Pro Vice-Chancellor's Report - Graduate Studies and Research

Professor Dale Webber

Professor Dale Webber

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research

The graduate studies and research portfolios were fully merged in 2016, and the School for Graduate Studies and Research completed 78% of the 2012– 2017 Strategic Plan objectives. Some important objectives, including the Graduate GPA Policy, the Progress Tracker system, The UWI research/researcher database and continued operationalisation of the research clusters, have been adopted into the 2017– 2022 work plan.

Teaching, Learning and Student Development

Graduate Programmes

The Board approved 20 new graduate programmes, including the MEd Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment, MSc Data Science and MPhil/PhD Biomedical Engineering, while 24 programmes were revised, renewed or restructured.

Graduate Student Registration

Enrolment in graduate programmes declined by 4% to 9,870, largely due to a significant 36% decline for the Cave Hill Campus. The Open and Mona campuses experienced increases of 13% and 4%, respectively, with the online Management programmes and the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership programmes continuing to be among the more sought after offerings in the Open Campus.


A 37% increase in the UWI Graduate Scholarships budget to BDS$1,926,835 allowed for 36 three- year awards to research students across the three residential campuses. An additional scholarship was also granted for a student registered for the EdD programme in the Open Campus.

Funding and support continued for the four scholarships awarded under the UWI12+2 scholarship scheme to PhD students from St. Lucia, the Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands.

One student was awarded a CCRIF Scholarship, valued at US$11,000, to pursue studies at the Mona Campus. Under two agreements signed between The UWI and the OAS, 18 scholarships valued at US$7,000 each, were awarded to students from OAS Member States registered for select graduate degree programmes at all campuses.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) scholarship, tenable at The UWI to citizens of low/middle income Commonwealth countries, was awarded to a candidate from Kenya who will be pursuing the MSc in Statistics at the St. Augustine Campus. The first two ACU scholars both completed their Masters programmes with distinction.

Capacity Development Workshops/Seminars

The Campus Coordinators, Graduate Studies and Research, continued to undertake various initiatives and developmental activities including workshops on such topics as data analysis, the supervisor- student relationship from the student's perspective, understanding the Graduate Regulations, thesis writing and submission, and intellectual property. Training sessions were also held for academic staff to address topics including plagiarism and the use of the Turnitin software.

Quality Assurance

The Quality Assurance Unit organised and coordinated twelve disciplinary reviews during the 2016/2017 academic year. These included reviews of research and taught graduate programmes in those disciplines/ departments in which these programmes are offered. The newly-operationalised Quality Assurance Review Follow-Up Committee for Centre-funded Entities received Implementation Update reports from the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS).

International Operational Processes

Director, Graduate Studies and Research

The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research, continued to lead discussions with the campuses in relation to the repositioning of the post of Campus Coordinator, Graduate Studies and Research. There was success on the Mona Campus, with the appointment of a Director, Graduate Studies and Research (Professor Eldemire-Shearer). The Cave Hill and Open campuses were accepting of the proposal, and discussions were ongoing with the St. Augustine Campus.

Research and Innovation

Inter-Campus and International Collaboration

Several activities to encourage international and inter-campus collaboration for UWI researchers, and thereby to facilitate the operation of The UWI as one regional institution, were supported during the reporting period. These included provision of support for the visit of two members of staff from each of the other campuses to participate in The UWI Mona Research Days activities; convening a meeting of the Heads of The UWI Centre-funded research entities to highlight the importance of these entities to the structure and function of the University and to identify synergies and possible opportunities for partnership; co-sponsorship of an historic Outreach Event staged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the staging of an Exhibition at the event, under the theme "Investigating Climate; Inspiring Change!" which provided an account of the contributions of The UWI to Climate Change research.

The UWI Research Ethics Committee

The UWI Research Ethics Committee received reports on the proposal submissions considered by each Campus, with the 2016/2017 academic year reflecting 633 applications being received, reviewed and processed (74 from Cave Hill, 266 from Mona, 288 from St. Augustine and 5 from the Open Campus). Issues of exemptions and fast-tracking, as well as graduate student research, are areas being reviewed, with a view to updating the UWI Policy on Research Ethics.

