Highlights: 5th International Scientific Conference

Keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony, Dr. K’adamwe K’nIfe, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Thinking and Practice, UWI Mona engages with the audience during his presentation held at LT 50, Shared Facilities Building.

The Faculty of Science and Sport (FOSS), University of Technology, Jamaica hosted its 5th International Scientific Conference under the theme “Accomplishing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through Science, Technology, and Innovation” from July 19- 20, 2018, at the University’s Papine Campus. 

Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Jamaica.

In his welcome at the Opening Ceremony on July 19, President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie congratulated the Faculty on continuing to blaze a trail with the staging of the conference over the years, noting that it reflects “an important academic forum to highlight new research, knowledge and innovations related to bridging the gap between science, technology, innovation and our shared development imperatives.”  Professor Vasciannie thanked all members of the Faculty who worked to ensure the successful hosting of the conference, led by Dean, Dr. Kamilah Hylton and Conference Chair, Miss Christine O’Sullivan, Head of Division, Continuing Studies and Distance Learning, Centre for Science-based Research, Entrepreneurship and Continuing Studies.

The President noted the appropriateness of the conference theme, “given Jamaica’s forward march to achieve the Vision 2030 Development Goals which include the use of science and its applications to pursue our aspirations for sustainable development, global competitiveness and long-term resilience.” 

The Conference featured keynote speaker Dr. Kadamawe K’nIfe, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Thinking and Practice, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. Other plenary speakers were Professor Michael Taylor and Ms. Zelmira May, UWI and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), respectively.

Dr. Andrew Lamm, Director, Centre for Science-Based Research, Entrepreneurship and Continuing Studies

Dr. Andrew Lamm, Director, Centre for Science-Based Research, Entrepreneurship and Continuing Studies, FOSS, gave an overview of the conference, which comprised 29 oral presentations made by local and international researchers, and two partnership sessions. The Conference also included for the first time, a symposium with the theme “Toxic Workplaces, Diagnosis, and Treatment.”

Greetings were received from Mr. Patrick Williams, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport, who noted that the multi-disciplinary conference seeks to address both national and international issues in such areas as Energy Security, Health and Medicine, Agriculture and Food Security, among others.  The Vice-Dean emphasized that it was appropriate that these themes are being addressed by Jamaica’s National University.

Ms. Andrea Gisselle Burbano Fuertes, Programme Specialist, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean in her remarks, explained that Science diplomacy as well as sustainability science, are two  concepts included in UNESCO’s practice throughout the organization’s history. She pointed out that UNESCO is the only agency of the United Nations that deals specifically with Science encompassing both the natural sciences and the human sciences. “This gives UNESCO the clear and unique mandate to promote international cooperation in Sciences,” she noted, adding that the organization through its various programmes, seeks to engage member states to build resilient societies in achieving the SDGs.

Keynote speaker Dr. K’adamwe  K’nIfe led an engaging discussion and robust question and answer session on the topic, “The role of the Social Economy in accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals – Understanding the Jamaican performance on the Social Progress Index.” In his presentation, he posited that social enterprise represents a meaningful platform on which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals can be attained. 

Referencing the Social Progress Index (2014) by Porter et al, he pointed to Jamaica’s own need for the utilization of a holistic and robust measurement framework for national social and environmental performance, used by leaders in government, business and civil society as a tool to benchmark success, improve policy and catalyse action in the areas of Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing and Opportunity.   He noted that Jamaica’s ranking of 43 out of 132 countries on the Index means that “we are doing something good in SDGs,” despite per capita income not being among the highest.

K’nIfe argued that social enterprises through what he termed “their triple bottom” can generate significant economic, social and environmental value that converges with the imperatives of the SDGs.  He however, urged more deliberate alignment of available funding to achieve the SDG goals.

Emphasising that planning is about creating a space for youth who will make history, rather than the adults who make decisions in writing that history,  Dr. K’nIfe  also called for a more “people-centred approach” to development, rather than the traditional GDP approach where he noted Jamaica has not performed well over the past 50 years. He argued that the traditional approach to development tends to focus on the creation of economic value while ‘ignoring’ social and environmental value.

K’nIfe reasoned that widespread impoverishment and scarcity have forced persons to create their own enterprising solutions.  He called on researchers to listen more to people on the ground, observer what is happening in the streets and to aim at proffering solutions to resolve these problems.


Mr. Patrick Williams, Vice Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport brings greetings.

Ms. Andrea Gisselle Burbano Fuertes, Programme Specialist, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, addresses the audience during the Opening Ceremony.

Plenary Speaker Ms. Zelmira May, National Programme Specialist for Education, UNESCO Montevideo gave a presentation titled “STI for development: How to meet the goals of Agenda 2030.” She highlighted some of the challenges faced by girls and women that compromise their education opportunities. She pointed to the longstanding concern of the low rate of female participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and consequently STEM careers – ‘jobs of the future.’  Ms. May said that in this sense, UNESCO is focused on supporting countries in leveraging digital technologies to ensure that a lack of skills do not prevent countries advancing toward digital transformation.

Plenary Speaker, Professor Michael Taylor, Director, Climate Studies Group, UWI, Mona in his presentation titled “In the pursuit of development, Climate Matters” shared evidence that the climate of the Caribbean is changing, posing significant challenges to the development of Caribbean territories owing to the region’s reliance on climate sensitive sectors for economic growth.  Among other things, he noted the frequency of very warm days and nights have increased since the mid-1950s.  He pointed to changes in rainfall characteristics, extreme climatic events including droughts and rises in sea levels. Scientific studies suggest that many of the changes seen will continue with increased magnitude and/or frequency through to the end of the current century.

Mr. Henry Lewis, Jr. Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, UTech, Jamaica led a session on “ Gang violence and national security in Jamaica: Implication for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”

Ms. Rebecca Tortello, Education Specialist gave a presentation titled “Gotcha Caught doing something Good- Shifting attitudes and improving outcomes through a structured student support framework.”  Her paper presented research that demonstrates that students who receive consistent social-emotional support and prevention services perform better academically.

Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, Associate Vice President, Caribbean Sustainable Energy and Innovation Institute, (CSEI) UTech, Jamaica led a presentation on the topic “Contributing to UN ‘s Sustainable Development Goals through curriculum Design aimed at Producing ‘innovation Capable’ Graduates: The Case of the Master’s Degree in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change.’  She looked at Jamaica’s policy measures to reach the fuel economy targets of fifty per cent reduction in fuel consumption by 2050.

Dr. Patricia Green, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of The Built Environment gave a presentation on the historic urban landscapes in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) mitigating against environmental impacts: Case study of Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica.

FOSS' 5th International Scientific Conference Chair, Miss Christine O'Sullivan, presents Mr. Khalil Campbell, student Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies with the Outstanding Student Scientist Award on behalf of conference sponsor Jamaica Energy Partners.  Khalil was one of two students who was presented with special awards at the conference.  Student Deiondra Robinson, UWI, Mona also received the Outstanding Student Scientist Award presented by sponsor, the National Housing Trust.


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