The University of the South Pacific hopes a new research centre dedicated to atoll research will help save low-lying islands from rising sea levels.
The centre is part of the university's new campus on Kiribati which opened last week, funded by a loan from the Asian Development Bank.
The centre's research will focus on issues that affect atolls such as the environment, climate change and development.
The Campus Director, Ueantabo Mackenzie, says the centre is very important, especially as most atolls are very fragile.
"This is a thing that will not only save Kiribati but all the atoll countries. Firstly in the USP region, and then to the wider region, and possibly other atolls outside the Pacific, Maldives for example."