Wednesday, 25 June 2014

EUCARINET in focus – Discussion held on strategies to advance Caribbean science

APPROXIMATELY 60 participants from across the Caribbean and Europe participated in the Sustainable Bi-regional Multi-stakeholder Policy Dialogue on Science and Technology at the 3W’s Oval on Wednesday.

Hosted by the Office of Research at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), this marked the final meeting of EUCARINET, a four-year project funded by the European Commission. The main goal is to strengthen bi-regional sustainable dialogue on Science and Technology (S&T) between Europe and the Caribbean.

Past Dean of the Faculty of Science and
Technology, Dr. Sean Carrington.
A section of the participants of the Second Sustainable
Bi-regional Multi-stakeholder Policy Dialogue on Science
and Technology, held at the Cave Hill campus on Wednesday.
The meeting addressed another major objective of EUCARINET – to promote sustainable multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on Science & Technology between the EU and the Caribbean.

During the morning session, participants, including researchers, policymakers and representatives of the private sector, saw an overview of EUCARINET project outputs, and then went on to discuss and refine strategies and policies that can strengthen collaboration in Caribbean Science, Technology and Innovation, both within the region and within Europe.

Past Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Dr. Sean Carrington, explained the importance of this project, which he said is designed to help the Caribbean collaborate more on science, technology and innovation and also to collaborate more with Europe.

“Because in the various research programmes of the EU, the Caribbean did not have many applications for projects. The irony is that when we did apply, we did very well, but we weren’t putting in enough applications, so this is a project to really build links in the Caribbean.”

He noted that there are 11 partners, and as one of the six partners in the Caribbean, the UWI was tasked to map what was happening in the region, “To see what kind of areas people were working in, high profile areas that everyone was noticing... also noticing what science policies, which countries had a science and technology strategic plan, innovating and creating a network...”

Additionally, he noted that a database of research organisations and a database for researchers in the Caribbean were created, which he described as a starting point.

“We are trying to see how we could get together and to more or less advance Caribbean science. It is a challenge, because you have the English-speaking Caribbean in CARICOM; French territories, part of France; Dutch territories – Netherlands; and then we have independent countries like the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and trying to find a way that we could have a common platform to go forward and advance Caribbean science, that is what we have been doing over the past two days,” he said.

The participants also learned more about the opportunities to be derived from the European Union’s new seven-year Research and Innovation programme – Horizon 2020.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 will drive European economic growth and create jobs, with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. (JH)

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