The government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom-based University of Southampton (UoS) — a leader in marine and maritime research — to formalise what the Premier’s Office described as a “mutually beneficial partnership between the parties”.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley signed the MOU on last Thursday during his trip to the UK.
A media release from the Premier’s Office said the purpose of the MOU is to establish friendly relations, to agree to cooperate, and to identify areas of cooperation that could help foster and develop the relationship.
“The partnership paves the way for the UoS and the VI to develop academic exchanges and cooperation in teaching, research, and capacity building. Activities within the partnership can also include exchange of scientific and technical information along with appropriate academic materials. It can also lead to joint seminars and conferences, joint research, and research funding applications on areas of mutual interest, as well as exploring opportunities for the commercialisation of technology.
Premier Wheatley described the MOU — which he signed with the university’s Vice-President for Research & Enterprise, Professor Mark Spearing — as a firm demonstration of his government’s willingness to seek out affiliate relationships that provide the territory with the tools to identify challenges and opportunities in the maritime sector.
He also said the MOU will allow the BVI to support a safe, secure and thriving ocean environment and further propel the diversification of the territory’s economy.
“As the global reliance on the world’s oceans increases, the BVI is keen to position itself to improve the way we utilise and protect our marine environment. A better understanding of our marine environment is key to achieving our ambitions,” Dr Wheatley stated.
The Premier’s Office hailed the University of Southampton as a highly ranked tertiary institution in the UK and a top-ranked public research university in Britain.