During the meeting, vice-chancellors and senior level representatives of interested universities and stakeholders discussed the formation of a network of universities from the Pacific Islands countries and territories to support intra- and inter- regional knowledge creation and sharing, and to prepare succinct recommendations for the development of a regional Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Policy framework.
The delegates discussed the capacity of universities to contribute to a collaborative network which would help foster research links and strengthen the policy processes in the region. Potential identified benefits from establishing a universities' research network included a capacity to:
- Generate new knowledge for addressing priority challenges in the Pacific region.
- Share physical and intellectual resources to facilitate quality research.
- Strengthen scientific research content in the curriculum and in teaching.
- Develop shared research training initiatives.
- Collectively work with regional and international organizations to strengthen the quantity and quality of research conducted in fields of major importance.
- Protect and build on local and indigenous knowledge systems in research programmes.
- Provide ST&I policy advice at the regional and national level.
The meeting resolved:
That a Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN) be established with the principal purpose of building upon the quality educational capacity of these universities, for enhancing research and development collaboration in science, technology and innovation, to better serve the needs and aspirations of Pacific communities.
To seek prominent inclusion of ST&I initiatives in the updated Pacific Plan and to further advance the development of the regional ST&I policy framework.
To successfully implement these resolutions, the meeting appointed an interim coordinator and an assistant interim coordinator and established a PIURN working group. USP agreed to host the PIURN Secretariat for three years. The working group is expected to report to prospective member universities within a 6-month period.