Day 1 of the consultations was attended by representatives of tertiary education institutions from CARICOM member states and centred on developing partnerships and shared understanding. On Day 2, international development partners joined in the discussion. Presentations highlighted (1) the Africa Centres for Excellence, supported by the World Bank, which provide a template for alignment of industry and academia; (2) building capacity for research and innovation among Caribbean Tertiary Level Institutions; and (3) facilitating the tertiary education sector’s support for CARICOM Governments through programmes and projects that address regional development needs.
During the consultations, The UWI invited international donors to increase their investment in research, in order to drive the innovation necessary to create competitive industries. A University Office of Academic-Industry Partnership has been established to drive this process, under the heading "UWI for Economic Growth".
The major outcomes of consultation included:
- Identification of opportunities for development programmes/projects
where regional approaches are likely to be more effective and efficient
- The need for a survey of tertiary level institutions to determine
strengths, weaknesses and areas of particular interest, and to identify
the institutions that have capacity to lead programmes/projects
- Identification of capacity-building required to improve
A Working Group chaired by Dr. David Rampersad (firstname.lastname@example.org) was formed to develop an action plan for presentation to the CARICOM Inter Sessional Heads of Government in February 2017. The plan, which will be formulated through continued consultation with International Development Partners, Tertiary Level Institutions, members of government and the private sector, as well as CARICOM representatives, will align with CARICOM's Human Resource Development Strategy 2030, as well as with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, to re-energize Caribbean growth.