UTech, Jamaica and PCJ Forge $5M Partnership for Capacity Building in Engineering and Renewable Energy Research

Capacity Building:  (From left), Mr Russell Hadeed, Chairman, PCJ, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, MP, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, CD, President, University of Technology, Jamaica and Mr. Winston Watson, Group General Manager, PCJ pose with copies of the Partnership Agreement signed between the two organisations at a special ceremony held at the PCJ Building on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Ja.) and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 signed a partnership agreement to facilitate capacity building in engineering and renewable energy through student led research in the University’s School of Engineering (SOE). The Partnership Agreement was signed by President, UTech, Jamaica, Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, CD and PCJ Group General Manager, Mr. Winston Watson, witnessed by Chairman, Mr Russell Hadeed and Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, MP at a ceremony held at the PCJ Building, New Kingston.

Under the agreement the PCJ will provide $1M in grant funding for the execution of research projects by UTech, Jamaica students under the guidance of faculty from the School of Engineering.  The PCJ also announced the Renewable Energy Scholarship valued at approximately $4M to be awarded to a UTech, Jamaica student pursuing a Master of Science degree in the School of Engineering.

Under the research initiative, at least four projects will be formulated and carried out each year by selected students in areas that directly impact the PCJ’s mandate.  These will explore practical applications in areas such as solar energy, biomass and biofuels.  Upon completion of the projects, the reports, data and other relevant information gathered through the research process will be submitted to the PCJ for consideration for implementation. 

In welcoming the partnership, Prof. Vasciannie thanked the PCJ for the confidence entrusted in UTech, Jamaica’s expertise in partnership for the important national initiative.  He added that “UTech, Jamaica wholeheartedly welcomes this productive partnership with the PCJ as a perfect fit with the direction in which the University is moving towards leveraging our expertise, knowledge, use of technology and innovation to impact the country’s development.”

The President welcomed the focus on student applied research to provide solutions or to enhance efficiency in response to real challenges faced in local engineering, noting that many innovations now adopted by the world, started with student research.

Mr Russell Hadeed in his remarks told the gathering of members of management and staff of the PCJ and representatives from UTech, Jamaica’s School of Engineering and Advancement Division, that from the vantage point of his membership on the Electrical and Mechanical Advisory Committee at the School of Engineering for a number of years, he had taken note of many undergraduate students who display great potential in advancing their education, but lacked funding and support for the many research projects they desired to pursue.  He specially acknowledged Dr. Noel Brown, Head, SOE for the on-going negotiation and lobby efforts in enabling the fruition of grant funding by the PCJ to help to support some of these research projects.  The Chairman noted that it was against this background that the PCJ created the two initiatives - for grant funding and for the scholarship programme for graduate students.  Pointing to the new mutually beneficial partnership, Mr Hadeed affirmed that it will give “great benefit to both institutions,” adding that “certainly for UTech, as one of the premier universities of higher learning in Jamaica, whatever we can do to assist in advancing the work that they do and at the same time assist the PCJ in its work,” is a welcomed move.

In endorsing the UTech, Ja/PCJ partnership, Minister Wheatley lauded the collaboration as being “commendable and practical,” emphasising that “every country that is serious about development as we are, is now involved in the nation-building-twin-task of reducing energy cost and Green House Gas or Co2 emissions.

Pointing out that “home-based scientific research and innovation have driven countries economic and social development,” he congratulated the PCJ and UTech, Jamaica for forging synergies for research and development in the critical energy sector and expressed hoped that the UTech, Jamaica led research will lead to “breakthroughs in the race to secure efficient and clean energy.”  The Minister expressed hope in the contribution of the research outputs in support of Jamaica’s drive to create smart grids and smart cities in the near future and efforts to improve on savings of over J$131.5 million in energy expenditure under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Project (EECP) and an overall increase in the country’s renewable energy capacity added to the grid.

(From left) Mr. Winston Watson, PCJ Group General Manager, Mr Russell Hadeed, Chairman, PCJ , Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, CD, President, UTech, Jamaica, Dr. Noel Brown, Head, School of Engineering, Mrs. Denise Tulloch, Senior Research Officer, Biofuels and Hydro and Prof. Nilza Aples, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing in discussion following the signing ceremony.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm