Report on the 5th Papua New Guinea Research, Science & Technology Conference 2012

by Mr. Boe Lahui-Ako, Deputy Dean of Research, University of Papua New Guinea.

The Pacific Adventist University, Koiari Park Campus, 14 Mile along the Sogeri Road in the National Capital District, Port Moresby was the venue for the hosting of the 5th Papua New Guinea Research, Science & Technology Conference 2012 from the 25th – 29th June 2012. The theme for this conference was: Harnessing Science & Technology for Development: Meeting the PNG Vision 2050 Targets [see the PNG Vision 2050 strategic plan].

This conference attracted audience from Science & Technology researchers from all the six universities and research institutes as well as from the industries within Papua New Guinea. Keynote speakers were invited from Australia as well as from within Papua New Guinea to address key issues such as the fate of forests in Papua New Guinea which was presented by Professor William Laurance from the James Cook University in Australia. This paper highlighted the importance of conservation to preserve the variety of species that are unique to Papua New Guinea.

PACE-Net was well-represented at this Conference by Mr Boe Lahui-Ako, Deputy Dean of Research at the University of Papua New Guinea. Mr Lahui-Ako presented a paper titled: PACE-Net as a way to establishing collaborative research between Papua New Guinea and European researchers. The paper highlighted the key objectives of PACE-Net’s activities within the Pacific including Papua New Guinea, explained the FP7 programme as well as made a comparison between the key research thematic issues in Europe with the Pacific using the situational analysis findings conducted as part of the Work Package 1 and 2 and made an attempt to argue that there is a need to establish the key research thematic issues for Papua New Guinea alone so that research activities within the country especially in relation to Science & Technology are conducted within these areas. A PACE-Net/UPNG information booth was also set up to disseminate PACE-Net documents to those who attended the conference and were interested to know more about the activities of PACE-Net in the Pacific including Papua New Guinea.

For Research, Science & Technology 2050, Mr. Steven Matainaho from the Office of Higher Education highlighted some of the suggestions for immediate intervention and/ or integration to the National Higher Education Plan III 2013- 2017 [see also the PNG Mid-Term Development Plan, 2011-2015]. They are as follows:

  1. The establishment of the Research, Science and Technology Council in Papua New Guinea in 2012;
  2. Further articulation on the policies relating to Intellectual Property and Benefit Sharing;
  3. Support improvements to [an annual] National Research, Science & Technology Conference;
  4. Research Policy for institutions within Papua New Guinea covering issues such as Intellectual Property, Benefit Sharing models, Archiving of research work and Standardizing of research methodology; continued efforts for collaboration and publication locally and internationally; establishment of a Research and Education Network (PNGAARNET);
  5. Scholarship Support for Post Graduate Study; and
  6. Increased Research and Development Funding (5% of GDP).

To move this National Research Agenda forward, the Office of Higher Education has committed itself to increasing the funding of research activities in Papua New Guinea from K0.5 million in 2012 to K2.5 million in 2013.

At the close of the conference, it was announced that the 6th Papua New Guinea Research, Science & Technology Conference will be hosted by the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby. For further information on the 2013 Conference, please contact Mr. Boe Lahui-Ako, Deputy Dean of Research, University of Papua New Guinea on email: lahuib@upng.ac.pg or boe.lahui@gmail.com.

[This post is adapted from an article in the PACE-Net newsletter No.4, July 2012.]

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