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UTech Launches Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change

Published:Friday | March 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Andrew Wheatley (fourth right), minister of science, energy and technology, officially launches the University of Technology, Jamaica, multidisciplinary Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change on Thursday, March 2. Participating in the launch (from left) are Professor Thomas Bruckner, coordinating lead author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Germany; Martin Henry, project manager, School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship; Michael Dumke, chargé d’affaires, German Embassy; Dr Garfield Young, dean, Faculty of The Built Environment; Professor Stephen Vasciannie, president; Dr Ruth Potopsingh, AVP, Sustainable Energy, UTech, Jamaica; Dr Devon Gardener, programme manager for energy, CARICOM Secretariat; and Anja Schwerin, adviser on renewable energies and capacity building, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in the Dominican Republic.

The University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, through its Caribbean Sustainable Energy and Innovation Institute (CSEII) and the Faculty of The Built Environment (FOBE) have launched the multidisciplinary Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change.

The degree was developed in collaboration with technical and financial assistance from partner, the German Society for International Cooperation through the CARICOM Renewable Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Programme, and is the first programme of its kind to be offered in the Caribbean region.

The establishment of the programme is in response to the need for tertiary-level training of specialists in the areas of sustainable energy and climate change and has a strong focus on sustainable energy, entrepreneurship and green business development, areas critical to Jamaica's future development within the global economy and for the creation of new jobs and innovations in keeping with the Green Growth strategy of the Government.


No existing programme


Professor Stephen Vasciannie, president, UTech, Jamaica, in his welcome, noted that "there is no existing interdisciplinary training programme in the region adequately connecting energy systems, climate change, urban and regional planning, building design, natural resources management, human health or policy, and the potential green business and entrepreneurial opportunities they offer."

Underscoring that we cannot afford the luxury of being "climate change sceptics," Vasciannie pointed out that "with energy contributing 80 per cent of all CO2 emissions ... the twinning of sustainable energy and climate change in this master's programme reinforces the fact that energy and climate change are two sides of the same coin."

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley said that the country "welcomes the prospect of a larger home-based pool of sustainable energy and green economy academics, entrepreneurs, and other professionals," adding that "our development agenda has to be tailored with sustainability as a key objective".

The keynote address was delivered by Professor Thomas Bruckner, head of division, Sustainable Management and Infrastructure Economics, Fraunhofer Centre for Internal Management and Knowledge Economy IMW and Coordinating Lead Author, Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, Germany, who looked at opportunities and challenges associated with mitigating climate change through limiting greenhouse gas emissions at levels consistent with the goal of staying below 2O8C temperature change.

Presenting options for mitigation, Bruckner advised that this would require changes throughout individual country economies in such areas as energy-demand reduction, energy-efficiency improvements in industry practice, as well as in buildings design and maintenance and in the transportation sector, supported by regulatory approaches, information, and technology policies and voluntary actions.

Dr Ruth Potopsingh, associate vice-president, sustainable energy and head of the Caribbean Sustainable Energy and Innovation Institute, said that the curriculum would integrate multiple disciplines such as engineering, natural sciences, climate change, health and social sciences, law, economics, urban planning, and business. The modules are developed to advance the process of low carbon economic growth and development and include such areas as "Green Business and Green Growth," Energy Management in Buildings and Industry," "Energy and Environment Data Management", and "Green Entrepreneurship and Innovation," among others.

The 20-month course of study, which includes 160 hours of internship and an innovation-focused research project, is set to commence on May 1, 2017, with a target of 25 students. Entry requirement is a BSc/BA with at least a 2.7 GPA in the related disciplines of engineering, natural sciences, or social sciences. Candidates with five years' management-level experience in a relevant field may also apply.

Application forms are available on the university's website at