Partnership to launch climate change research centre in Fiji

4 May 2022

Fiji Partnership

Under a new partnership between the Fiji National University and Monash University, a new climate change research centre will be established.

The Monash-FNU Pacific Island Countries (PICs) Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) will support collaboration and provide exceptional research into climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The CCRC, which will be jointly based at the two universities, will also provide high-quality training and capacity building for policymakers in Pacific Island Countries.

Monash Business School will oversee the partnership and Professor Simon Wilkie, Head of Monash Business School and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics says it presents an opportunity to produce research that will not only benefit the PICs but more broadly globally too.

“I am thoroughly excited by the opportunities for impactful research that will implement better policies and improve the welfare of the people of Fiji and the Pacific nations,” he said.

Launched by Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Civil Service, Communications, Housing and Community Development and the Minister responsible for Climate Change Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the partnership offers significant advantages for Fiji and the region.

Honourable Sayed-Khaiyum said the establishment of the Centre is aligned with the Government’s objective for FNU to become a premier university that has International recognition and credibility.

He added that the research centre would give an opportunity to local and regional students to work with leading academics at Monash University on a matter that is of global concern.

“This Research Centre that is being set up is critically important to be able to bring not only those people who are the coalface of climate change but to bring people from all different schools of thought and different facets, from academia, from practitioners, from researchers to be able to address climate change holistically,” stated Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum.

Through the CCRC, researchers will have direct engagement with wide academic networks and better opportunities to collaborate with key industry leaders, donor institutions and world-leading practitioners.

FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr William May said there is an already growing pool of climate researchers within the University, and the partnership ensures a greater scope for growth within the area of study.

“Fiji and the entire region are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts,” he said.

“This collaboration can assist Fiji and the Pacific in human capital development, producing graduates ready for a job market that will need to respond to climate change realities into the future.”

Monash University ranks among the world’s top Universities. The partnership with FNU aligns with the University’s Impact 2030 Strategic Plan and its focus on excellence in education and research, particularly supporting the key pillars of climate change, geopolitical security and thriving communities.

Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Senior Vice-President Professor Rebekah Brown said the partnership with FNU presents a vital opportunity for producing exceptional research with real-world impacts within the Pacific region and globally.

“Fiji and Pacific Island Countries are witnessing first-hand the impacts of climate change. By focusing on informing policy and generating evidence-based solutions, this research partnership offers an unique opportunity to tackle climate change at the front line,” says Professor Brown.

"Importantly, this collaboration is underpinned by Monash's and FNU's commitment to working hand-in-hand as equal partners, in a new model of international research collaboration, anchored in the Pacific, for the benefit of the region and its people."

FNU Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Roland Demarco said the partnership will provide a massive injection of capacity to FNU’s and the region’s push to develop internationally competitive research in Climate Resilience and Adaptation to shape policy and practice within the region.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the globe, with the Pacific Islands region on the precipice of the impacts of climate change. The Monash University-FNU research alliance, which will marry our complementary research capabilities in science, technology, social science, business and economics, is expected to create impactful climate action within the region.”

“At the FNU, we are delighted and excited to be forging a research alliance with the world-class and research powerhouse of Monash University, which will help us to realise our goal of creating evidence-based research in Climate Change to inform policy and practice.”