THREE Fijian universities signed an agreement establishing the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN) last Wednesday.
Comprising of 11 universities from around the Pacific including USP, FNU and the University of Fiji, PIURN hopes to improve communication and collaboration between Pacific Island universities.
Some of the network's goals are to develop shared research training initiatives, strengthen the quality and quantity of research, and using the knowledge to benefit Pacific Island communities.
PIURN director Prof Jito Vanualailai said the network would also avoid duplication of results, and help universities overcome challenges that would be faced if they were working individually.
Prof Vanualailai said according to a survey, governments in the Pacific did not tend to consider research a critical activity to solving national issues, citing that many nations did not have a National Research Council.
"PIURN aims to promote research as a critical undertaking if we are to solve our myriads of problems effectively," he said.
"Among our prioritised activities, we intend to help create national research councils with the ultimate aim of forming a regional research council to support research in the region."
The universities involved will provide funding for the network, with universities giving different amounts in regards to their size and student numbers.
Similar networks of universities are established in regions such as the University Consortium of Small Island States in the Caribbean and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations University Network.