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Research Office Scholars

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…]

Shamal Shivneel Chand

Shamal Shivneel ChandMaster of Commerce in Economics

Research Area: International Trade.

Current Research Summary:

My research area is International Trade with the thesis topic being as “Relationship between Foreign Direct Investment and Trade in Fiji: Finding the existence of linkages using econometric analysis”. Using the data from period 1980 to 2013 which is obtained from the World Bank database and UNCTAD, I would like to find the existence of two way linkages between FDI and trade in Fiji.[Read more…]

Sumeet Shivam Lal

Sumeet Shivam Lal

Master of Commerce in Economics

School: School Of Economics

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Research Area: Modern Analytical Demographics: Fertility transitions and its impact on current and future school Enrolment Rate in Fiji.

Current Research Summary:

The primary objective of the research is to investigate whether or not fertility decline in the future would also affect Fiji’s school enrolment rates. Considering the fact that Fiji is currently in stage 3 of the demographic transition, it would not be surprising to see extreme changes in the overall population composition of the country. The trend of declining births would also result in a significant decline/drop in the number of children entering into school system.[Read more…]

Wesley Steve Aru

Wesley Steve Aru

Name: Wesley Steve Aru

School: Economics

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Degree of Enrollment: Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce in Economics (progressing into Master’s thesis programme)

Research Area: Sustainable development and climate change

Current Research Summary:

My current research centres around an economic analysis of fuel consumption and its environmental impact associated with sea transport services in Vanuatu. In Vanuatu like other Pacific Island Countries (PIC’s), sea transport dominated other transport sectors contributing to trade and economic development, yet they are increasingly unaffordable, uneconomical and unsustainable.[Read more…]

Jerry Begg Siota

Jerry Begg Siota

Name: Jerry Begg Siota

School: Government, development & International Affairs

Faculty: Faculty of Business & Economics

Degree of Enrollment: Doctor of Philosophy

Research Area: Public Service Reform

Supervisors: Associate professor Dr. Paul Carnegie and Associate Professor Dr. Anand Chand.

Current Research Summary:

Organization Development (OD) as a model for Public Service Reform in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) using Solomon Islands Ministry of Public Service (SIMPS) as a case study. The rationale for study pertains to the fact that Researches has revealed OD more successful in Public service and developing countries than New Public Management (NPM) Model. However there is Non-existent study of OD in PICs. This begs the question, can OD as a field through its “planned change approach” improve service delivery in the public service in PICs? The case study of SIMPS will be the basis for this research.[Read more…]

Nikhil Avneet Singh

Nikhil Avneet Singh

Name: Nikhil Avneet Singh

School: School Of Engineering and Physics

Faculty: Faculty of Science Technology and Environment

Degree of Enrollment: Masters of Science in Engineering

Research Area: My Research area is Fractional Order Controller and Filter design which falls under control Systems Engineering in the field of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Supervisors: Dr. Utkal Mehta

Current Research Summary:

My Research area is Fractional Order Controller and Filter design which is a very latest research in the current era in control system Engineering. Many real dynamic systems are better characterized using a non-integer order dynamic model based on fractional calculus or, differentiation or integration of non-integer order. Traditional calculus is based on integer order differentiation and integration.[Read more…]

Anshu Prakash-Kumar

Anshu Prakash-Kum

Name: Anshu Prakash-Kumar

School: Biological and Chemical Sciences

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment

Degree of Enrollment: Masters of Science (Chemistry)

Research Area: Polymer Chemistry & Biomedical Engineering

Supervisors: Dr. David Rohindra

Co-Supervisor: Dr. Penny Martens (University Of New South Wales)

Current Research Summary:

My research work focuses to develop biocompatible blends using natural and synthetic polymers for tissue engineering applications. That is, to design a biomaterial with desired properties to be used as medical implants for tissue regeneration in biomedical fields. A medical implant is required to perform a function for a specific period of time, while the body heals itself.[Read more…]

Ulita Moce

Ulita Moce

Name: Ulita Moce

School: Pacific Center for Environment & Sustainable Development

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment

Degree of Enrolment: MSc in Climate Change

Research Area: Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change

Supervisors: Dr. Tammy Tabe

Current Research Summary:

