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New UTech degree to fill green economy gap

Sunday, March 05, 2017


The topics of energy and climate change are increasingly dominating conversations from the grassroots to the lecture room and boardroom, but there are precious few locals qualified in the area.

Enter the University of Technology, Jamaica.

On Thursday, the institution launched a Master of Science in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, being described as the “first of its kind in the region”.

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It is the brainchild of associate vice-president of sustainable energy, and head of Caribbean Sustainable Energy and Innovation Institute Dr Ruth Potopsingh with technical support from the German Society for International Cooperation through the Caricom Renewable Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Programme.

“Since the subject is current and will remain high on the global agenda, the curriculum will integrate multiple disciplines such as engineering, natural sciences, climate change, health and social sciences, law, economics, urban planning and business,” Dr Potopsingh said at the launch. “The modules are developed to create a relevant graduate degree programme to advance the conceptual and strategic thought process in line with global trends for low carbon economic growth and development.”

She said, too, that several of the country’s macroeconomic goals, including Vision 2030 and the national energy policy were considered in the development of the programme.

The course is scheduled to start May 1 with a cohort of 25 students. The duration is 20 months, 18 of which will be spent in face-to-face and online hours, while the other two are reserved for professional internship. Entry requirements are a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.7 in related disciplines or any degree plus three years’ work experience in a related industry or field. The university says five years of management level experience in the built environment, engineering or energy, disaster preparedness and mitigation, or the environment will also be considered.

Candidates will sit 10 three-credit modules consisting of eight compulsory modules and two electives from a list that includes: research methodologies, green business and green growth, energy management, climate change and sustainable lifestyles, smart grid and grid management, ocean resources management, solar PV design and implementation and sustainable transport.

The masters is described as a multidisciplinary programme and is being offered jointly by Potopsingh’s institute and the Faculty of the Built Environment.

“The development of the Master’s programme [is] in response to the current gap in the cadre of trained professionals equipped with analytical and problem-solving skills to mitigate climate change and to drive a sustainable energy economy,” university president professor Stephen Vascinanie said Thursday.

— Kimone Thompson

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