Representatives from seven (7) Universities within the Guiana Shield were part of a workshop from 3-5 September, 2014 in Suriname to formalize the formation and work plan of the Guiana Shield University Network (GSUN). The specific outputs were to:

  1. Establish a network of Universities and research institutions of the Guiana Shield
  2. Produce a report on the academic and research programmes and course offered by the Universities
  3. Develop a framework for cooperation on joint delivery of academic and research programmes and courses

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The GSUN will therefore bring together academics, researchers and practitioners to work towards increasing the efficiency of delivery of undergraduate and graduate education programmes and course in the areas of biodiversity and biodiversity-related sciences, and streamlining associated research programmes and work streams to avoid duplication. It is hoped that the Network will guide the science-based policy groups under the guidance of the Guiana Shield Facility (GSF).

During the III International Conference on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield in August, 2013, high level representatives from Anton de Kom University of Suriname, University of Guyana, Universidad Nacional Experimental de Guyana, Universidad de la Amazonia, Universidad Federal do Para, Universidad Federal do Amapá and the Université de Antilles et de la Guyane, met and each presented the undergraduate, graduate and research programmes and infrastructure of the institutions related to the themes of the Congress.

It is against this backdrop that the participants determined that efforts should be directed towards compiling a database on graduate and research programmes, analyzing the priorities of each University and making a decision on where to start in terms of networking.

The workshop therefore allowed for greater insight into the biodiversity courses and research opportunities that the different universities offer and help to advance the results from the previous meeting on the GSUN during the III International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield.

During the workshop, representatives had the opportunity to present their ‘Biodiversity’ curricula and research activities and indicate the need for courses that are not being taught at their university. Also collaboration on transboundary research was highlighted. With this information, an analysis will be undertaken using a participatory process, culminating with the set-up of the Guiana Shield University Network, and preparation of a work plan for 2015.