In a Pacific first, RMIT has collaborated with education and government institutions in Fiji to launch a new training and research hub.
The Centre for Water and Energy Engineering is a collaboration between RMIT, Fiji National University (FNU) and the Water Authority of Fiji.
The centre will promote research, development and innovation in key resources and provide top level training to staff at the Water Authority of Fiji as well as other like-minded institutions in the region.
Speaking at the launch of the centre, Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said he was confident it would ensure the country would no longer have to look outside Fiji for expertise.
"With the right training and the right amount of investment made in academic institutions and organisations such as the Fijian Water Authority, Fijians will be able to build skills in this area again," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
FNU Vice-Chancellor Dr Ganesh Chand explained that the unique partnership stemmed from a memorandum of understanding between the two universities and said he was pleased it has so quickly resulted in a concrete proposal and a positive outcome.
"This centre will have water engineering at its heart, and our intent is to provide training to employees of the water authority here in Fiji and in similar authorities in the pacific region, using the best technologies available," Dr Chand said.
Professor Peter Coloe, Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Health and Vice-President, said the centre would make a significant contribution to the planning, design and training of technical and engineering staff across the region, and he emphasised the importance of working with industry to support research.
"The centre is deliberately industry-focused - we have to work with industry to enhance productivity because anything that we do in training or in research at university is only worthwhile when it's translated into application," Professor Coloe said.
"RMIT is a willing and active participant in the centre. This is an important opportunity for RMIT to work and make a difference in the region."
Professor John Mo from RMIT's School of Aerospace, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering has been appointed Director of the centre.
Planning for the centre stemmed from a memorandum of understanding between the two universities signed when Professor Coloe visited FNU in 2012.
RMIT experts will be contracted when required to undertake research and be involved with industry projects, as well as provide training and development courses.
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