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Research Office Alumni

Agnes David Yeeting

AgnesName: Agnes David Yeeting

School: Marines Studies

Faculty: FSTE

Degree of Enrollment: PhD

Research Area: Fisheries (Tuna) – State and Private (Market and NGOs) Governance Arrangements.

Supervisor: Vina Ram-Bidesi

Current Research Summary: This PhD research is using a New Institutional Economics (NIEs) approach to integrate approaches from economics, law and social and political sciences to understand and examine the political dynamics of participating agents and parties in the tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific. Recognising the dynamic and different interests that continue to influence decisions in fisheries policy, the research focuses on how cooperation [Read more…]

Alvin Abinesh Lal

Alvin Lal Masters Candidate

 Current Research Summary:

Geophysics is the application of physics principles to the study of the Earth. This research studies the occurrence and characteristics of a hot springs system at Rabulu, Tavua using passive geophysical methods. Geophysical methods are undergoing rapid development and successfully solving problems of environment exploration, mineral prospecting and engineering applications. Application of such methods has demonstrated cost savings through reduced design uncertainty and lower investigation costs.[Read more…]

Andreas Kopf

PhD candidateAndreas Kopf

Research Area: Grassroots understanding, perception, and adaptation to current and future climate variability and change: Insights from the Fiji Islands.

Current Research Summary:

The South Pacific region, together with other “Small Islands Developing States” (SIDS), is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change. The consequences of global warming are already evident and will continue to increase: Rising sea level, more frequent and intense tropical cyclones, increasing floods and droughts, increased storm surges, ocean acidification, rising land and sea surface temperature combined with pressures from other human–induced socio-environmental issues are making the livelihoods of its people increasingly vulnerable and threaten the sustainability of the way of Pacific … [Read more…]

Ashlyn Sheena Lal

SheenaName: Ashlyn Sheena Lal

School: School of Social Science

Faculty: Faculty or Arts, Law & Education.

Degree of Enrolment: Masters Programme (Psychology).

Research Area: Psychology: Pacific Culture and Societies.

Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence in Fiji: The Impact of LGBT Type and Participant Ethnicity

Supervisors: Dr Neeta Ramkumar

Current Research Summary:

While there has been no direct empirical examination of sexual prejudice (i.e., prejudice based on sexual orientation) in Fiji, a review of various incidents, public statements, and religious policies suggest that such attitudes are pervasive. For example, in April 2004, two men in Fiji were sentenced to two years in prison for homosexual conduct. There was also evidence that the convictions led to increased violence against gay men in Fiji (Gay.Com, 2005). Additionally, in 2012, a gay pride march was cancelled by the police on the morning of the event. Although the new Fiji constitution [Read more…]

Ashneel Chandra

Ashneel ChandraMasters Candidate Research Area: Tropical cyclone morphology using VLF radio waves techniques Current Research Summary: This research is aimed at studying the electrical property of tropical cyclones (TCs). Lightning is a visible evidence of the electrical activity of TCs. During lightning, lightning generated sferics (VLF radio waves; 3-30 kHz) are produced and these sferics propagate in the Earth-ionosphere waveguide (EIWG) being detected by VLF sensors. One of these VLF sensors is located in USP, with research headed by Dr. Sushil Kumar. This research is focused on lightning occurrences within [Read more…]

Atishnal Elvin Chand

Atishnal(1)Name: Atishnal Elvin Chand

School: School of Engineering & Physics

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment

Degree of Enrollment: MSC

Research Area: Physics

Supervisor: Dr . Sushil Kumar

Current Research Summary:

My research focus is on the D-region ionosphere modeling and my proposed thesis topic is “Modal interference and perturbation of sub-ionospheric VLF signals received at Suva”.

In particular, I am interested in estimating the VLF Modal Interference Distance (D) using the East-West and West-East propagations received at Suva. Moreover…[Read more…]

Elenoa Kamanalagi Seru

Elenoa SeruPhD Candidate Research Area: Psychosocial stressors and depression in the I-Taukei population Current Research Summary: Fiji is best known as a paradise island country, and if it is so, the rate of depression is expected to be much lower than other developing and developed country. However, it might not be so, considering the situation we have experienced over the past 20 years. As a psychologist and reading the available literature a greater exposure to modernization was associated with an [Read more…]

Genevieve Geetanjali Jiva

GenevieveName: Genevieve Geetanjali Jiva

School: School of Government, Development and International Affairs

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Degree of Enrollment: Masters

Research Area: United Nations and Decolonization in the Pacific

Supervisors: Dr. Nicola Baker

Current Research Summary:

Currently I am at the research proposal development stage. I am reading literature that is related to my area of interest and working on developing a comprehensive draft…[Read more…]

