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UTech, BSJ signs MOU for research services in trade industry

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December 2023

Dr Velton Gooden (third left), executive director, Bureau of Standards Jamaica, and Dr Kevin Brown (third right), president, University of Technology, Jamaica, display folders containing copies of a memorandum of understanding signed between the university and the bureau on Friday, December 15, 2023, at the institution's Papine campus for the procurement of research services for Regulatory Impact Assessment of Jamaica's trade sector. Also sharing in the moment are Sharian Hanson (left), legal officer, and Julia Bonner Douett (second left), director, Standards Division along with Professor Kamilah Hylton (second right), dean, Faculty of Science and Sport and Ave McIntosh (right), head, School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Above Body

 22 Dec 2023    admin   

The University of Technology, Jamaica inked an agreement with Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) for the procurement of research services geared towards a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the country's trade sector.

The agreement came into effect on Friday, December 15, 2023, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by executive director, Bureau of Standards Jamaica, Dr Velton Gooden and president, University of Technology, Jamaica, Dr Kevin Brown at the university's Papine campus.

Under the MOU, UTech, Jamaica has been contracted by the BSJ on behalf of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) for a one-year period, to support the work of four multi-disciplinary committees (MDCs) of the Bureau's Technical Regulations Unit, tasked with coordinating a technical regulations regime for the country's trade industry within departments and agencies of Government.

The MDCs consist of individuals from various fields within the trade industry including: the medical, electrical, food processing, manufacturing and labelling sectors. UTech, Jamaica, through its Faculty of Science and Sport, will work with the MDCs to conduct empirical studies that will aid the Government in its thrust to implement technical trade regulations. This is a move deemed necessary by the MIIC, as Jamaica, being a signatory to the World Trade Organization's Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, seeks to transition from the current compulsory regulations to ones which meet international best practices.

The scope of engagement for the university will see both academic staff and students from the Faculty of Science and Sport working to create the pre-planning and literature review for the Regulatory Impact Assessment, developing data collection instrument and testing tools, collecting data, providing data analysis, preparing reports and submitting recommendations to the BSJ that will inform the process of this industry shift for the Government as well for as local and international trade partners.

In welcoming the collaboration, UTech, Jamaica President Dr Brown noted that the initiative presents the opportunity for the institution to act on its mission of providing solutions for government and industries. "What today's signing symbolises is what we are here to do which is to support Jamaica, to develop and grow and achieve vision 2023. I am really pleased to see this initiative start and I hope you will see UTech as your natural home because I know that the bureau does some interesting technical work in trying to keep Jamaica safe and to ensure that the industry is regulated. We have the talent here to compliment what you are doing."

Bureau Standards Jamaica Executive Director Dr Gooden noted, "This contract, this project is a very important one as we transition from the old regime where we used to basically facilitate trade through standards which are now voluntary, to technical regulations." Dr Gooden added, "We are building out what we call the national quality infrastructure to allow Jamaica to be able to trade more competitively on the global trade."

He further noted that putting such an infrastructure in place will make room for a framework inclusive of "updated standards and being able to have technical regulations that govern trading and does not prove to be a barrier for our trading partners."

With regards to possibilities for future collaborations with UTech, Jamaica, Dr Gooden noted, "one of our resolves is to try to get academia more involved in building out the national quality infrastructure." This he stated noting that "some of the students coming from academia are not as prepared as they could be for the industrial world and therefore, there is another layer of training that has to happen in house before they are ready." Given this observation, Dr Gooden stated, "If we could partner in a way that there is an understanding of what is required and they come to us more ready for the industrial work world, that would go a far way."

Julia Bonner Douett, director, Standards Division at the BSJ, acknowledged the significance of having the resourcefulness and expertise of UTech, Ja's Faculty of Science and Sport in the process of what will create a paradigm shift within Jamaica's trade industry. "Where standards are to be used as mandatory tools, we want to know whether the standards will have impact on government policy…whether these standards will result in the change that the government wants. This is done by these research studies that we are going to embark on with UTech," Douett noted.

Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport, Professor Kamilah Hylton expressed gratitude to the BSJ for considering UTech, Jamaica to undertake the Regulatory Impact Assessment on behalf of the MIIC to redefine and enhance the nation's trade sector. "We are really happy that we are moving in this direction. Data-based decision-making is the future…we are certainly heading in the right direction, and we are confident that we have the expertise here at UTech, Jamaica and we have a mission to impact Jamaica and so, engaging in collaboration of this nature really puts us in the right direction," noted Professor Hylton.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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