Six Researchers Selected for Jamaica/South Africa Project

Photo: Mark Bell Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology, Professor Errol Morrison (right), engages in conversation with Acting High Commissioner of South Africa to Jamaica, His Excellency Phillip Riley. Occasion was the official launch of the South Africa/Jamaica Joint Research Projects and Indigenous Knowledge Technology and Innovation three-day workshop, at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston on March 14.

Story Highlights

  • Six researchers have been selected as recipients under the Jamaica/Republic of South Africa (RSA) Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which seeks to promote and support collaboration between the countries in the fields of science and technology.
  • They were recognised during the official launch of the South Africa and Jamaica Joint Research Projects and Indigenous Knowledge Technology and Innovation three-day workshop, held at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston, on March 14.
  • Addressing the workshop, Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), Professor Errol Morrison, said the collaboration between the two countries is historic, as it is the first time that the Jamaican Government is involved in launching a national research fund.

Six researchers have been selected as recipients under the Jamaica/Republic of South Africa (RSA) Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which seeks to promote and support collaboration between the countries in the fields of science and technology.

They are Dr. Rupika Delgoda and Dr. Peter Nelson from the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies; and Executive Director of the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), Dr. Susan Otuokan. Their South African counterparts are Dr. Motlalepula Matsabisa, University of the Free State; Dr. Innocent Moyo, University of Zululand, and Dr. Irvin Noel Booysen, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

They were recognised during the official launch of the South Africa and Jamaica Joint Research Projects and Indigenous Knowledge Technology and Innovation three-day workshop, held at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston, on March 14.

The local recipients, in partnership with their RSA colleagues, will undertake three joint projects focusing on indigenous knowledge systems and water, and will be funded for a maximum period of three years, beginning this year.

Addressing the workshop, Director General of the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), Professor Errol Morrison, said the collaboration between the two countries is historic, as it is the first time that the Jamaican Government is involved in launching a national research fund.

Professor Morrison also wants to see small portions of investments coming into the country being used to fund scientific research and development.

According to the Professor, less than 0.1 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) goes towards the funding of scientific research, “whilst the average for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is somewhere in the region of 0.6 per cent”.

“Developed countries (on the other hand) are spending between two and three per cent on investing in research and development, with the expectation that much of what comes out of that will contribute to income,” he added.

Meanwhile, Acting High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to Jamaica, His Excellency, Phillip Riley, said his country’s participation in this initiative is an indication of the “exceptional premium that our Government attaches to this relationship with Jamaica”.

“Over the course of these next few days, our technical team is ready to engage with all stakeholders to share South Africa’s experiences in getting solid indigenous knowledge systems and policies off the ground and in place within a relatively short time. We will also be pleased to learn from Jamaica about your own experiences,” he said.

Among the main objectives of the workshop are to allow the funded researchers an opportunity to provide short summaries of the objectives of their funded projects and to discuss the extent to which this type of bilateral cooperation can create synergies that can assist in achieving expected outcomes.

It will also allow Jamaica and the Republic of South Africa to provide brief overviews of the evolution, current state and projected developments of the indigenous knowledge systems innovation ecosystem in both countries, and exchange information on the best practices from both countries.

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