • environmental governance

"Through the scholarship I was able to gain a greater understanding of the Pacific regional context and begin mapping research priorities for targeted PhD scholarships," Justine said.

A major highlight of Justine’s scholarship was the opportunity to immerse herself in the Pacific Island culture.

"I was able to develop an in-depth understanding of the cultural context within which the initiatives are being developed, and enjoyed the hospitality of the Samoan people and international community.

"I left Samoa with a real sense that this initiative will make a meaningful difference. It will build skills in the region, provide career opportunities and improve environmental practice," Justine said.

The Research Roadmap was launched to the 26 member countries assembled for SPREP’s Annual General Meeting in Apia, Samoa on 21 September by Professor Alan Broadfoot, Executive Director of NIER, along with SPREP’s Director General Kosi Latu. The launch was attended by Sue Langford, Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Stewart Williams, SPREP PacWaste Project Manager, UON PVC Professor Brett Ninness (Engineering & Built Environment), and UON Heads of School Professor Brett Neilan (Environmental & Life Sciences) and Professor Mark Jones (Engineering).

About the scholarships
Launched in 2016 as part of the University’s NeW Futures commitment to increasing global engagement, professional staff scholarships of up to $10,000 support overseas travel for professional development. The experience will also benefit UON by growing our international networks for collaboration. The applications for the 2018 scholarships will open in February 2018.

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