The University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji is one of the two Pacific institutions forming the European Consortium for Pacific Studies (ECOPAS). It is represented by two of its major research centres: the School of Marine Studies and the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies which coordinate together one of the work packages of the ECOPAS project (WP4). This work package is designed to develop sustainable networks of knowledge production concerning climate change in the Pacific Islands region.
Established in 1968, the USP is jointly owned and operated by the governments of 12 Pacific Islands nations: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. Its region of extraordinary environmental, social, cultural and economic diversity spreads across 33 million square kilometres of ocean, an area more than three times the size of Europe which, in contrast, has a land mass about the size of Denmark. It has campuses or USP Centres in all member countries; the main campus is in Fiji.
The USP is the premier institution of higher learning in the Pacific Islands region, employing in total more than 1,500 staff. Its academic Schools, Institutes and Centres are organised into three faculties: the Faculty of Arts and Law; the Faculty of Business and Economics; and the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment. Each faculty offers a wide range of academic programmes and courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The University also offers programmes through distance and flexible learning in a variety of modes and technologies throughout all campuses: advanced communication technologies through USPNet are used to reach distance and flexible learning students across the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean. It is a quality institution producing degrees comparable to those awarded by universities in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Graduates from this university are found in important executive positions throughout the public and private sectors in all member countries and around the world.
The USP is also the only major research university in the Pacific Islands region and has set a high standard for quality in its research. Major research commitments include business management, teacher education, Pacific studies, marine studies, agriculture, science and technology; the broad field of environmental and climate change is one of its primary foci. The USP is an essential partner in any ambitious Pacific-oriented effort of research, documentation, awareness building and policy making. It has been and is involved in several major projects funded by the European Union, including PACE-NET, EDULINK and the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).