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Vice Chancellor Designate of The University of the West Indies, Professor E. Nigel Harris, has urged CARICOM Heads of Government to consider the establishment of a Caribbean Regional Research Funding Agency. He said that such an agency would be financed by national and regional governments and would provide research funding on a competitive basis, using the peer review mechanism, and focusing on projects likely to contribute to the growth and development of the region.

Professor Harris was speaking at the 25th meeting of the conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community held in St. George’s Grenada from July 4 – 7.

He said that no one could doubt the contribution that The University of the West Indies has made to the development of the Caribbean. However, the University faces the challenge of creating an institution that is truly regional as well as the challenge of inadequate resources. He noted that although the governments had provided generous support to the University, the current resources were inadequate to meet the educational needs of a much larger population of students as well as the need to grow our graduate programmes and research enterprise.

The Vice Chancellor designate pointed out that although there were many shining examples of individual research achievement across the UWI, the research enterprise lacked the critical mass of investigators and there was inadequate funding and infrastructure. He argued that if the UWI was to achieve the level of invention and innovation necessary to transform the region, then there would have to be new formulations to support the research enterprise.

He went on to say that after students and their parents, the Caribbean body politic was the University’s second most important stakeholder, adding that throughout his tenure as Vice Chancellor he hoped to be able to build “ a partnership, an on-going dialogue and a sense of mutual accountability with respect to building our premier tertiary institution”.
To read the full text of Professor Harris’s statement go to:

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