The University of the West Indies has a pivotal role to play in the development of the Caribbean region as reflected in its Mission Statement. Currently the region is faced with many challenges, among these are energy, food security and the need for greater economic diversification. These challenges are not insurmountable, but require a coordinated, collaborative response that spans various sectors, societal structures and professional disciplines. Accordingly, the field of engineering has a critical role to play in this regard.
The Department of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering has a long history of producing graduates who occupy engineering posts at all levels throughout the region, and strong relationships exist between staff members and industrial partners. Despite the widespread alumnus and individual relationships with industrial leaders, the Department has not to this point leveraged this inherent capacity for the wider benefit of the regional community.
It is in this light that the Department has instituted its new centre, the Mechanical and Manufacturing Enterprise Research Centre (MMERC). The MMERC replaces the former ERI, with a wider and more relevant mandate, which seeks to position the centre as a hub for industry-academia collaboration within the Department and wider faculty.
Figure 1. MMERC as a nexus and point of interface between academia and the engineering needs of wider society