News Releases

The UWI partners with IDB in Sub-Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation

For Release Upon Receipt - June 17, 2019


According to Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “the Caribbean was a principal global victim of the first and second industrial revolutions, which were built upon slavery and colonialism.  Though still recuperating from some of their negative economic and social effects, the Caribbean experienced some recovery during the third industrial revolution in the development of competitive services economies, and is now positioned to make significant advancements in the fourth industrial revolution that is upon us.”  Active participation, he added, is the only way to ensure that we propel our Caribbean economies to achieve both economic and social growth, with universities playing a leading role, supported by governments and the private sector. 

Vice-Chancellor Beckles was giving remarks at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel for the opening of the Sub-Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation on Wednesday 12 June, 2019.  The conference continued at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica the following day.  It was organised in collaboration with the Inter-American Bank (IDB) and Development Bank of Jamaica to engage Caribbean policy-makers, tertiary level educational institutions and private sector stakeholders in a series of conversations on how to strengthen ecosystems that support dynamic entrepreneurship and innovation in the Caribbean region.

This partnership is a follow-on to a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between The UWI and IDB which formalised a framework of cooperation in programming to promote evidence-based decision making on economic and social policy issues in the Caribbean region through joint initiatives on research, online education, knowledge creation and dissemination.

The conference sought to expose participants to a characterisation of the key elements of effective eco-systems, facilitate discussion on the level of development of Caribbean eco-systems, and map ways to strengthen them.  Participants included Caribbean entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, representatives from regional ministries of economic development, industry and commerce and others as well as representatives from tertiary level educational institutions. UWI academics including Pro Vice-Chancellor – Graduate Studies and Research, Professor Stephan Gift; Director of the Institute of Criminal Justice and Security, Professor Anthony Harriott and Professor Emerita Carolyn Cooper also contributed to the dialogue, making presentations and speaking on panels.

The UWI’s Director of Development, Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy delivered remarks at the culminating event on Friday 14 June, at The UWI Regional Headquarters—a symposium themed “One Caribbean Solutions” convened by Universities Caribbean (formerly the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA)—which further interrogated the role that universities play in the advocacy for finding practical solutions to challenges faced by the Caribbean and Latin American (LAC) region. Dr. Richards-Kennedy emphasised that The UWI was proud to host this conference as it sees alignment of the University with industry as a critical element in its strategic mission to contribute to Revitalising Caribbean Development, as articulated in the University’s Triple A Strategy 2017-2022. Dr. Richards-Kennedy also highlighted the power of regional and global partnerships, as the University seeks to strengthen research and innovation uptake and translation and to provide practical, integrated solutions to the multi-dimensional development challenges faced by the Caribbean.

This collaboration between the regional organisation of universities, The UWI and the Inter-American Development Bank presented a unique opportunity to economic, political and academic leaders across the Caribbean and Latin America to exchange ideas on strategies for developing innovative entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and facilitating sustainable development in small states.


Notes to the Editor


About The UWI

For the past 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Asia, and Africa such as the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 


As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018, and was the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)