Since 2008, ACIAR has supported postgraduate research study by providing scholarships in agriculture and fisheries at the University of the South Pacific. ACIAR Pacific Agriculture Scholarships and Support Program have achieved significant results and strengthened the agricultural innovation system in the Pacific.
Following a review, a new expanded Pacific Agriculture Scholarship Support Program 2020-23 was designed. Scholarships continue with University of the South Pacific but expand to include Fiji National University.
An academic support program will complete the Program. Support will focus on strengthening student links with an ACIAR research project and Australian co-supervisor along with professional development, focusing on higher degree research supervision and peer to peer learning for University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University academic staff. Student work placements will be included within the scholarships in order to build graduates connection to the workplace. Mentoring in higher degree research supervision, is currently provided to University of Technology, Dept of Agriculture, Papua New Guinea. This will continue.
ACIAR’s aim, based on its on-the-ground successes, has been to support Pacific students to undertake applied agricultural research at selected Pacific universities, thereby benefiting the agricultural research capacity of the student, the university and the country of origin. This approach purposefully builds the capacity of the agricultural research system in the Pacific and fosters deeper partnerships between the Pacific and Australia.
The new ACIAR Pacific Agriculture Scholarships and Support Program will be a significant building block of ACIAR’s Pacific Strategy, and in turn, a contribution to the broader ‘Step Up’ in the Pacific.
Priority research areas
The program sits with the overall ACIAR Pacific Capacity Building Strategy, which aims to build an agricultural innovation system and contribute directly to ACIAR’s Pacific Research-for-Development Strategy by targeting the priority research areas whilst seeking to build on the strengths of both universities and their regional partners.
Priority research areas:
- Soil fertility, and integrated management of water resources and waste water
- Aquaculture and horticulture products for improved nutrition
- Agribusiness, including post-harvest management and food processing
- Gender equity and women’s engagement in Pacific agriculture
- Coconut-based systems for economic, social and environmental resilience
- Forestry and agroforestry as contributors to agricultural practices which address climate change for sustainable livelihoods
- ‘One Health’ approaches (integrating human, animal and environment health) and biosecurity (for crop, livestock and environmental health)
Scholarship criteria and outline
For Semester 1 of the 2021 intake, due to travel restrictions Master of Science (MSc) scholarships are limited to individuals currently residing in Fiji and Samoa
- Up to eight MSc post-graduate research scholarships at the University of the South Pacific (USP)
- Up to three MSc post-graduate research scholarships at Fiji National University (FNU)
- Applicants must be from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu or Vanuatu
- Up to two PhDs at USP open to citizens of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
- Two PhD upgrades will be offered to faculty staff at FNU College of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
- Scholarships are aligned to ACIAR’s applied research projects co-supervision by an international scientist
- Suggested thesis research questions related to the ACIAR research project research grants to enable students to complete their research
- Work experience placements linked to a private sector partner, NGO or government agency aligned to student’s field of study
- Funds for scholars to present their research at an international conference