George D. Hoa’Au


Name: George D. Hoa’Au

School: School of Government, Development and International Affairs

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Degree of Enrolment: PhD (Politics, Diplomacy and International Affairs)

Research Area:

Pacific Regional Governance and Legitimacy: Inclusion and Participation of Civil Society and the Private Sector

Supervisors: Associate Profs.  Sandra Tarte (USP) and Greg Fry (ANU)

 Current Research Summary:

This research aims to conduct an investigation into the question, why has Pacific regional governance had a continuing problem with legitimacy, and what has consequently affected its effectiveness? In the Pacific island region, the problem has led to new models being experimented on by the region’s premier organisation, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the recently established Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF). As such,[Read more…]

Harshna Charan

Harshna CharanMasters Candidate Research Area: Effect of temperature and nutrients on the growth and reproduction of invasive seaweed Current Research Summary: My research is about how temperature and nutrients could possibly affect the growth of two invasive species namely Sargassum polycystum and Gracillaria edulis in the future. If these two variables do indeed play a part in their growth then they could be a serious threat to the biodiversity in future. The prevalence [Read more…]

Janice Sandra Mani

JaniceName: Janice Sandra Mani

School: School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering

Degree of Enrolment: MSc

Research Area: Chemistry

Supervisors: Dr. Matakite Maata (Principal Supervisor), Dr Katy Soapi (Co-supervisor)

Current Research Summary:

Sewage sludge production from sewage treatment plants is ever increasing due to the growing population and is becoming a growing area of research because of its potential in recycling nutrients. This is mainly due to its high nutrient content and its threat to the environment which involves the release of methane gas and its high heavy metal content. According to several studies [Read more…]

Jesslyn Kumar

Jesslyn KumarMasters Candidate Research Area: Climate Change and Marine Microorganisms Current Research Summary: My research involves climate change and microorganisms. Climatic conditions such as temperature have an effect on the marine microorganisms especially the endophytic actinomycetes associated with algae, its growth and production of secondary metabolites. Both marine algae and actinomycetes associated with it are a source of chemical compounds that produce a wide variety of biologically active compounds which is the target for production of new drugs against human diseases. Aditionally, Endophytic actinomycetes [Read more…]

Krishneel Kumar Sharma

Krishneel SharmaMasters Candidate

Current Research Summary:

My research attentions on investigation of rebar corrosion using Non-destructive techniques (NDT) to assess structural integrity and complex porosity of concrete. Recent attention on effects of climate change in the Pacific Island Countries (PIC’s) has focused on a multitude of areas which are at risk in the Pacific region.These include food security, flora and fauna, land accessibility, groundwater contamination and etc. All these aspects are essential for sustainable development of the small island states in the Pacific region.[Read more…]

Michael Otoara Ha’apio

MichaelName: Michael Otoara Ha’apio

School: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development

Faculty: Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and International

Degree of Enrolment: Doctor of Philosophy

Research Area: Analysing aversive strategies to cope with risks from extreme environmental events in the Pacific from a case study in the Solomon Islands.

Current Research Summary:

My research is on the impact of environmental extreme events on selected communities in the Solomon Islands and analysing factors which lead communities taking alternate   aversive strategies to cope with these disastrous environmental events. I studied how people have responded to the flash flood in Honiara, April 2014 and what were some of the intuitions which lead the communities of Modo, Ranogha Island Western Province which were affected by Tsunami in 2007 to have settled in their new community [Read more…]

Nishael Navnita Raj

NishaelName: Nishael Navnita Raj

School: School of Social Sciences

Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education

Degree of Enrolment: Masters Candidate

Research Area: Prosocial Responses towards a Female Facing a Career Setback: Moderating Role of Gender-Norm Violation and Blatant Sexism in the Workplace

Supervisor: Dr. James Johnson

Current Research Summary: This study will involve one of the first examinations of the extent that gender role violation will influence emotional responses (i.e., empathy) in a non-western country (i.e., Fiji). There will also be an assessment of which factors (e.g., attribution of responsibility, hostile sexism) might underlie the impact of gender role violation on empathic responding. This research will [Read more…]

Patricia Loga

PatriciaName: Patricia Loga

School: School of Management and Public Administration

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Degree of Enrollment: Post-Graduate Diploma in Commerce (awaiting confirmation of application for Masters of Commerce)

Research Area: Public Administration

Supervisors: Associate Professor Anand Chand

Current Research Summary: (Has not been submitted for approval yet)

Public Sector Reforms are not novel concepts in the management world. Change is inevitable and given that the world is now perceived as a ‘global village’, it is not new that changes from developed countries are having a ripple effect into the Pacific. One such reform in Fiji’s public sector [Read more…]

