April 20, 2024

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Universiti Teknologi Malaysia: “Innovating Engineering Solutions” for a More Resilient World

By Mohd Fadthul Ikmal Misnal and Rohaizan Khairul Anuar

JOHOR BAHRU, 4th March – Albert Einstein once said, “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” Indeed, science is about knowing, while engineering is about doing.

World Engineering Day (WED) was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its 40th General Conference in 2019 to appreciate the global community of engineers.

It has been celebrated worldwide on 4th March annually since 2020. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of engineering in addressing global challenges such as climate change, poverty, and sustainable development.

As we collectively learn the lessons from our handling of a global pandemic, there is an increasing awareness of the need to be prepared for the significant issues our planet Earth faces through the 2020s. In essence, 2023 WED’s theme, “engineering innovation for a more resilient world,” can be regarded as our commitment to creating a more resilient global ecosystem, particularly in the face of natural disasters, pandemics, and other crises.

Innovating Engineering Solutions

Overcoming arduous global challenges requires a drastic approach and innovative engineering solutions to ensure infrastructure resilience, disaster response and recovery, efficient water management, sustainable energy, and food security.

At Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), engineers comprising our academics and researchers are at the forefront of technological innovation, designing and developing new products and systems that improve our quality of life, including transportation systems, natural disaster preparedness, medical devices, sustainable food production and renewable energy technologies.

For example, the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Center (DPPC), Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), UTM Kuala Lumpur is where we identify innovative engineering solutions to improve disaster response and recovery efforts, particularly by developing new technologies and systems for emergency management. Our on-site engineers can venture into designing autonomous drones to assist in search and rescue efforts or use machine learning to better predict the paths of natural disasters.

Humanising Engineering

Meanwhile, since its establishment in May 2017, UTM Innovation Centre in Agritechnology for Advanced Bioprocessing (ICA), UTM Pagoh plays a significant role in “innovating engineering solutions” by applying modern biotechnology to comprehensively study bioactive food products, nutrient-dense foods, and sustainable agricultural technology, leading to our national food security. This is how we at UTM humanise engineering to prioritise people’s needs, safety, health, and well-being.

On top of that, our experts from various engineering backgrounds are always here to serve the people and nation. They have a crucial role in solving some of these systemic global challenges.

Leading the pack is UTM Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, whose expertise is in membrane technology, and Prof. Ir. Dr Sevia Mahdaliza Idrus (optical wireless communication system); Prof. Ir. Dr Mohd Salman @ Leong (noise and vibration); Prof Ir Ts Dr Ahmad’ Athif Mohd Faudzi  (artificial intelligence); Prof. Ir. Dr Haslenda  Hashim  (energy); Prof. Dr Edy Tonnizam Mohamad (tropical geoengineering and geohazard); Assoc. Prof. Ir. Dr Shek Poi Ngian (structural engineering) and Ir. Dr Mohd  Azman Abas (EV technology) are among our engineering scholars who provide sustainable solutions through inclusive innovation and breakthrough research.

Notable UTM Engineering Alums

Not only that, but we have also combined forces with our notable UTM engineering alums such as Dato’ Prof. Ir. Dr Alias Mohd Noor (former UTM Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs) and Prof. Datuk Ir. Dr Wahid Omar (UTM 6th Vice-Chancellor); Dato’ Seri Dr Ir. Zaini Ujang (UTM 5th Vice-Chancellor); Dato’ Ir. Hj. Mohd Isa Sarman (Saba Consultant Sdn. Bhd.), Ir. John Cheah Kam Loong (CIENCO Consulting Engineers), Ir. Zawawi Embong (Sarahill Consulting Sdn. Bhd.), and Ir. Hj. Rozali Ahmad (RNZ Integrated  (M) Sdn. Bhd). They all have played a critical role in nation-building, significantly contributing to economic development, social progress, and national security by designing, developing, and maintaining the infrastructure, technologies, and systems that underpin modern societies.

With over 200,000 alums worldwide, primarily engineers, UTM remains relevant in educating and training highly skilled engineers equipped with the integration of high tech and high touch, leading them to build a more sustainable, secure, and resilient world.


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