UTech, Jamaica & UWI Partner to Host Virtual Science and Technology Conference - FORECAST 2022

UTech, Jamaica and UWI Partner to Host Science and Technology Conference – FORECAST

The Frontiers of Research in Caribbean Science and Technology (FORECAST) Conference is the premier science and technology academic conference in the Caribbean region, held in partnership with The UWI (Cave Hill, Mona, and St. Augustine campuses) and the University of Technology, Jamaica. The conference will be convened during August 10–12, 2022, under the theme Science and Technology: a D.R.I.V.E.R. of Transformation. It will explore how science and technology can facilitate and catalyse transformation through Development, Resilience, Innovation, Vision, Entrepreneurship, and Renewal (D.R.I.V.E.R.).

This three-day Conference aims to highlight science and technology as pillars for regional transformation through new scientific research and discourse, strengthening foundational knowledge and skills, as well as driving innovation, entrepreneurship, and resilience in the pursuit of greater socio-economic development.

Students, academics, and professionals from tertiary institutions, as well as, the public and private sectors in the wider Caribbean region and beyond, were invited to submit abstracts detailing original scientific research findings of regional importance. Over sixty-five (65) oral and poster presentations are drawn from areas in the medical, natural, and social sciences, including pure and applied research, technological and scientific innovation, STEM policy and education, as well as industrial and developmental findings, will be delivered. Interdisciplinary and development research submissions will be especially highlighted.

The Conference will also include the 2nd Student Grand Innovation Challenge, under the theme, "Water." Secondary and tertiary students within CARICOM were challenged to "develop a feasible solution (prototype/product/concept) that will revolutionize the management and use of water resources in the Caribbean region," in order to get a chance to access cash prizes and mentorship that will facilitate the development of ideas into tangible solutions. The top submissions will be presented and judged at the conference.

The UWI, Mona Campus, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dale Webber, in registering his delight at the 2nd staging of the Conference said, "We are extremely pleased with the strategic partnership forged between the Cave Hill and the St. Augustine campuses, as well as the University of Technology to host this regional tertiary science and technology conference where academia, government, and industry will partner around STEM as a D.R.I.V.E.R of Transformation.”

"The conference," Prof. Webber said, "will serve as a platform to collaborate, network, and explore new scientific ideas as local, regional, and international partners converge to actively engage in riveting discussions that treat multidisciplinary areas of science to foster regional growth and development."

In 2022, during a year designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, the conference is not only timely but provides a platform for Caribbean science to be further transmitted, explored, and recognised as a reference point for deriving solutions for society, industry, and the economy whilst achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Professor Colin Gyles, President (Acting), University of Technology, Jamaica said, "The University of Technology, Jamaica is honoured to be partnering with The UWI’s Mona, Cave Hill, and St. Augustine campuses for the staging of FORECAST 2022." The collaboration, he noted, provides a critical and timely opportunity to bring renewed regional focus on Science and Technology as drivers for development, particularly as the Caribbean region and other global economies seek to rebound from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The collaboration between our two institutions to share new and emerging research and knowledge in Science and Technology augurs well for spawning diverse and innovative ideas towards solving problems and ultimately contributing to enhancing the quality of life for society," Professor Gyles said.

Dr. Kamilah Hylton, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Sport, University of Technology, has added that in order for countries in the Caribbean to make their mark in the emerging world, broad partnerships are critical imperatives. Dr. Hylton added that the Faculty of Science and Sport values its role in making this a reality for the region, hence its willingness to join hands with its tertiary counterpart.

"Small island developing states must be strategic in mobilizing resources to meet development goals. Consequently, multidisciplinary collaborations are key in developing innovative and impactful solutions. The Faculty of Science and Sport of University Technology, Jamaica takes seriously its role in enabling achievements in STEM fields and therefore embraces this opportunity to engage in a partnership geared towards transforming Jamaica and the wider Caribbean," Dr. Hylton said.

Dr. Brian Cockburn, The UWI, St. Augustine Campus’ Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, also heralded the partnership, stating that the Campus is proud to join with our sister campuses and the University of Technology, Jamaica to host this science and technology conference focusing on the frontiers of research in Caribbean science and technology (FORECAST). He said he expects the forum to showcase Caribbean researchers’ focus on the challenges facing the region and the entire globe and the role of Science & Technology in providing sustainable solutions.

"Our passion for the scientific disciplines and the innovative and creative approaches to shaping development through research and contributing to framing future-focused policy making will be on full display. We have a cadre of scientists comprising young enquiring minds and established senior faculty working to innovate and further develop a resilient Caribbean society. We look forward to engaging with you at this conference in August 2022," Dr. Cockburn added.

Dr. Jeanese Badenock, Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology for The UWI, encouraged students, academia, and the public to attend the conference as participants seek to take attendees on a "wonderful journey of discovery while exploring our world of science and technology." Dr. Badenock indicated that "as scholars working in the areas of science and technology, we remain committed to the collaborative and experiential development and application of world-class scientific learning and inquiry aimed at addressing many real-world problems facing the region and the entire world, and we look forward to sharing and engaging over the three days."

The universities are grateful for the kind support provided by regional private and public sector partners for the staging of this far-reaching conference. To date, these include Inter-American Development Bank, Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Oran Family Trust, Huawei, Incrementic, Limegrove Life Style Centre, Ansa Merchant Bank, Pays Digital, Caribbean LED, Jamaica Energy Partners, National Water Commission, UWITv Global, Export Barbados, Unicomer, Gildan, CEMEX, and the National Commission on Science and Technology. Other potential sponsors are invited.

 To register for the Conference, visit: https://www.forecastconference.org.jm/


Michelle Beckford 
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 876 970-5299 
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm