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Postgraduate students studying in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) will now be able to apply for the ICT research grant of up to $15 million under the Universal Service Fund (USF) Tertiary ICT Graduate Research Grant Programme.

Through the programme, which was launched on Wednesday (August 12), at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, the USF will disburse a total of $45 million to universities, which will be accessible by Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy students to facilitate research in the field of ICT.

In her speech, read by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Wahkeen Murray, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, said it has not been an easy feat for researchers to obtain grant funding for their projects, and commended the USF on the launch of the initiative.

“I am pleased that the USF has chosen to invest in the education of our innovators through this programme,” the Minister said.

“Investment in education and innovation is a part of the new Jamaica, where our people can be empowered and equipped to become innovators, content creators, developers, tech entrepreneurs and a whole host of other professionals in the ICT industry,” she added.

The Minister noted that universities are the engines that power innovation, research and development, hence investment in projects at this level has tremendous prospects, not just for the institutions but the wider Jamaica.

“Research is an important component of Jamaican ICT infrastructure and plays a critical role in the development of solutions to existing problems in all aspects of the Jamaican society,” Mrs. Williams said.

“We are cognisant that more investment is needed and we need to push the research and innovation agenda among our people,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the USF, Daniel Dawes, said the programme will provide the stimulus needed to take a keen look at issues within the ICT sphere and to develop practical solutions as it relates to the Jamaican society and beyond.

“We are certainly looking for research proposals that truly address real-life problems through the application of technology,” he said.

Acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Kasan Troupe, who brought greetings, congratulated the USF on the programme and extended gratitude on behalf of the Minister of Education and the Ministry.

The deadline for proposals will be in October, following which a decision will be made in November of the successful applicants.

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