New scholarship to build Pacific agriculture research

09 September 2020

ACIAR has launched a scholarship program that supports domestically-led agricultural research to address the needs of people in the Pacific region.

The Pacific Agriculture Scholarships and Support (PASS) program supports an agricultural innovation system by providing scholarships for postgraduate research and support for academics.  

The scholarships will be available for research into ACIAR priority areas undertaken at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and Fiji National University (FNU).

The PASS program helps connect postgraduate students to the workplace by supporting them to do an applied agricultural research project.

This approach aims to build capacity in the Pacific region’s agricultural research system and foster deeper partnerships between the region and Australia.

ACIAR Regional Manager for Pacific and Papua New Guinea, Florence Rahiria, says the new program also aims to develop the skills and capacities of academics at USP’s School of Agriculture and Food Technology and FNU’s College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

‘The new scholarship further empowers pacific communities to build their own research capacity to meet emerging agricultural challenges in the region,’ says Rahiria. ‘It also contributes to the priority research areas we identified in consultation with partner countries in developing our wider strategic direction in the Pacific.’

The program includes up to eight scholarships at USP and three scholarships at FNU for Master of Science research programs in target areas. It also includes two PhDs at USP. 

The priority areas for the PASS program include:

  • soil fertility,
  • aquaculture and horticulture products for improved nutrition,
  • agribusiness,
  • gender equity and women’s engagement with agriculture in the Pacific region,
  • coconut-based systems for economic, social and environmental resilience,
  • agroforestry,
  • ‘One Health’ approaches, and
  • biosecurity.

Agriculture research students or professionals from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu can apply.

The new program follows a previous ACIAR-supported initiative established in 2008 that provided 91 students from seven Pacific island countries with postgraduate qualifications through USP.

Applications for the PASS program close 15 October, 2020 Visit the PASS website for more information.