The Iwokrama International Centre said on Wednesday that it has signed an MOU with the University of Guyana (UG) to support a PhD scholarship at that institution under a science programme funded by ExxonMobil.
The student, Arianne Harris, will work with the Centre under its science programme’s biodiversity project while completing work in fulfillment of the requirements for a PhD degree in biodiversity from the UG. Her research involves understanding how bird and bat species respond to forestry practices, and what role these animals play in helping the forest to regenerate following commercial activities.
To date, the Iwokrama Science Committee has done some of the most pioneering work in this area, and Arianne’s research will continue to build on this. She will be supervised by a UG team as well as scientists from the United Kingdom and United States who are on Iwokrama’s Science Committee.
ExxonMobil has been a significant supporter of the Iwokrama Science Programme, funding some US$600,000 since 2017.
In addition to the biodiversity project, the Centre is also implementing a hydrology programme at Iwokrama and in the Rupununi Savannahs. Other outputs from the science programme include outreach activities, capacity building and awareness programmes for the local communities, the production of a “legal field guide for natural resource practitioners” – Guyana’s first – and the development of Guyana’s first 3D map of community (Fair View village) lands.
Iwokrama said it has had a long-standing relationship with UG and collaborate on many areas including capacity building and scientific research. The Centre recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the offer of the Iwokrama Forest for research into climate change and sustainable development by the Government of Guyana to the international community at the 1989 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malaysia.