May 25, 2024

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UTM’s Pioneering Role in Planetary Health Education and Sustainability

In the ever-evolving landscape of scientific exploration, a novel frontier has emerged—planetary health. This burgeoning field delves into the intricate relationship between human well-being and the health of our planet. At the forefront of this transformative movement is the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), where interdisciplinary collaboration and sustainable initiatives take center stage.

UTM’s Planetary Health Initiatives

Recently, the UTM team from the Architecture program, housed within the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, joined forces with the Faculty of Civil Engineering to showcase remarkable collaboration and expertise at the MSSA OIC competition. Three UTM teams were shortlisted as finalists, presenting groundbreaking solutions to environmental and societal challenges. The award ceremony, held at MITEC Kuala Lumpur on November 19, 2023, celebrated the exceptional achievements of these talented individuals.

The notable recipients included architecture students led by Alif Mauliddin Bin Reza Syahrial and civil engineering students, including Fajrul Amin Bin Mansuri and Adzrri Bin Noor Azman. Under the mentorship of Ts Dr. Leng Pau Chung and Ts. Dr. Mohd Nur Asmawisham Bin Alel, these teams not only secured the Consolation Prize but showcased exceptional dedication and skills.

Planetary Health in Higher Education

Planetary health has become a transformative action-plan for higher education, intertwining environmental, social, and health crises. This approach is crucial in preparing today’s educators to innovate solutions. UTM, recognizing the urgency of this paradigm shift, has embedded the spirit of Planetary Health into its Sustainability Blueprint 2030.

This comprehensive masterplan outlines strategic initiatives, focusing on Net Zero Carbon Campus and Ecosystem Resilience. By aligning with key elements of planetary health, such as low carbon and conservation indicators, UTM is at the forefront of translating research into impactful action plans.

SDG Agenda and Planetary Health in Education

Since 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have dominated inter-government discussions. UTM’s commitment to these goals is reflected in its ongoing efforts to create a Planetary Health Education Framework. This framework, spearheaded by selected leaders in UTM, serves as a guide for educators, institutions, and learners, promoting transdisciplinary actions to protect and restore planetary health.

Living Laboratory Concept

In line with UTM’s Living Laboratory concept proposed in 2015, the university has become a breeding ground for collaborative endeavors across disciplines and sectors. The ongoing action works include utilizing clean water from underground sources to prevent waterborne diseases and conserving natural ecosystems, such as the Hutan Rekreasi and River Trails of UTM.

Foundational Domains of Planetary Health Knowledge

The Planetary Health Education Framework at UTM focuses on five foundational domains: interconnection within nature, health equity, systems thinking, transdisciplinarity, and resilience and adaptation. These domains form the essence of planetary health knowledge, values, and practice.

UTM’s Journey Beyond Competencies

UTM’s journey with the Planetary Health Education Framework aims to move beyond a prescriptive list of competencies. Instead, it recognizes diverse inquiries that shape planetary health concepts in science, technology, and higher education. This praxis-driven approach encourages participatory teaching methods and unique learning pathways, responding to local priorities and global agendas.

Enculturation of Sustainability

UTM stands as a proactive institution in the enculturation of sustainability across sectors in higher education. The institution’s dedication to sustainability and its ongoing initiatives exemplify a commitment to embedding Planetary Health ideas into reality.

As UTM pioneers the integration of planetary health education, it not only meets the requirements of the SDGs but also inspires a collaborative and innovative spirit among its students and faculty. The university’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and planetary health is a testament to its vision for a thriving and interconnected future. The UTM team’s outstanding results are not just commendable; they are a catalyst for future collaborative endeavors, ensuring that UTM continues to make a lasting impact on global challenges.

By Prof. Ir. Dr. Mohd Fadhil Md. Din, Director of UTM Campus Sustainability


UTM Recreational Forest in Johor Bahru campus.


One of UTM Eco-Tourism attraction in Johor Bahru campus




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