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MGI Strengthens Research Collaboration with Universities in Japan

In an effort to strengthen research collaboration with universities in East Asia, the Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) paid courtesy calls on various academic departments across Japan in April, 2019 to discuss collaboration with MGI’s coastal studies unit – MGIBlue. The discussions were focused on combining the skills, expertise and research available among the institutions to apply cutting edge science and technology in building solutions for coastal problems.
Deputy Director of MGI at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona and head of MGIBlue, Dr Ava Maxam, met with research departments of Nagoya University (NU) and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), where she presented on the work of MGIBlue and its Coastal Dynamics Modelling Laboratory (CDML) to faculty staff and students.
University departments, Dr Maxam said, must be drivers of innovation for their countries. “We believe that JICA and MGI are fostering their partnership for exchange of innovation between Japanese volunteers and Jamaican researchers.” She said this must now be applied in a meaningful way to strengthen coastal resilience of our Caribbean small-island nations already facing threats from sea-level rise.
Areas explored for collaboration included: fisheries research and production, shipping and logistics, emissions policies for the Caribbean, algal transport including Sargassum proliferation issues; modelling ocean, shoreline and reef dynamics; remote sensing and water quality modelling of inshore and offshore areas.
Referencing Dr Maxams’ recent tour, head of JICA in Jamaica, Resident Representative Mr Takeshi Takano said the tour made researchers in that region more aware of a competitive research institute in the Caribbean.  “We are hoping to continue dispatching Japanese volunteers to contribute to MGI’s development. The interactions between Japanese volunteers and Jamaican researchers will bring about mutual benefits of technology, innovation and culture,” he added.
JICA-MGI Partnership
MGI benefitted from collaboration with the Volunteer Program of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) when they dispatched Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) to assist with developing MGIBlue’s CDML in 2017. JICA’s volunteers, Mr Takano said, will again bring much-needed skills and technologies in coastal solutions to MGIBlue. 
For the past 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Asia, and Africa such as the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 
As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018, and was the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

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