The Regional Universities Network
The Regional Universities Network is intended to function as a “network of excellence” for research and education on sustainable energy. The expectation is that the network will be multi-institutional, multi-sector (university, private and public sector) and multi-national, with focus on the enhancement of the knowledge and capacity that is required to support innovation within the sustainable energy and related sectors in CARICOM countries. These network will allow participants to, inter alia: jointly define and share curricula and programmes; collaboratively develop agenda and projects for basic and applied research; and develop (or support the development of) policies and good practices related to the sector. Through the collaborative framework established, the network will be able to, more effectively, leverage grant and other resources that are earmarked for supporting sustainable energy actions within CARICOM.
By incorporating best practices from around the world and building on the existing strengths and unique aspects within the region, targeted programmes can allow universities in CARICOM to leapfrog existing approaches and create research and education ecosystems that are symbiotic with government and industry needs. The Network will allow institutions to develop research and education ecosystems much more rapidly than could be accomplished under “organic” or individual processes, which, when in place, can enable the transformations toward knowledge-based sustainable energy deployment that integrates with the social and economic sectors and serve the sustainable development needs of the people of the Caribbean. The Network is expected to play a key role in supporting regional innovation systems, especially in relation to policy, financing and engineering applications.
The Network would provide new collaboration partners and capabilities for research and educational programmes to its members, allowing each to focus on their areas of greatest strength, and focus on a results-oriented approach to addressing challenges and tapping emerging opportunities within the sustainable energy sector across CARICOM. As the regional energy markets evolve and expand, new business opportunities will emerge and the network is expected to play a critical role in supporting industry actors. The Network, by promoting cross-border collaborations between universities, can fosters intercultural dialogue and encourages the exchange of local knowledge.
In a long-term vision, the key role of the Network would be related to the establishment of joint research projects that reinforce regional information and knowledge, thereby providing decision-support to facilitate the development of regional initiatives, policies, projects and activities. Within the immediate term, the essence of the network will be in collaborative links among institutions, including networking events, personnel exchanges, and the joint development and delivery of curricula.