The UWI co-hosts Commonwealth Science Conference with The Royal Society

by February 17, 2023

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is co-hosting the Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC) (Caribbean edition) with The Royal Society from February 7-9, 2023. The closed conference is being held at The Jamaica Pegasus under the overall theme of ‘Science For A Resilient Future’.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of some of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

The Conference meetings take place over three days (February 7-9) and are divided into three streams, broadly defined as ecosystems, energy systems and societal systems. Each stream has a programme of live talks followed by discussion sessions with speakers. There is also  the opportunity for plenary talks, panel discussions, a poster session, and informal networking opportunities.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Mona Campus Professor Dale Webber delivered remarks during the opening ceremony and conference attendees will hear from experts from around the world including UWI climate specialist, Professor Michael Taylor, who will present in the first session addressing eco-systems. Following the Climate Resilient Caribbean Renewable Energy systems, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles will be addressing the attendees on February 8 on ‘The link between colonialism, racial inequality and injustice in how climate change is experienced by citizens of small island states in the Caribbean’.

Also scheduled to present during the Social Systems Session sub-themed ‘Interrogating Inequalities In Policing And Prisoner: Reintegration’ is Dr Dacia Leslie, Research Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES). In the ‘Science In The Media’ session, Jamaican Author and Journalist, Petre Williams-Raynor will share her insights on media coverage on science-related matters. She will be joined by UWI Mona alum, Dr Czerne Reid, Senior Lecturer at the University of Florida and  a lifetime Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, cited for distinguished contributions to the communication of science.

Attendees will also participate in pre-conference tours related to the conference theme organized in partnership with UWI Solutions for Developing Countries (SODECO) and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) electricity company.

Speaking to the importance of this gathering, Professor Sir Robin Grimes, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, noted “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face today, and finding solutions requires a global effort. As the third Commonwealth Science Conference outlined, we need to work together to build resilience, not only in our ecosystems and energy systems, but also in our societal systems.”

Professor Terrence Forrester, Chief Scientist at UWI SODECO, who together with Professor Grimes led the development and  planning of the conference, agrees. He also notes that “Integral to the future resilience of the Caribbean will be a cadre of experts who can analyse the multi-dimensional nature of the challenge posed by climate change and propose innovative solutions.”

Flowing directly from the 2021 virtual CSC, the Caribbean follow-on meeting is designed to re-convene outstanding early career researchers (ECRs) that participated in the CSC from across the UK and the Caribbean.  The objectives of the conference are to build on and strengthen the scientific ties and networks previously formed at the CSC; to provide opportunities to continue discussions on the thematic areas and critical global challenges explored, and to equip delegates with the tools and experience required to bring their research findings to the heart of policy-making.

“We look forward to re-convening the outstanding early career researchers from across the UK and the Caribbean to share their ideas and experiences as they continue discussions around these key themes. We cannot lose momentum. Importantly, we need to equip this next generation of researchers with the tools and skills they need to bring their findings to the heart of global policy, to help drive the scientific innovation needed to face the critical challenges that affect us all.” Professor Grimes, said.

Other UWI academics chairing or speaking during the conference include Dr Legena Henry from The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Dr Jayaka Campbell and Dr Rose-Ann Smith from The UWI Mona Campus, Dr Wendell Wallace, Dr Luke Rostant, and Dr Amy Deacon from The UWI St Augustine Campus as well as Professor Corin Bailey from The UWI Centre for Criminal Justice and Security.