Peni Hausia Havea

Peni HaveaPhD Candidate Research Area: Climate Change and Its Impacts Current Research Summary: My research is looking at how climate change affect the people of Tonga’s livelihoods, health and well-being at the aged 15 to 75 using mixed methods study. The study aims to provide a better understanding on how climate change impacts livelihoods, health and well-being by using “Concurrent Convergence Parallel Triangulation Design” as a guide. The study sites in Tonga are Kanokupolu [Read more…]

Poliana P. Fa’oliu-Havea

Poliana PicName: Poliana P. Fa’oliu-Havea

School: School of Education

Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Law and Educatio

Degree of Enrolment: Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Research Area: AKO and VA’INGA: A Tongan Conceptualisation of the Playing and Learning Child – Implications for Learning in the Early Years

Supervisors: Dr Cresantia F. Koya-Vaka’uta and Dr David W. Gegeo

Current Research Summary:

The early years (ages 0-8) are of prime importance in the holistic development of young children. At this stage, children often engage in a sequence of spontaneous (free) and structured va’inga (play) intensifying their ability and opportunity to develop. Children’s elevated ability to learn (ako) is a beneficial outcome of that development so the universal notion that va’inga contributes to early learning, of it being a useful and powerful learning tool and strategy within the home and school environment and the need for it to be examined within specific cultures stimulated this study… … [Read more…]

Poonam Pritika Devi

Poonam DeviMasters Candidate

Research Area: Empirical assessment of environmental sustainability in Suva, Fiji Islands

Current Research Summary:

Urbanization is a major process in the Pacific region, and it has many challenges connected to it. Continuous rural to urban migration has resulted in overpopulation of urban areas, which has put environment sustainability at risk. Environment sustainability is a deficient factor in the management of Fiji’s urban settlements. Failure to notice this leads to environment degradation which will become worse as more people move into urban areas. [Read more…]

Robson S Tigona

RobsonName: Robson S Tigona

School: School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment (SGESE)

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE)

Degree of Enrolment: PhD

Research Area: Improving Seasonal Rainfall Prediction in the Southwest Pacific (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga)

Supervisors: Dr.Michelle Mckeown (USP), Prof. Elizabeth Hollan (USP), Associate Prof. Neil Holbrook (University of Tasmania), Dr. Tony Weir (Adjunct fellow, USP)

Current Research Summary:

This PhD research project will focus on seasonal rainfall in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga and its relationship with the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO is a tropical equatorial Pacific Ocean based climate phenomena with global significance. It is known to affect climatic variability, particularly rainfall, especially in the Pacific basin but in other regions of the world. For example, 47% of annual rainfall variability at Anelgauhat climate station in Southern Vanuatu is attributed to ENSO (Tigona and de Freitas, 2012). The state and strength [Read more…]

Shereen Begg


Masters Candidate

Current Research Summary:

Global warming is likely to increase the frequency and severity of floods due to the collective impacts of increased precipitation, storminess, distorted regional weather patterns and rising sea levels. These risks are even more relevant for Pacific Island Countries given the fact that majority of human settlements are located near coastal areas. This study focuses on how investors make decisions about housing investment. It aims to create awareness amongst the households and investors about the increasing risks on the housing environment located in low-land areas. The hedonic pricing method is  [Read more…]

Sotiana Leba Mele

*Name: Sotiana Leba Mele

School: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development

Faculty: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development

Degree of Enrolment: Masters in Climate Change

Research Area: The value of Traditional Knowledge to achieve sustainable livelihoods in adaptation strategies to Climate Change. The Case Studies: Narikoso & Vunidogoloa villages in Fiji

Supervisors: Dr Keith Morrison and Dr Eberhard Weber

Current Research Summary: Indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to climate change; however they can also offer valuable contributions as solutions to climate change. The Pacific communities depend heavily on locally and traditionally managed resources for their source of livelihood, and so the safeguarding of the resources to ensure that the current and future generations have means of survival is of utmost importance. The Pacific is known for its traditional knowledge but these facets have not yet been well implemented together into policies and decision making. To date, research data had been [Read more…]

Subhash Chand

Subhash ChandMasters Candidate

Research Area: Analysing of coastline changes in Ra province using multi-scale and multi-temporal remote sensed imagery and GIS.

Current Research Summary:

The coastal zones are important for economic and social landscapes but they are a very vulnerable environment. Changes caused by accretion and erosion are detectable after several years and are important for coastal zone management (Perez-Gonzalez, 2008). As coastal populations continue to grow along the coastlines, community and infrastructures are threatened by the active nature of coasts which means an increase in demand [Read more…]