Water plays an important role in water security to most pacific islands, and to many living resources both plants and animals. However water resources are under threat due to climate change impacts caused by anthropogenic process. Water resources is of great importance in Fiji because it provides the basis for drinking and cooking, it is a source of revenue and it supports agricultural, forestry, fisheries, tourism, mining actives and most importantly it provides energy. The increase in industrialized activities, agriculture and population growth have added pressure towards our water resources making them more vulnerable to climate change impacts. In addition, information on climate change and its impacts on water resources in Fiji is limited because it has been poorly studied. Water is an important basis of livelihood, yet there is still less research, done on this issue compared to studies on climate change impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Therefore this study aims to investigate and identify current impacts and threats of climate change on water security in rural areas in Fiji.[Read more…]

Akosita Muriwale Natadra Senimoli

Akosita Muriwale Natadra Senimoli

Name: Akosita Muriwale Natadra Senimoli

School: School Of Geography, Earth Science and Environment

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment

Degree of Enrolment: Masters of Science- Climate Change

Research Area: Socio-cultural factors that affected disaster response to TC Winston in the Ra province, Fiji.

Supervisors: Dr Helene Des Combe & Dr Tammy Tabe

Current Research Summary:

Fiji is located in an area prone to cyclones. On average, at least one cyclone moves across the Fiji group in one year. In the past few decades, Fiji has experienced a number of devastating cyclones with associated floods. These disasters have had devastating impacts on agriculture, education, transport, infrastructure, water, electricity, housing, and has affected people’s livelihood. The impacts of Cyclone Winston has proven that our rural communities are vulnerable to these cyclones. This research focuses socio-cultural factors that affected disaster response during TC Winston in two rural communities in the Ra province. The study aims to compare how socio-cultural factors influenced disaster response in the two communities.[Read more…]

Kunal Singh

Kunal Singh

Name: Kunal Singh

School: School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment

Degree of Enrolment: MSc Environmental Science

Research Area: Paleo-climatological analysis of sedimentary and geological data from a lake in Taveuni and enhancing extreme climatic event predictions in the region.

Supervisors: Dr. Michelle McKeown & Dr. Eleanor John

Current Research Summary: Paleoenvironments provide a unique opportunity to assess the temporal and spatial characteristics of climate variability prior to anthropogenic forcing. The “paleo” approach has provided significant surprises concerning climate change, changes in atmospheric chemistry and the response of natural systems to climate variability (Committee on Global Change Research, 1999).

My research aims to look at the climatological records of Fiji through lake coring, by analyzing the sedimentary, biological and geological aspects of the archives. I intend to make projections of extreme events such as tropical storms, volcanoes and explain meteorological phenomenon based on these proxy records. This study will enhance the predictability of sub-decadal climatic events and provide insights into the different natural and anthropogenic mechanisms which control climate variability.[Read more…]

Carline Denise Bentley

Carline Denise Bentley

Name: Carline Denise Bentley

School: School of Economics

Faculty: Faculty of Business and Economics

Degree of Enrollment: Masters of Commerce in Economics

Research Area: Economic Growth

Current Research Summary:

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was established by the United Nations in the year 2000 dedicated to 8 international goals to be achieved by 2015. Focusing on health, education, nutrition, food security and poverty eradication, driven toward the most poorest, and developing countries. While, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be effective between 2015 and 2030 are more diverse and aim at focusing on all countries, not only the poorest, through addressing the well-being of every individual world-wide and is driven on the idea of equity amongst the most disadvantaged groups. However, many of the goals in the MDGs are also part of SDGs. This research will outline the relationship between off-track sustainable development goals and economic growth in specific Pacific Island Countries, inferring that these goals do not only improve social well-being of a country but also economic-wellness. Since different countries have different drivers of growth, some of these goals will improve economic growth, however some may be shown to have no effect.[Read more…]

Paayal Kumar

Paayal Kumar

Name: Paayal Kumar

School: School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Faculty: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment

Degree of Enrolment: Masters of Science in Chemistry

Research Area: Marine Natural Products Chemistry

Supervisors: Dr. Katy Soapy

Current Research Summary:

Drug discovery offers a bright future for marine biotechnology research. In the last decades, metabolites from marine samples have been extracted and isolated in order to test them in different bioassays and assess their potential to fight human diseases. My project is based on the Fijian Sea Hare, Dolabella auricularia, a mollusc species that have attracted many researchers who are interested in the chemical defense mechanisms of these soft and shell-less snails. It is a large (~ 500 g), herbivorous, opisthobranch gastropod that exists in various colors and is widely distributed on the mudflats in Fiji Islands; usually thrives in areas that are sheltered from rough currents.[Read more…]