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PCJ Forges $5 Million Partnership With UTECH For Renewable Energy Studies

PCJ Forges $5 Million Partnership With UTECH For Renewable Energy Studies
It was serious business as (from left) Mr. Russell Hadeed, Chairman, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Dr. Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President, University of Technology, Jamaica and Mr. Winston Watson, Group General Manager, PCJ signed a partnership agreement to establish the PCJ Renewable Energy Scholarship and a grant which will provide funding for research projects to be undertaken by students at UTech’s School of Engineering. Under the agreement, which was signed today, (Wednesday March 15) at the PCJ Resource Centre in New Kingston, the PCJ will provide up to $5 million to finance the research grant and the Scholarship.

KINGSTON (JIS) -- PRESS RELEASE – The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Ja.) have forged a partnership under which the Corporation will provide $5 million in financing to bolster research and development as well as scholastic endeavours in engineering and energy at the academic institution. The PCJ has also made a grant of $1 million available to underwrite the cost of research projects being undertaken by students in UTech, Ja’s School of Engineering (SOE). In addition, the Corporation will be providing approximately $4 million to fund the PCJ Renewable Energy Scholarship, which will be tenable at the SOE. For the research initiative, at least four projects will be formulated and carried out each year by selected students which will deal with areas that directly impact the PCJ’s mandate.

The students, who will work under the supervision of experienced instructors, will explore practical applications in subjects including solar energy, biomass and biofuels.

Upon completion of projects, the reports, data and any other relevant information gathered through the research process will be submitted to the PCJ who will have the option of implementation.

The approach will facilitate capacity building in engineering while allowing the PCJ to benefit from research information.

The PCJ has also established a scholarship which will be awarded to a student wishing to pursue a Master of Science Degree in Engineering: Renewable Energy at the SOE. The scholarship will cover the full cost of tuition for the duration of the successful applicant’s programme of study.

UTech Ja, advertised the scholarship earlier this year and a shortlist of candidates is currently being finalised from the applications received. Interviews will be scheduled within the coming weeks and the inaugural recipient should be announced before the end of the current academic year in June.

To seal the deal, both institutions signed a partnership agreement at the PCJ’s Resource Centre today.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the PCJ’s Chairman, Mr. Russell Hadeed said, “I am delighted to be a part of an initiative that will provide students with much-needed resources to carry out research projects that can drive innovation and development in Jamaica’s energy industry; and I am confident that both the research programme and the PCJ Renewable Energy Scholarship will be beneficial, not only to UTech and the PCJ but the entire country.”

In response, UTech, Ja President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie said, “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.”

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, who endorsed the signing said, “I am confident that this partnership with academia and government will further improve on our savings of over J$131.5 million in energy expenditure, under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Project (EECP), as the proposed research projects outlined, in addition to the others proposed, are designed to improve on our existing renewables programme. This will allow the government to redirect capital saved from reduced energy expenditure into critical social and physical infrastructure spend, for overall sustainable development and prosperity.”

“We look forward to the contributions that will be made by UTech’s School of Engineering and the students who will be beneficiaries of the PCJ’s Renewable Energy Scholarship and research grant,” he added.