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Pacific Islanders encouraged to pursue ONOC-USP Sports Masters scholarship programme
04:47 am GMT+12, 26/11/2020, Fiji

By Jared Koli
 
The Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) are inviting applications for the second round of the Pacific Regional Sports Research Scholarship (PRSRS).   
 
Successful applicants will undertake a Masters by research degree at The University of the South Pacific (USP) starting 2021.  
 
The scholarship is a collaboration between the ONOC and USP, and is designed to build the research capacity at USP in line with the University’s strategic research themes, strengthen the evidence base on the contribution of sport to sustainable development, and inform policy development and regional investments in and through sports in Pacific Island countries.  
 
ONOC International Relations Commission Chairperson  Baklai Temengil said PRSRS is a fantastic innovation for sport in the Pacific region.  
 
“These research outputs will help to inform decision making by organisations and governments across the Pacific and build the capacity of Pacific researchers to lead the way.”  
 
Temengil said ONOC is proud to be a funding partner together with USP Research Office to support these regional sports scholarships as cultivating regional and international partnerships to increase the value of sport and the impact of sports programs in Oceania is a core pillar of ONOC’s strategic direction.
 
“I encourage Pacific Islanders – both women and men, to apply for this scholarship to study at USP in 2021 and continue to build on the body of research on sport in the Pacific and use research to help us tackle the most pressing challenges and really make a difference in and through sport,” she added.  
 
USP Research Office’s Research Student Coordinator Anushka Maharaj said so far the sports scholarship is going well despite some challenges. Maharaj said recruiting had been slightly difficult given that the scholarship requires a postgraduate diploma and they have seen that a lot of the applications received did not have this qualification.  
 
“We have dealt with this by being more flexible and not have the postgraduate diploma as a mandatory qualification. We are now in the second year since the scholarship has started and have four brilliant students from the region under it,” she said.  
 
She reiterated that the key benefit of studying under PRSRS is that the students are able to be part of a programme through which they are building research capacity on the contribution of sport to sustainable development, and inform policy development and investments within the region.  
 
“Another benefit of studying under the scholarship is that the students are able to get industry engagement, which provides them with experience that will help them once they graduate,” said Maharaj.  
 
A total of five applications were received when the scholarship was first opened last year: two from Fiji and one each from Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Kiribati. The pioneers of the inaugural PRSRS are Kiali Molu of Tuvalu, Koini Vuli of Fiji, Taburimai Tewaki of Kiribati, and later, Bwere Tioni also from Kiribati. They are undertaking critical research across sport sociology, sport policy and physical education.  
 
The scholarship benefits are up to FJD $49,590 (US$23,826) per annum per student and include all tuition, living expenses and associated research expenses. In the first round, USP Research Office contributed $17,107FJD(US$8,219) and ONOC contributed FJD$32,483(US$15,6070 which totaled $49,590 per student per annum.  
 
It was officially launched on the 9th of September, 2018 by the former Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra during a special side event in conjunction with the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Nauru.
 
Applications for the scholarship are now open. It closes on 30 November 2020.

SOURCE: ONOC MEDIA/PACNEWS


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