13 Feb 2017

Roger Malapa, trailblazing Vanuatu scientist, dies at 46

From , 6:00 am on 13 February 2017

Roger Malapa, the first ni-Vanuatu to graduate with a PhD in science, has died in New Caledonia. He was 46.

Born on the island of Malekula, Dr Malapa graduated with a PhD in genetics from a French university in 2005, before returning to Vanuatu where he became one of the Pacific's most prolific plant breeders.

Vincent Lebot, a scientist with the Ministry of Agriculture and close friend of Dr Malapa's, says his work created hundreds of varieties of staple crops that are more resistant to events like climate change.

Dr Lebot told Jamie Tahana that Dr Malapa's death is a significant loss for Vanuatu, but his life's work has inspired many more ni-Vanuatu to pursue a life of science.

Dr Roger Malapa

Dr Roger Malapa Photo: Supplied/ Dr Vincent Lebot