University of The South Pacific
Suva, Fiji

The University of the South Pacific is an intergovernmental organization and public research university with a number of locations spread throughout a dozen countries in Oceania. It is an international centre for teaching and research on Pacific culture and environment. USP's academic programmes are recognised worldwide, attracting students and staff from throughout the Pacific Region and internationally. The colonial link and the establishment of the University of the South Pacific in 1968 allowed the education system to follow suit from the qualification system of the Commonwealth. The University of the South Pacific is the only university in the Oceania region to be internationally recognized outside of Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. state of Hawaii with its bachelor's and other awards programme. USP is owned by the governments of 12 Pacific Island countries: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO-2009-1.4 | Award Amount: 1.80M | Year: 2010

The Pacific-EU network for Science and Technology will establish a bi-regional dialogue platform on S&T between EU and the 15 countries member of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of the Pacific region, namely Cook Islands, Federate States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa. The PACE-NET project will also closely involve the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in the Pacific region (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Pitcairn) while Australia and New Zealand will bring to PACE-Net project their long-standing expertise in the Pacific. PACE-Net pursue the following objectives: - To reinforce existing S&T dialogues and networks and promote regional integration for those networks. PACE-NET will seek to increase the cooperation between the research organizations and universities in the region; - To identify S&T international cooperation activities and programmes towards the Pacific region. The PACE-NET will set up dialogue fora bringing together the relevant S&T experts and stakeholders to establish the priorities areas for FP7, including SICAs; - To strengthen the coordination of S&T cooperation and the complementarities with activities and programs carried out by other European instruments. PACE-NET will examine possible synergies or complementarities with EU activities, especially with respect to challenges faces by developing countries. In particular, synergies with the European Development Fund shall be found. PACE-Net dialogue activities led will be fed by a preliminary critical and analytical work on the current S&T cooperation landscape in the region. The outcomes of the project will be transmitted to main Pacific fora gathering key stakeholders of the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SSH.2012.2.2-4 | Award Amount: 3.30M | Year: 2012

ECOPAS (European Consortium for Pacific Studies) is an innovative, ambitious multidisciplinary project designed to provide coordination and support to research and policy communities on issues connected to climate change and related processes in the Pacific Islands region, in order to define better options for sustainable development. The Pacific is notable for the discrepancy between the contribution of its small economies to global climate change, and the severity of climate change effects experienced by its peoples. Linkages between research networks and policy interfaces will contribute to more context-sensitive EU external action, and will set a future research agenda for social science and humanities in the Pacific. From an initial 3-year duration ECOPAS is the first-ever network to develop extensive, durable collaboration between European and Pacific scholarly institutions, as well as between research institutions and local, national and international political agencies. The project will have lasting effects on the ways in which research is undertaken in the social sciences and humanities and beyond in the Pacific, and on the efficacy of development efforts in and for the region. While the emphasis of ECOPAS is on developing a long-term strategy for SSH research on the Pacific, strong links are also forged with climate research in the natural sciences. Built on seven interrelated and complementary Work Packages, ECOPAS aims to define and strengthen the potential of European research in the Pacific by creating a platform and portal for knowledge exchanges, a long-term plan for capacity building, and a strategic plan for Pacific state and non-state involvement. ECOPAS is hosted by four recognized European university centres of excellence on Pacific research, in Norway, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (Bergen BPS, Aix-Marseille CREDO, St. Andrews CPS and Nijmegen CPAS), and by two major Pacific institutions (University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and the National Research Institute, Papua New Guinea). While ECOPAS is coordinated from the University of Bergen, the projects seven interconnected Work Packages are directed by the participating centres, thus guaranteeing maximal efficiency and feasibility of work programme and deliverables. ECOPAS will grow to be the premier research network in the field of Pacific Studies, and will progressively involve additional associate researchers with strong track records and international visibility. During the projects stages, the collective networks of the six participant institutions throughout Europe, in the Anglophone and Francophone Pacific, and in North America will lead to near complete participation of the worlds community of Pacific scholars. A final outcome of the project will be the delivery to the European Commission of a comprehensive, forward-looking, long-term social sciences and humanities research policy agenda for the Pacific Islands region.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2013-1.5 | Award Amount: 3.36M | Year: 2013

