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PhD scholarships announced for Pacific island nationals

PhD scholarships announced for Pacific island nationals to advance environmental research in the SPREP region

8 June 2018, WORLD OCEANS DAY - With a shared vision to support the resilience and sustainability of some of the world’s most at-risk communities, the University of Newcastle (UON) is proud to partner with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to advance critical environmental research in the Pacific.

Continuing SPREP and the University’s commitment to the Pacific region, the partnership aims to deliver co-operative solutions to challenges faced by Pacific island people through the facilitation of in-country capacity building, and knowledge generation and sharing.

“As SPREP celebrates its 25th Year this year, we are pleased to partner with the University of Newcastle to bring these opportunities for our region. Through our concerted action, we will address significant challenges related to climate change resilience, ecosystem and biodiversity protection, waste management, pollution control and environmental governance,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General, SPREP

With Pacific island communities under increasing pressure from sea level rise, development, habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, climate change, and pollution, UON will support five targeted PhD scholarships for Pacific island nationals on:

• Waste to Energy: Phycoremediation of Wastewaters with Simultaneous Generation of Energy
• The Effects of Plastic Pollution on Marine Food Webs and Implications for Human Health
• Developing Common Indicators for Environmental Governance
• Bioremediation of Oil in WWII Wrecks
• Monitoring and Modelling Tools for Ecosystem-based Adaptation in the Pacific Islands

Carried out under the guidance of world-leading UON scholars, the projects will draw upon academic expertise to address key environmental threats in the Pacific region.

A Pacific island research ‘node’ will be located at SPREP’s headquarters in Apia, Samoa with activity coordinated through UON’s Global Impact Cluster for Energy, Resources, Food and Water. The node will support strategic research and training to promote skill development and innovation in the region.

“The establishment of a dedicated research node represents the University’s shared commitment to deliver a supporting platform for research excellence and innovation with flow-on benefits for not only environmental protection but economic development and jobs growth in the Region,” said Professor Alan Broadfoot, Executive Director for the Global Impact Cluster for Energy, Resources, Food and Water.

“We encourage our Pacific island Members to apply for these opportunities as they represent investments in our Pacific people to bring about positive change for our island communities,” said Dr Vicki Hall, Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control.

The five PhD projects are currently open to Pacific island nationals, with a closing date of Tuesday 31 July 2018.

SPREP is the intergovernmental environment organisation for the Pacific island region, commemorating 25 years of service to Members this year, having been charged with supporting the work of Members to address the region’s environmental management challenges.

Guided by the 2017 – 2025 SPREP Strategic Plan, there are four core priority areas for SPREP: Climate Change Resilience, Island and Ocean Ecosystems, Environmental Governance and Waste Management and Pollution Control.

The Research Roadmap outlines the University of Newcastle and SPREP’s joint capacity building initiative.

ENDS…

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