The Fiji National University (FNU) and the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF) have created a new opportunity for collaborative research in agriculture following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
The MOU allows both the University and the Institute to identify specific research projects students and or researchers can undertake and are based on real-world, industry-specific problems.
To do this, the FNU with the help of SRIF and FSC will initially carry out a Farmer Stakeholder Survey to identify the specific areas of research to address the key issues and challenges facing the sugar industry.
The partnership also allows students access to research facilities and to be guided by industry experts both locally and abroad. Students may also have work placement opportunities towards the completion of their studies.
The FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr William May said the collaboration is aligned to one of the key pillars of the University’s strategic plan which is to undertake research with real world impact aligned to national priorities with global relevance.
“We are always searching for new and collaborative ways to complement student learning here at the University,” said Dr May.
“This partnership allows the University to ensure student learning is holistic and applicable to real life situations. This is an exciting new venture for the University, particularly for those in the field of Agriculture and we look forward to strengthening this partnership in the future.”
The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation Professor Roland De Marco said that the formalization of a productive partnership with SRIF will ensure that FNU’s agricultural research is grounded in the needs of the national sugar industry, leading to impactful research and real-world experience for the academics and research students of the University.
“Collaborative research via partnerships with end-user organisations is the centre-piece of the University strategy to conduct research with real-world impact. By working closely with SRIF and the sugar industry, FNU will engage in problem-oriented research to address the key issues and challenges faced by the Fiji sugar industry, with the research outcomes expected to improve the economic viability of the industry. This can be expected to impact the economic prosperity of Fiji,” he said.
Professor Santiago Mahimairaja, the Chief Executive Officer of SRIF who is very excited about the collaboration with the FNU, said “it would be an excellent opportunity for the SRIF to utilize the scientific expertise and research facilities available at FNU and contribute to the development, sustainability, productivity and profitability of the Fiji’s Sugar industries”.
Through the partnership both the University and the Institute will undertake join research and joint supervision in targeted areas of research interest.
The University will also harness its partnership with the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia to gain access to complementary expertise and facilities of relevance to the FNU and SRIF partnership.
The partnership also allows both parties to collaborate on donor-sponsored research when applicable.