The research and innovation landscape of the Pacific is extremely diverse, ranging from Pacific Island Countries and Territories with little or no ST&I capacity, Overseas Countries Territories with strong capacities, to New Zealand and Australia, which have numerous networks of research and innovation institutions. The EU, which maintains a long standing relationship with the Pacific, aims for enhancing its profile and reinforcing cooperation in ST&I with the region, in the perspective of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 Programme, and promote the development of mutually beneficial partnerships Considering the results of past and ongoing initiatives supporting the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, PACE-Net Plus will: - Support the EU-Pacific policy dialogue in ST&I, including dialogue on innovation issues. - Reinforce the EU-Pacific ST&I cooperation, focusing on 3 major societal challenges: 1) health, demographic change and wellbeing; 2) food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; and 3) climate action, resource use and efficiency, and raw materials; Encourage the coordination between the EU and Member States ST&I programmes and policies targeting the Pacific by promoting the implementation of joint actions. - Enhance the cooperation on innovation issues, by helping in bridging the gap between public and private sectors. The project will promote the idea of innovation as an essential mean for tackling global challenges and will respond to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and its Innovation Union Flagship Initiative. - Strengthen the Pacific-EU research cooperation partnerships, through the promotion of EC and MS&AC programmes, especially Horizon 2020, among Pacific research community, as well as the Pacific opportunities for European researchers.

Singh R.K.,University of The South Pacific | Ahmed M.R.,University of The South Pacific
Renewable Energy | Year: 2013

Small wind turbines operating at low wind speeds regularly face the problem of poor performance due to laminar separation and laminar separation bubbles on the blades. This is due to the low Reynolds number (Re) resulting from low wind speeds and small rotor size. The use of specially designed low Re airfoils permits start up at lower wind speeds, increasing the startup torque and thus improving the overall performance of the turbine. A new airfoil was designed and the performance of a 2-bladed rotor designed for low Re application fitted to an Air-X marine 400 W wind turbine was tested at a wind speed range of 3-6 m/s. The low Re rotor incorporated taper and twist to the low Re AF300 airfoil section. The pitch of the blades was varied over a range of 15°, 18° and 20° to study the performance and the startup wind speed. It was found that the turbine performed best at 18° pitch angle. On an average, the wind turbine yielded a power coefficient (C P) of 0.255 at a height of 8.22 m at a wind speed of 6 m/s at 18° pitch angle. Maximum C P based on 10 s data at the freestream velocity of 6 m/s was 0.291. The cut-in wind speed based on 10 s averaged data at the optimum pitch angle was 3.24 m/s whereas the instantaneous cut-in wind speed was 2.34 m/s. In comparison with the baseline 3-bladed rotor, the new 2-bladed rotor produced more electrical power at the same freestream velocity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Gale S.J.,University of The South Pacific | Hoare P.G.,University of The South Pacific
Holocene | Year: 2012

The term Anthropocene was coined to describe the present geological epoch, in which human activity dominates many of the processes acting on the surface of the Earth. The expression has been widely adopted, but remains informal and lacks precise definition. There have been several attempts to establish formal stratigraphic markers to define the start of the Anthropocene. Most recently, Certini and Scalenghe (Certini G and Scalenghe R (2011) Anthropogenic soils are the golden spikes for the Anthropocene. The Holocene 21: 1269-1274) have argued that the best markers are anthropogenic soils and that these may be used to identify the base of the Anthropocene in stratigraphic sequences. Unfortunately, soils fail to meet many of the criteria required for the establishment of stratigraphic 'golden spikes'. Their preservation potential is poor, many stratigraphically important environments do not experience pedogenesis and anthrosols do not always provide the stratigraphically lowest marker of human impact. In addition, there are practical and theoretical difficulties in defining the base of anthrosols and thus in identifying the start of the Anthropocene. More generally, the worldwide diachroneity of human impact makes it impossible to establish a single chronological datum for the epoch, raising questions about the value of stratigraphic methods in defining the base of the Anthropocene. More significantly, much of the work undertaken on the Anthropocene lies beyond stratigraphy, and a stratigraphic definition of this epoch may be unnecessary, constraining and arbitrary. It is not clear for practical purposes whether there is any real need for a golden spike at the base of the Anthropocene. The global stratigraphic approach may prove of limited utility in studies of human environmental impact. © The Author(s) 2012.

Chandra R.,University of The South Pacific
IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems | Year: 2015

Collaboration enables weak species to survive in an environment where different species compete for limited resources. Cooperative coevolution (CC) is a nature-inspired optimization method that divides a problem into subcomponents and evolves them while genetically isolating them. Problem decomposition is an important aspect in using CC for neuroevolution. CC employs different problem decomposition methods to decompose the neural network training problem into subcomponents. Different problem decomposition methods have features that are helpful at different stages in the evolutionary process. Adaptation, collaboration, and competition are needed for CC, as multiple subpopulations are used to represent the problem. It is important to add collaboration and competition in CC. This paper presents a competitive CC method for training recurrent neural networks for chaotic time-series prediction. Two different instances of the competitive method are proposed that employs different problem decomposition methods to enforce island-based competition. The results show improvement in the performance of the proposed methods in most cases when compared with standalone CC and other methods from the literature. © 2015 IEEE.

