NIHERST’s annual Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF) is a unique and important platform for lower six students to explore the benefits of the academic and professional opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Over 180 students from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago participated in the week-long residential forum from 2-9 August, where they gained knowledge and inspiration from leading scientists as well as experts from business and industry.

This year, interdisciplinary and cross-border collaboration were key themes addressed by speakers at the opening ceremony, as they encouraged students to think about the contribution they could make to regional development, individually and collectively, in the future. Dr. the Honourable Rupert Griffith, Minister of Science and Technology, in his feature address cautioned that “we must either harness the potential of science and technology to our advantage or risk continuous playing catch-up with the international landscape”. The keynote speaker was Trinidad-born climate scientist, Dr. Roger Pulwarty, Senior Advisor for Climate and Director of the US National Integrated Drought Information System at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US. In his speech entitled “A Caribbean Enlightenment:¬† Science, decisions and imagination in shaping the minds of the future”, he stressed to the young participants that “going forward it is important to ask yourself and make a conscious decision to not only witness and let change happen around you at this blazing speed but actually to take an active role to drive technology forward and make a positive impact.”

CYSF was rich with knowledge shared through engaging presentations, workshops, field trips and one-on-one interaction with 40 scientists and other professionals. Core topics this year included: climate change, forensic pathology, prognostics, paediatric oncology, forest ecology, electrophysiology and cardiology, and marine archaeology (ocean acidification).