The agreement’s aim is to facilitate collaboration between staff, introduced joint research ventures and provide greater opportunities for student development.
The partnership, led by Associate Professor Collin Tukuitonga and Associate Professor Stephen Howie for the University of Auckland, and Associate Professor Donald Wilson for FNU, comes after 18 months of work.
“The Memorandum of Understanding is a way to formalise all of the work that the University of Auckland and FNU will do together moving forward,” Dr Howie says.
“It also opens the door for wider relationship-building as it is an ‘Institution to Institution’ agreement rather than ‘Faculty to Faculty’, so it brings with it huge potential. It is a concrete expression of the University’s Taumata Teitei vision for partnership in the Pacific region.”
FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr William May, said that the MoU provides FNU with the opportunity to engage in collaborative research on national and regional priorities, and to build teaching and research partnerships.
“This partnership aligns with our five-year strategic plan that articulates the importance of conducting research with real-world impact, and of our regional outlook and engagement,” he says.
The MoU has undergone extensive consultation, involving staff across both universities.
As an alumni of the Fiji School of Medicine and current staff at the University of Auckland, Associate Professor Tukuitonga is excited about what the partnership means for the region and for both universities.
“Fiji School of Medicine has been producing doctors and health workers for the region and is an icon, so to be able to align to share and support each other is fantastic,” he says.
“It gives space for more relationships and for better support for trainees around the region. The hope is that with this MoU being signed we will now be able to move forward with concrete actions that support both universities.”
Dr Wilson said it was a great beginning for FNU and one that would see tangible capacity being built in staff who supervise research.
“This MoU will begin a relationship of mutual benefits for both partners over the years; it will be a real benefit for the Pacific region,” he said.