The Floating University for the Pacific Islands is a proposed platform for early-career scientists from Pacific Island nations to explore and resolve the key issues affecting their countries and communities. It will combine western science and indigenous and traditional knowledge, over time creating a community of scientists who will be able to draw upon one another’s expertise throughout their careers.
The ocean sustains and connects Pacific Island nations and communities. Along with natural hazards, such as tsunamis, challenges such as sea level rise, ocean acidification and marine debris all impact the well-being of Pacific Island communities. There is an urgent need for Pacific Island nations to understand the changing ocean and how these changes, challenges and threats are undermining the resilience of island communities. Despite the efforts of regional organisations, donors, and other partners, we need to find a better way for Pacific Island nations to develop their own science capacity. With a greater ability to understand ocean systems and emerging challenges, Pacific Island nations will be able to make more informed decisions about how to progress toward a sustainable and resilient future. Ocean science is an expensive undertaking and Pacific Islanders currently have limited opportunities to pursue ocean science careers, and fewer still opportunities to participate in operations and research at sea.
NIWA, in collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC), is supporting the development of the Floating University for the Pacific Islands Programme.