UWI Research Days tackles Zika, pollution and crime

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) have again urged businesses to utilise evidence from research to build and grow their markets.

Chairperson of The UWI Mona Research Days Steering Committee Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer said the body of research produced by the institution this year can be used to guide businesses and policy-makers to navigate issues relating to the Zika virus, garbage pollution, HIV and the Jamaican diaspora.

At the launch of the 19th annual UWI Research Days (URD) at the Exhibition Seminar Room, Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching and Research Complex on Tuesday, Professor Eldemire-Shearer revealed that this year's research explored a variety of issues in health, economics, climate change, alternative energy, and the deadly crime wave gripping Jamaica.

“The research we do yearly is not just for our catalogue. We provide answers to many issues facing Jamaica and our aim is always to share those answers with those who have an interest in our nation's development,” Professor Eldemire-Shearer said.

This year in particular, The UWI, Mona is taking strategic steps to get more businesses, government decision-makers, and educators to see the results of the research, and possibly forge partnerships to undertake further explorations that will improve the economy and general well-being of Jamaicans.

“The theme is 'UWI Mona: Powering Research through Partnerships in Research and Innovation.' We want persons in positions of authority to use our research to help direct strategic planning, boost profitability, streamline processes, and operations and fuel development. Last year, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica where they will use our research to improve the way local businesses operate and that is the overall direction we want to take,” said Professor Eldemire-Shearer.

Newly elected president of the PSOJ Howard Mitchell, guest speaker at the launch, agreed that the organisation's members can benefit from partnership.

“With all the happenings on our small island, it is imperative that we search for information within our Jamaican context that supports business growth,” Mitchell said.

“We at the PSOJ acknowledge that the country is grappling with crime. But we need to strategise how we support our families, create employment and drive economic growth as established and start-up businesses. I am sure research at the UWI can and will show us the pathways,” Mitchell added.

Professor Archibald McDonald, pro vice-chancellor and principal at UWI, Mona said the university has a proud history of supporting development with its research. “It has already been proven that both public and private sector entities can operate optimally when they utilise the findings from research available at the Mona Campus” he said.

“The UWI researchers are doing very well in the international sphere. The outstanding climate change work by Professor Michael Taylor and his team led to him being named one of the three co-ordinating leads for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Caribbean and other small island states (SIDS) special report on 1.5 degrees Celsius as a global greenhouse gas emissions target,” McDonald explained. “The campus is also immensely proud of Nobel Prize winning researcher Professor Anthony Chen.”

Other outstanding work will be recognised in this year's exposition according to Professor Eldemire-Shearer. They include the latest crop of Master's of Philosophy and Doctorate students to be honoured on the Post-Graduate Wall of Excellence and the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the The UWI, Mona Western Jamaica campus.

“We also want our current and future students to see that the UWI, Mona is not just an entity that grants academic degrees that they can use to get a job. We are an important arm of the society that uses academia to solve real-life issues facing our country and the region,” Professor Eldemire-Shearer continued.

The UWI Research Days 2018 will begin with the official opening ceremony on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, which leads into the Principal's Tour of the 80-plus exhibitions in the Research Village before it opens to the public and run through to Friday, February 9.

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