UWI and Missouri State sign MOU

Research to begin investigating how climate and other factors affect livelihoods and wellbeing

Continuing its global strategy of critical collaboration and partnerships with world-class universities, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Missouri State University (MSU) in the US to promote Sustainable Community Development, education and research.

The MOU provides a framework to broaden and deepen The UWI’s relationship with MSU, which boasts operating the highest-power university research reactor in the USA. MSU has also been working for more than a decade in Jamaica in areas such as geology, sustainable tourism, watershed/water quality management, bay bathymetry-coral reef/sea grass mapping, beach erosion-deposition trends and river response to big floods. This partnership will increase opportunities for engagement and exchange for students and faculty of both institutions.

The execution of the MOU—which is for a period of five years, effective September 2020—will be led by the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) at The UWI and the Office of International Programs at MSU. Commenting on the partnership, Coordinator of the ISD, Dr David C Smith, acknowledged that the signing “is particularly timely given the challenges being experienced in the wake of the current pandemic, climate change and severe weather events.” He added, “A range of possibilities have been under discussion for some time and are still ongoing. However, there is a strong interest in working on Sustainable Community Development and discovering how climate and other factors affect livelihoods and wellbeing.”

Work between the two Universities is expected to begin with attention on how the Sustainable Development Goals can be applied to improve human wellbeing in a rural coastal town in Jamaica. According to Dr Smith, “Guided by national COVID-19 protocols, we are in the process of determining the most reasonable course of action in the short term for all stakeholders – including the communities we work with.”