UTM & NUS Formalized Collaboration to Achieve The Sustainable Development Goals

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and National University of Singapore (NUS) has decided to formalize the existing cooperation and collaboration through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 14th February 2022.

The objective of MoU signing was to exchange scientific, academic and technical information and expertise between both parties to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

UTM was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International), Prof. Sr. Dr. Hishamuddin bin Mohd Ali, while NUS was represented by the Director of NUS Environmental Research Institute (NERI), Prof. Ng How Yong. 

NUS is one of the top universities in Asia. Its key research areas align well with UTM niche areas, such as health innovation, urban sustainability, maritime and offshore research, materials research, and smart nation. 

Both UTM and NUS are also part of the network and alliances of universities in this region, such as the ASEAN University Network (AUN), AUN-South East Asia Engineering Education Development Network (AUN/SEED-Net) and the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE). 

Prof. Hishamuddin said that the collaboration between UTM and NUS actually goes back decades. 

“The short distance between the two institutions and the shared vision and mission have catalyzed the strong culture of collaboration and cooperation with various activities that have been carried out between the students and staff of both institutions such as joint research and publications, visits and exchange of students and staff, as well as exchange of information and academic materials.” 

“Up to this day, these activities are still on-going despite the border closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is thus appropriate that a formal MoU is signed, to consolidate, streamline and assist all activities already on-going and those in the pipelines,” said Prof. Hishamuddin.

He was saying this after the signing ceremony held at UTM Johor Bahru via online platform with his NUS counterpart, Prof. Ng How Yong from Singapore.

“This MoU was spearheaded by the research collaboration between the Faculty of Science, UTM and NERI NUS. The joint research and development activities involved the study of microbes and the microbiomes, specifically plant-microbe interactions and single cell protein production from methane which aimed at integrating bioeconomy with sustainability, through microbiome innovations to improve the way we produce food and feed,” he said. 

From the Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Science UTM, ChM. Dr. Mohd Firdaus bin Abdul Wahab spent two years, from 2019 to 2021, working in the laboratory of the Deputy Director of NERI, Assoc. Prof. Sanjay Swarup at NUS, as a post-doctoral visiting scientist. 

“This research attachment was aimed at creating a long-term collaborative network between UTM and NUS.  It is hoped that through this MoU, the on-going joint research projects can be completed successfully, with more new projects coming in.”

“It is also hoped that this MoU will strengthen the collaboration between the Environmental Biotechnology Research Group (EnVBiotech) and the Faculty of Science UTM with the AgriEnvironmental Systems Biology Group (AESB), which is led by Prof. Swarup, NERI and also NUS in general,” said Prof. Hishamuddin.

This MoU also opened up avenues for collaborations between UTM researchers and NUS scholars, from a wide range of science and technology fields, to enhance research excellence on both sides. 

‘Excellence’ is the core value of both UTM and NUS, and ‘synergy’ being the core value of UTM to ensure impactful collaborations. 

“This collaboration will also lead to enhanced student learning experiences, and the internationalization efforts, through sharing of resources and best practices from both sides,” said Prof. Hishamuddin.