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Research Seminar Series

The Research Seminar Series is organised by the Research Office to highlight the range of research projects being undertaken at the University. This Seminar Series will stretch across all faculties and research areas and showcase the work being undertaken by each campus.

The Research Seminars are open to everyone: University staff, students, professionals, and visitors from other educational establishments. Attendance is free. 

Seminar 1 - Endangered Hammerhead Sharks Find Life and Sanctuary in Fiji 

Speaker: Professor Ciro Rico

Escaping the killing fields of international waters which see fishermen slaughtering 100 million sharks per year, the endangered hammerheads sharks are finding protection, solace and a second chance at life in the estuaries of Fiji. 

The University of the South Pacific has established a research-informed conservation program to respond to this human-driven unprecedented rate of loss of a marine life.

In 2016, the efforts of USP paid off, with the discovery of the Rewa River Delta and the Ba Estuary, in totality, as the largest and probably the most important nursery grounds for the species ever documented in the scientific world.

The research team, led by Professor Ciro Rico, has involved the Fiji Government in the research with the aim to declare these estuaries as marine protected areas.

In this fascinating presentation on a species at the edge of extinction, Professor Rico and his team, who are literally the saviour of hammerhead sharks, will relate their findings, experiences and hopes for the future.  They will also show a BBC documentary on their noteworthy efforts that deserve international support and recognition.



Date: 28 February 2018 (Wednesday)
Time: 6pm – 8pm.
Venue: Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, USP

Presentation video – click here

Presentation press release – USP News

Seminar 2 - Sustainable Tourism Management: Lessons from Antarctica

Speaker: Associate Professor Thomas Bauer

To a South Pacific islander, it is like comparing the frigid Jupiter and the warm Earth! What is there to compare between the wind-whipped and icy barren landscape that is Antarctica, and the warm paradisiac South Pacific, with golden sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and lagoons filled with colorful reef fishes and turtles?
The Acting Head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality, Associate Professor Thomas Bauer, will provide a fascinating counter argument. That indeed, our tourism-dependent islands can learn from the BEST in the world in sustainable tourism management. Antarctica’s harshness, beauty, and rich wild life, and at the same time, acute vulnerability to human-induced activities, demand stringent actions from stakeholders to ensure sustainable tourism.
In this fascinating story of the wild, Associate Professor Bauer will share his first hand experiences he gained during his 27 years of Antarctica tourism involvement. He will tell the story of the highest, coldest, driest, windiest and remotest of continents and how the stakeholders have to work together to sustainably manage tourism so that the present and future generations of humankind can enjoy and as well to continue to protect this God-given gift to humankind.
For South Pacific island countries, learning from the best can only help solidify and continue their status as the most preferred and safest family-oriented destinations in the world.

Date: 21 March 2018 (Wednesday)
Time: 6pm – 8pm.
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Lecture Theatre, USP

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Seminar 3 - World Energy Transformation - Celebrating the Pacific, Shaping the Future

Speaker: Dr. Gong Ping Yeh

Sustainable Energy is the greatest human challenge, responsibility, opportunity, and endeavor. Renewable energies greatly benefit national and world security, economy, environment, education, water, food, health, and vital keys to reducing global warming and climate change. Organisations, companies, institutions, universities, governments, and countries worldwide are moving forward to use renewable energies. Tremendous progress in solar energy, Wind power, Hydropower, Bio fuels, Electric Vehicles, Batteries, Hydrogen fuel, Energy Storage, Electric Grids, Ocean energies, Geothermal, other renewable energies, and improving energy efficiencies will continue in the next decades. The 21st Century is the Century of Sustainable Energy. The Pacific Island Countries can lead the wonderful World Energy Transformation. 

Date: 18 April 2018 (Wednesday)
Time: 6pm – 8pm.
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Lecture Theatre, USP

Presentation: click here

Presentation press release – USP News

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Seminar 4 - Every Teacher is a Design Scientist

Speaker: Professor Som Naidu

Teachers are more than subject matter experts, and teaching is a lot more than about communicating the subject matter to the learners. Great teachers have always known this – that their role is not to simply teach subject matter content but to teach their learners. Teaching is about developing productive learning experiences for learners. Seen in this way, teachers are design scientists because their main role is to design productive learning experiences to put learners in environments where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions. A progressive nation recognises this critical role of teachers and helps them achieve it.

In this fascinating talk on how to empower teachers at all levels – from the elementary to the tertiary sectors, Professor Som Naidu, a world-renowned scientist on the integration of technology, pedagogy and subject matter content will take us through the complex interplay of concepts and ideas around the role of teachers and teaching to help us uncover the knowledge that is required to help teachers realise their true role as Design Scientists – people who are architects and engineers of the design of effective, efficient and engaging learning and teaching experiences.

Professor Som Naidu, currently the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Flexible Learning and Director, Center for Flexible Learning, USP, was a curriculum development officer in the Fiji Ministry of Education before embarking on a successful career overseas in tertiary education in a variety of jurisdictions. This included serving as Assistant Professor of Educational Technology (Concordia University, Montreal), Associate Professor of Educational Technology and Multimedia Education and Head of Research and Evaluation (University of Melbourne), Associate Professor and Director of Teaching and Learning Quality Enhancement (Charles Sturt University, NSW), and Associate Professor (Learning Transformations) (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne).

Date: 30 May 2018 (Wednesday)
Time: 6pm – 8pm.
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Lecture Theatre, USP

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Seminar 5 - Bacterium: An Unlikely Ally in the Pacific's Battle Against Mosquito-Borne Disease


Speaker: Ms Kate Retzki
World Mosquito Program (WMP)

There are an estimated 390-million dengue infections around the world every year – more than a million a day. Add to that the impact of chikungunya and Zika viruses and you can imagine the burden these diseases place on affected communities and public health systems.

The World Mosquito Program (WMP) is a not-for-profit initiative that works to protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases. Their Wolbachia method is a safe, natural and effective way to combat the threat of dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Wolbachia are natural bacteria present in up to 60% of insect species, including some mosquitoes. However, Wolbachia is not usually found in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya. For many years, scientists have been studying Wolbachia, looking for ways to use it to potentially control the mosquitoes that transmit human viruses. Research by WMP has shown that when introduced into the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Wolbachia can help to reduce the transmission of these viruses to people. This important discovery has the potential to transform the fight against life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases.

In 2017 the Australian Government’s innovationXchange announced funding for WMP projects in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. In this fascinating talk, Ms. Kate Retzki, the Communications and Community Engagement Adviser for the World Mosquito Program’s Pacific Implementation Team, will shed light on this intriguing methodology where bacteria could be part of the solution to this public health crisis, and its implementation across the Pacific.

Date: 27 June 2018 (Wednesday)
Time: 6pm – 8pm.
Venue: Japan-Pacific ICT Multi-Purpose Lecture Theatre, USP

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