MGI in Japan Building Ties with Research Departments

 The Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) paid courtesy calls on various academic departments across Japan in April 2019. Collaboration with MGI’s coastal studies unit – MGIBlue – were main points of discussion with a goal of combining the skills, expertise and research available among the institutions to apply cutting edge science and technology in building solutions for coastal problems.


Key Research Topics for the Region

Dr. Ava Maxam presenting research and applications developed by MGI to research students and staff of Nagoya University, Japan.

Dr Ava Maxam, Deputy Director of MGI and head of MGIBlue, met with research departments of Nagoya University (NU) and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), where she presented on the work of MGIBlue and its Coastal Dynamics Modelling Laboratory (CDML) to faculty staff and students. Areas explored for collaboration included: fisheries research and production, shipping and logistics, emissions policies for the Caribbean, algal transport including Sargassum proliferation issues; modelling ocean, shoreline and reef dynamics; remote sensing and water quality modelling of inshore and offshore areas.


JICA-MGI Partnership

Dr. Ava Maxam of UWI’s Mona Geoinformatics Institute (L) and Prof. Joji Ishizaka of Nagoya University stand outside the entrance to the new building of the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research (ISEE), Nagoya, where Dr. Maxam held discussions with their researchers on coastal and ocean issues. The ISEE is a research centre that aims to: bridge the gap between earth and space sciences, find solutions to global environmental problems, and contribute to the human society through space-age developments.

MGI benefitted from collaboration with the Volunteer Program of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), with JICA having dispatched a JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer) in developing MGIBlue’s CDML in 2017.

JICA’s volunteers may  bring  much needed skills and technologies in coastal solutions to MGIBlue.

Dr Maxam reiterated that: “University departments are drivers of innovation for their countries. We believe that JICA and MGI are fostering their partnership for exchange of innovation between Japanese volunteers and Jamaican researchers. This must now be applied in a meaningful way to strengthen coastal resilience of our Caribbean small-island nations already facing threats from sea-level rise”.




Mount Aso volcanic eruption plume in April 2019. Japan is prone to many risks but has over centuries relied on sound engineering to survive hazards. (Photo credit A. Maxam 2019)

The Head of JICA in Jamaica, Resident Representative Mr Takeshi Takano has stated that: “We would like to congratulate Dr. Maxam on the successful tour of Eastern Asia. The tour has surely made researchers in that region more aware of a competitive research institute in the Caribbean.  We are hoping to continue dispatching Japanese volunteers to contribute to MGI’s development. The interactions between Japanese volunteers and Jamaican researchers will bring about mutual benefits of technology, innovation and culture.”