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UWI principal urges private, public sector union to help fund research

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 2:00 AMJason Cross
Professor Archibald McDonald, principal of UWI, Mona.

Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald, has encouraged Jamaica's private- and public-sector entities to consider partnering with the institution to help fund and promote research in the island.

Addressing the opening ceremony of UWI Research Day 2016, McDonald said such a partnership would facilitate Jamaica's ability as a developing nation to transcend economic growth and socio-political barriers.

"What we want to do is forge partnership, we want people to see what we are doing but, most importantly, we want people from both the private, as well as the public sector, to come and partner with us," he said.

"We can do the research but, really, for it to go into policy, or for it to be implemented, it needs members of the public and private sector to take it further."

McDonald added: "As a research community, we believe that it is our inherent duty to produce work that will facilitate positive change for our community, work that is guided by a single mission of improving the development capabilities of our island so that we can become key players in the international system."

UWI Research Days is a public showcase that demonstrates how key innovations and proper research can contribute to national and regional development.

Research Days, which started Wednesday and ends today, is taking place under the theme 'Driving Development through Research and Innovation'.

Over the three-day period, a total of 140 exhibitions are scheduled to be conducted by practitioners from various fields including law, governance and society, pharmaceuticals, institutions and infrastructure.

In addition to viewing the exhibitions, the public has also been granted the opportunity to directly engage with researchers and interact with the work on show.

A key focus of this year's staging is the potential wealth associated with the production of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.

"Due to the groundbreaking work of our exceptional scientists, we have proven that benefits for continued development of our country, provided by marijuana, far outweigh the negative and incorrect depiction that this drug has endured," McDonald said.

"More important, we are trying to establish a viable and profitable industry that will secure Jamaica's financial future."

The exposition allows investors, policymakers and stakeholders in the public and private sector to explore practical solutions to real-world challenges, developed through UWI Mona research.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com