First Look

UWI Professor leads discussions in Washington DC on innovation-driven growth in the Caribbean

University of the West Indies | 2019-02-20 14:33:00

The University of the West Indies’ (The UWI) Professor John Agard joined international thought leaders and high-level policy-makers from the Caribbean region for the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Annual Consultation of Caribbean Governors. The two-day engagement took place on February 11 and 12 at the IDB’s Headquarters in Washington D.C. In attendance were prime ministers, ministers and senior government officials from regional ministries of Finance and Planning as well as senior executives from the IDB and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). 

Professor Agard’s participation at the Consultation involved leading an interactive dialogue on strengthening partnerships between academia, government and the private sector for greater innovation-driven growth in the Caribbean. Director of the St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The UWI St Augustine Campus, Professor Agard, moderated a session which used the case-study of a partnership between Amazon and a US university to explore how the Caribbean region could leverage similar public, private and academic partnerships. His expertise was especially sought after to guide the discussion on new approaches to stimulating private sector investment and innovation-driven growth in the Caribbean.

According to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “Undoubtedly, the solution to the sluggish economies of the region lies in the alignment of The UWI’s research capabilities and private sector resources. In this regard, initiatives such as the establishment of a series of technology parks across the campus countries of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago are being pursued, which will align The UWI's expertise in the areas of science, technology and innovation with the private sector to apply innovation to development and together forge economic and social growth. Innovation through industry/academia partnership is critical to moving our Caribbean economies into full wealth creation mode. We understand that and are committed to it.”

Speaking on his experience at the IDB event, Professor Agard commented, “The meeting was very important to help advance The UWI’s mission to align itself with the needs of the governments of the region, tapping into disruptive technologies and applying innovative methods to enhance revenue generation and skills development to create the Caribbean workforce of the future.”

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