Thaman R.,University of The South Pacific
Pacific Conservation Biology | Year: 2014

Our ability to conserve biodiversity and to adapt to climate, environmental and economic change in the Pacific Islands will be greatly dependent on the conservation, restoration and enrichment of biodiversity within traditional multispecies agricultural land use systems. "Agrobiodiversity" is the most well-known, culturally-useful and accessible biodiversity on most islands and constitutes the most important foundation for ecosystem goods and services that support food, health, energy and livelihood security. This rich Pacific agrobiodiversity heritage, including associated ethnobiodiversity is highly threatened and deserves more prominence in mainstream conservation initiatives as a foundation for long-term sustainability. Such action is in line with Aichi Biodiversity Targets 7 and 13 which set goals for sustainable management of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and the maintenance of genetic diversity as critical for successful biodiversity conservation globally. It is also supported by the findings of the Japan Satoyama-Satoumi Assessment, which stresses the critical importance of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provided by traditional agricultural and village landscapes.

Thomas F.R.,University of The South Pacific
Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology | Year: 2014

Low coral island societies in the Pacific have always lived in a precarious environment. Consequently, some writers have stated that people living on atolls and table reefs must have devised effective conservation strategies. Predictions from three optimal foraging models in ethnographic contexts (patch choice, patch sampling, and risk) applied to shellfish gathering in Kiribati, Micronesia, do not support the assumption that human foragers are motivated by a desire to conserve resources. While historical ecology data are sparse, there is little to indicate that coral islanders in the past needed to practice conservation of marine resources, including shellfish. © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Ahmed M.R.,University of The South Pacific
International Journal of Energy Research | Year: 2012

The designers of horizontal axis wind turbines and tidal current turbines are increasingly focusing their attention on the design of blade sections appropriate for specific applications. In modern large wind turbines, the blade tip is designed using a thin airfoil for high lift:drag ratio, and the root region is designed using a thick version of the same airfoil for structural support. A high lift to drag ratio is a generally accepted requirement; however, although a reduction in the drag coefficient directly contributes to a higher aerodynamic efficiency, an increase in the lift coefficient does not have a significant contribution to the torque, as it is only a small component of lift that increases the tangential force while the larger component increases the thrust, necessitating an optimization. An airfoil with a curvature close to the leading edge that contributes more to the rotation will be a good choice; however, it is still a challenge to design such an airfoil. The design of special purpose airfoils started with LS and SERI airfoils, which are followed by many series of airfoils, including the new CAS airfoils. After nearly twodecades of extensive research, a number of airfoils are available; however, majority of them are thick airfoils as the strength is still a major concern. Many of these still show deterioration in performance with leading edge contamination. Similarly, a change in the freestream turbulence level affects the performance of the blade. A number of active and passive flow control devices have been proposed and tested to improve the performance of blades/turbines. The structural requirements for tidal current turbines tend to lead to thicker sections, particularly near the root, which will cause a higher drag coefficient. A bigger challenge in the design of blades for these turbines is to avoid cavitation (which also leads to thicker sections) and still obtain an acceptably high lift coefficient. Another challenge for the designers is to design blades that give consistent output at varying flow conditions with a simple control system. The performance of a rotating blade may be significantly different from a non-rotating blade, which requires that the design process should continue till the blade is tested under different operating conditions. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Feussner K.D.,University of The South Pacific
Natural product reports | Year: 2012

Over the past 30 years, approximately 140 papers have been published on marine natural products chemistry and related research from the Fiji Islands. These came about from studies starting in the early 1980s by the research groups of Crews at the University of California Santa Cruz, Ireland at the University of Utah, Gerwick from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of California at San Diego and the more recent groups of Hay at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) and Jaspars from the University of Aberdeen. This review covers both known and novel marine-derived natural products and their biological activities. The marine organisms reviewed include invertebrates, plants and microorganisms, highlighting the vast structural diversity of compounds isolated from these organisms. Increasingly during this period, natural products chemists at the University of the South Pacific have been partners in this research, leading in 2006 to the development of a Centre for Drug Discovery and Conservation (CDDC).

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