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PRESS RELEASE – Saint Lucia’s premier national tertiary level institution, the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) formally launches the nation’s first research institute, the Vaughan A. Lewis Institute for Research and Innovation (VALIRI) on 13th October, 2016 at 7pm on the College campus.
The keynote speaker for this ceremony is Dr James Fletcher, former minister with responsibility for Public Service, Information, Broadcasting, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology.
The ceremony will recognize the life and work of Sir Vaughan A. Lewis for whom the institute is named – his leadership in the development and establishment of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and his guidance as first Chairman of the Board of Governors of the College.
The Vaughan A. Lewis Institute for Research and Innovation (VALIRI) was born of a collaboration between SALCC and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program UNDP (GEF) in an effort to encourage and facilitate research that will produce knowledge and foster innovation through academic and practical research for sustainable economic and social development of the Saint Lucian community.
SALCC and VALIRI are already engaged in ‘sustainable development projects that include a solarisation project involving the installation of photovoltaic panels on five households of the Morne Fortune community. Data will be collected and analysed for a period of twenty years to measure the impact of the use of solar power on the cost of electricity. The purpose of this project is to inform environmental and energy policy in the country.
This project also involves the development of training modules for Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to help build their capacity, which is key to the nation’s social development. Several of these courses have already been accessed by a number of CSOs in the South Castries region.
SALCC is on the cusp of developing into a university college and VALIRI is the catalyst for developing the research capacity of the university college by providing an avenue for the faculty and students to be involved in cutting edge research and on the ground solutions to problems.
The institute will have a strong presence in the community and will pursue ties with and collaborate in the continued development of Civil Society Organisations. VALIRI will also endeavour to facilitate the dissemination of its research through seminars and conferences.
It is anticipated that the institute will be a clearinghouse for research done in and about Saint Lucia to ensure that knowledge produced in and on Saint Lucia remains accessible to the wider Saint Lucian community.
The launch of VALIRI is a significant milestone in knowledge production and research based solution with a Saint Lucian ethos.