JOHOR BAHRU, 14 April  — The signing and exchanging of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) document involving research collaboration between the Centre of Lipids Engineering and Applied Research (CLEAR), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Eco Bee Shop Sdn. Bhd. was held at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Johor Bahru today.

UTM was represented by UTM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Ismail while the Director of Eco Bee Sdn. Bhd., Madam Tan Ah Tee represented Eco Bee Shop Sdn. Bhd.

In her speech, Madam Tan Ah Tee said that Eco Bee is the first bee farmer that practices Mobile Bee Farming (Eco Bee Farm) in Malaysia. Eco Bee has its own bee farm, factory and retail outlets.

The first signing of MoA between Eco Bee Shop Sdn Bhd and CLEAR, UTM was on 14th November 2017.

The main objective of this MoA is to seal the agreement for the research project entitled “Production of Propolis Extract from Stingless Bees using Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE)”.

Eco Bee has awarded RM 45,000 research grant for CLEAR to assist and develop high quality and premium propolis products from local stingless bees (Kelulut).

This is the first local Malaysian propolis from stingless bees that uses green technology of SFE, which is clean, green and safe to be consumed.

The unique and chemical-free benefit of SFE cannot be matched by conventional techniques and thus has been successful at meeting important consumers’ demands for chemical-free “natural” products.

Through this collaboration, Eco Bee Shop Sdn Bhd has won the “Islamic Innovation Challenge (IIC)” Award under HIP2 competition organized by Platcom Venture Sdn Bhd under the Malaysian Innovation Agency (AIM).

The research grant won by Eco Bee Shop Sdn Bhd through the IIC was amongst the 15 winners who have won the competition with a total of RM8 million research grants awarded.

Eco Bee Shop Sdn. Bhd. is currently collaborating with universities such as UTM, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) and Monash University Malaysia for research-based studies and many more projects in the future.

Eco Bee Shop has extended their collaboration with CLEAR UTM and has awarded a new grant entitled “Upscaling Extraction Process of Propolis – Enhancement of Process Efficacy” worth RM 66,000 in the form of a research grant.

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi in his speech mentioned that the ultimate goal of this MoA is to establish collaboration in matters pertaining to research, development and training that will ultimately benefit both parties.

With the signing of the MoA, it is also seen a platform to expand a wider space for both parties to formulate more strategic and structured academic and research cooperation plans.

To date,  several research initiatives have been designed which relates to the production of high quality and premium propolis products by using green technology of supercritical fluid extraction.

He added that with the signing of the MoA, other potential areas of research will be made possible if various faculties in UTM are given the opportunity to be involved in such projects.

Through this MoA, it will be helpful in terms of space offerings to conduct joint research to address issues related to the enhancement of the process efficacy by using pilot scale supercritical fluid extraction to produce propolis extract, especially experts and administrators / managers experienced that can generate useful inputs in these efforts.

On behalf of UTM, he hoped that with the signing of the MoA, it would be the starting point for future partnerships in the sharing of expertise, especially for further research activities in the country. It will also further enhance the level of knowledge and skills of various parties involved and he is confident that this will put the university to a higher level in the world.