Written by: Islamiyah binti Ismail, Wong Chang Koon, Tan Jack Min & Dr. Dayang Norulfairuz Abang Zaidel
JOHOR BAHRU– The Bioprocess Engineering Student Society (BIOSS) from the School of Chemical and Energy Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), had successfully organised their 6th International Biotechnology Competition and Exhibition (IBCEx’20) on the 18th and 19th December 2020.
The main objectives of this annual event were to provide a great opportunity for local and international undergraduate students from various institutions to introduce their creative innovations and further enhance their knowledge in the field of biotechnology. With the theme “Empowering Nations: Towards a More Sustainable Future”, the organiser had opened four categories for the competition which are Environment/Waste Treatment, Biofuel/Renewable Energy, Green Building/Green Product, and Biotechnology.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event has shifted from physical to virtual with the use of an online conferencing platform. Despite the difficult times, IBCEx’20 had obtained a total of 39 competing teams comprising 10 international teams and 29 local teams. Out of the 10 international teams, two teams were from Universitas Pertamina (Indonesia), two teams from Universitas Islam Indonesia (Indonesia), one team from Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatera Utara (Indonesia), and another five teams which are the member of Indonesia Scientific Society (ISS) were from Universitas Islam Negeri Alauddin Makassar, Universitas Prasetya Mulya, Universitas Aisyiyah Yogyakarta, and Universitas Bengkulu (Indonesia).
Meanwhile, among the 29 local teams which participated in IBCEx’20, six teams were from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), six teams from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), five teams from Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), five teams from Universiti Teknologi MARA Shah Alam (UiTM), two teams from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), two teams from Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), two teams from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak, and one team from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).
Besides that, a Poster Presentation Competition was organized as a side competition with the same theme that opened to all undergraduate students. This year, there were nine participants for the Poster Presentation Competition, which were from UTM, UiTM Shah Alam, UiTM Puncak Alam, UTHM, Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan as well as Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).
Forum and talk sessions were also organised on the first day of the event, which was on 18th December 2020. The talk session was related to patent and trademark entitled “From Innovation to Commercialisation”. The speakers for this session were Puan Nursyuhada binti Mohd Shafawi, the patent examiner of Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) and Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Noor Azurati binti Ahmad @ Salleh, the Director of Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (ICC).
Next, the forum session with the title of “Discovering the Real Impact of Covid-19 on Entrepreneurship” was held in the afternoon with Dr. Nur Izyan binti Wan Azelee as the moderator. The panels for this forum session were Mr. Redza Rahman, the CEO of Imoriceutical Sdn Bhd and the Director of R&D CTDK Holdings, and Prof. Dr. Ida Idayu binti Muhamad, the Founder of Food and Biomaterial Engineering Research Group, UTM.
Prof. Ts. Dr. Mohd Hamdan bin Haji Ahmad, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students Affairs) of UTM was invited to officiate the closing ceremony of IBCEx’20 on the 19th December 2020. Other VVIPs who were invited included Y. Bhg Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, the CEO of Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Prof. Dato’ Ir. Dr. Mohammed Rafiq bin Abdul Kadir, the Dean of Faculty Engineering, UTM, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Liza Md Salleh, the Advisor of Bioprocess Engineering Student Society.
The champion for the main innovation competition for the Environment/Waste Treatment category was the team from Universiti Teknologi Petronas with their project titled “Synthesis of Bamboo Derived Porous Activated Carbon for Potential CO2 Capture”. Whereas, the team from Universitas Islam Negeri Alauddin Makassar / Indonesia Scientific Society emerged as the champion for the Biofuel/Renewable Energy category, with their innovative product titled “The Utilization of Coconut Waste as A Substrate with the Addition of Cellulotic Bacteria in Microbial Fuel Cell Technology”.
For the category of Green Building/Green Product, the winner went to Universiti Teknologi Petronas team with their project “Design of a Synthetic-Based Drilling Fluid Using Organo-Clay Free Technology and Ground Ilmenite for HTHP Drilling Applications”. Furthermore, the winner for the Biotechnology category was the team from UTM with a project titled “Miniature Bioreactor as Research Tool for Biotechnology Process Development”.
Nurul Ain binti Kamaruzzaman from UiTM Puncak Alam won 1st place in the Poster Presentation Competition with the title “Urban Design”. The Best Template and Design Presentation Award went to the Universitas Islam Indonesia team (Plustreat; Reverse Vending Machine as A Solution of Plastic Waste Recycle), while The Best Presenter Award was won by Muhamad Asyraf bin Ariffin from UTM. The Best of the Best Award went to the champion from the Biofuel/Renewable Energy category, the team from Universitas Islam Negeri Alauddin Makassar / Indonesia Scientific Society.
UTM hopes that this program will be able to create and produce more undergraduate students with real-life skills through competitions such as IBCEx. Moreover, UTM is increasingly making full use of this competition platform to help students to bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical skills needed in the future workplace. Last but not least, the IBCEx 2020 agenda is to be one of the stepping stones to ensure Malaysia can meet the qualification of “United Nation’s Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”.