HomeFeaturesDepartmentsOnline ExclusivesArchivesAbout PelicanContributors

‘60 under 60’:
UWI highlights 60 researchers under 60

by Karel Mc Intosh

Visit the '60 under 60' website

Research labs throughout the Caribbean have been hiding some undiscovered treasures. As The University of the West Indies (UWI) celebrates its 60th anniversary for the entire 2008 calendar year, the institution has entered those very labs to find 60 of the region’s top researchers who have been producing world-class contributions in a range of fields. Featured in the UWI’s newest publication, “60 under 60”, these academics hail from countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and Tobago, and have had significant impact in the region and abroad.

“In ‘60 under 60’ we celebrate some of the men and women who are helping UWI to support the competitiveness of our society, as well as the humanitarian dimension, to ensure that the care of the most vulnerable in our society, and in the world, is not ignored by the rich and powerful,” says Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice Chancellor of the UWI.

“The individuals featured in this publication are only a representation of the rich and diverse group of scholars and thinkers who make up our university – in truth there are many more not included. Those selected are all under 60 years old and together represent the assurance that our University will have the talent and promise to sustain us as the leading Caribbean university for many years to come.”

The research interests of the 60 featured academics span numerous fields including veterinary science, molecular biology, food science, epidemiology of diseases, biodiversity conservation, historiography, social psychology, climate modelling, robotics, steelpan technology, international trade, law, gender studies, and astronomy. Professor Stephan Gift, of the UWI Trinidad Campus, who is also featured in “60 under 60”, is an example of how much UWI’s academics are contributing on the world stage. His work has yielded a new model of the electron that explains why electrons and protons have the same charge magnitude, and a new theory of magnetism that for the first time accounts for chemical reactivity, covalent bonds, and the solidity of matter.  

Published in commemoration of UWI’s 60th anniversary, “60 under 60” is a special edition of the UWI’s Pelican Magazine. The book was previewed at UWI’s Dining with the Stars Anniversary Gala event in Mona, Jamaica in July 2008, and has been hailed as a keepsake item. It will be released in campus bookstores later in the year, and other bookstores have also been requesting “60 under 60”.

Intent on ensuring the continuous relevance of its research output, the UWI views “60 under 60” as a motivator for researchers in the region. UWI’s strategic vision for 2007 to 2012 is to expand and reenergise graduate studies and research. Indeed, the researchers featured in “60 under 60” validate UWI’s claim as an innovative, internationally competitive, contemporary university that is deeply rooted in the Caribbean. Over its 60 years of operation, the University has established itself as a proactive centre of higher education that prides itself on the quality of its research, its teaching and its regional service in a wide range of areas. These 60 academics are examples of excellence in teaching, service and research.

Ever committed to its 1948 oath to support regional development, UWI aims to be first in the development of new knowledge unique to the Caribbean and small island states, with the primary goal of contributing to growth, development and transformation of the region. Additionally, it aims to be the first port of call for Caribbean governments seeking advice and technical expertise for policy development, strategic planning and programme implementation.

“‘60 under 60’ is a snapshot of the possibilities that UWI offers the region,” says Mrs Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill, University & Campus Director – Marketing & Communications. “The innovative research and development that is sometimes overlooked by the very persons who fund us – the people of the Caribbean – must be viewed as an opportunity for alumni, friends and the private sector to invest tangibly in the continued development of UWI.”

Persons interested in making donations to the UWI, can do so by contributing to the University Campus Endowment Funds, scholarship funds, academic chairs, and new facilities.

For more information on the UWI 60th Anniversary or how to contribute to UWI’s development, please visit www.uwi.edu/60 or contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor in Jamaica at 876-927-1600 extension 2336/2339 or vcoffice@uwimona.edu.jm