The University of Newcastle, Australia

University welcomes Pacific Island students who will help tackle environmental problems in their region

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Three Pacific Islands students are set to undertake research focusing on the environmental protection of vulnerable island and ocean ecosystems that will directly benefit their communities.

The University will this week officially welcome the PhD students, who have received scholarships through the Global Impact Cluster for Energy, Resources, Food and Water (GIC ERFW).

The scholarships are part of a wider initiative between the University and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).  A number of capacity building initiatives outlined in the Pacific Research Road Map are underway to support climate change resilience, ecosystem and biodiversity protection, waste management and pollution control, and environmental governance.

Scholarship recipient, Make Movono's research will focus on monitoring and modelling tools for ecosystem-based adaptation in the Pacific Islands. She will collaborate on SPREP’s Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) Program to develop quantitative tools to support integrated coastal management.

Awei Bainivalu’s work investigates the bioremediation of oil in WWII wrecks.  Her research will contribute towards progressing the Pacific’s pathway to a pollution free Pacific as adopted through the framework of the Cleaner Pacific 2025.

Focusing on the effects of plastic pollution on marine food webs and implications for human health, Malelili Nauilvo Rokomatu’s research will analyse the fate of plastic pollutants in Fiji’s marine ecosystem.

Pacific Island students welcome
L-R: Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO; students: Malelili Nauilvo Rokomatu, Make Movono and Awei Bainivalu, Professor Alan Broadfoot, and Professor Lucy Johnston


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