Intellectual Property (IP) and Commercialisation

The UWI Intellectual Property Committee was operationalised, and two new Sub-Committees convened—the Invention Disclosures Committee, and the Commercialisation Committee.

A survey and analysis of all patents currently held by The University of the West Indies was undertaken to include identification of the researchers, date patent was applied for, when and where it was registered, cost of registration, annual patent registration cost, and progress towards commercialisation of the protected product or process.

Research Funding and International Partnerships

The University Office of Research continued its activities in providing support for staff for the preparation and submission of proposals for externally-funded research grants, managing and reporting on these grants, as well as working to influence future funding opportunities. Some examples of proposals submitted and grants subsequently won during the reporting period that involved the Office included:

  • 'Engaging Students in Sustainable Caribbean Cities (CITYLAB CAR)' (Donor: Erasmus+ 2017 Programme for Training and Mobility; Lead: The University of Antwerp (Belgium); Total Project Value: €750,000); 'Development of an Early Warning and Emergency Response System for Fishers' (Donor: Inter-American Development Bank; Lead: The UWI (St. Augustine and Cave Hill); Total Value: US$153,039.47); 'Excellence in Science and Innovation for Europe by Adopting the Concept of Responsible Research and Innovation' (Donor: EU, Horizon 2020: Research and Innovation Programme; Lead: Institut für Höhere Studien - Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Austria; Total Value: €6.8M); 'Preparedness, Research and Action Network on Maternal- Paediatric Axis of ZIKV Infection in Latin America and the Caribbean' (Donor: Horizon 2020, EU; Lead: Fondazione Penta—for the Treatment and Care of Children with HIV—Onlus, Italy; Total Value: €6.9M).

Specific examples of grants managed over the reporting period included:

  • Giving Focus to the Cultural Scientific and Social Dimensions of EU-CELAC Relations, funded by the EU through Horizon 2020; Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, funded by the EU through Horizon 2020; Guiding the Resettlement Process in Dominica following Hurricane Erika, funded by the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership; and Development and Evaluation of System Dynamics Methods to Engage with Policy Makers on the Prevention and Control of Diabetes in a Middle Income Region, funded by Medical Research Council, UK.

Management of Centres and Institutes

The School continued to oversee the operations of Centre-funded Institutes and Centres on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.


Increased Visibility of Regional Research Entities

As part of a marketing and communications project to highlight the activities of the regional research entities, a thirty-minute video was produced to reflect the research being conducted at the entities, with a focus specifically on activities geared towards fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals, and activities which are in keeping with The UWI's Strategic Plan. Discussions will be held with Caribbean Airlines with a view to having the video included in their inflight entertainment package. The video production will also be aired on public display screens across the various campuses. Research material from the entities will also be placed in magazines such as Caribbean Beat, the inflight magazine of Caribbean Airlines.

Support for Regional Governments

The Office completed and submitted a 212-page report to the Government of Dominica and the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Project to guide the selection of safer resettlement sites for the communities impacted, with loss of life, by Hurricane Erika. The Government has begun housing construction on some of the resettlement sites chosen, and has invited the University to undertake a second study which provides guidelines on the housing characteristics required and on the environmental impacts of the construction.

As a member of the Thematic Task Force and the Management Committee, the Office continued to work with CARIFORUM and the European Union on the selection of projects to be funded under the 11th Regional European Development Fund (EDF) Programme. A draft Concept Note entitled ‘Intra- Caribbean Academic Mobility Programme' has been developed by the Office of Research, in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Advancement and Internationalisation, St. Augustine, for preliminary discussions with CARIFORUM and the EU for possible funding under the 11th EDF.

The Office of Research also coordinates the University's response and participation in CARICOM's Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS), and is responsible for the Capacity Building and Research Thematic Working Group of the C-SERMS Platform.