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JOHOR BAHRU, 13 May 2015 – In the face of global competition, universities are adapting to the challenges in innovative and impactful ways to make a difference. Sustainable innovation and entrepreneurial mindsets are called for towards creating a versatile and dynamic human capital able to adapt to rapid challenges.

These are the ways forward for universities, based on the discussions and conversations among more than 74 international participants from 38 universities, involving 13 countries to UTM’s 7th University Presidents Forum, held in UTM Johor Bahru Campus. Of these, a total of 28 are Vice-Chancellors, Presidents, Rectors of the respective universities, while 14 others are Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice-Presidents. This is a high-profile program, by far the largest of its scale, that will further enhance UTM’s visibility as a global university in line with UTM Global Plan 2020.

UTM’s University Presidents Forum (UPF) serves as a platform for university leaders to identify common issues and opportunities for research universities that would further strengthen the roles and relevance of universities. The leaders present their diverse views, insights and experience on global education and research. The movement of people, goods and technologies led to the introduction of new ideas, customs and values hence enhancing the need to understand the dynamics of local context, governance and culture. Responding to these challenges, the thematic for the 7th UPF is “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nation Building”.

The theme recognizes the fact that innovation and entrepreneurship are increasingly becoming significant drivers of economic growth towards wealth creation, prosperity, and well being of the nation. This is very much in line with the value system adopted by UTM through its “innovative—entrepreneurial—global” tagline.

The keynote speakers highlighted the changing dynamics of University education in response to a competitive and challenging global environment. This has re-defined the role of Universities to not only focus on knowledge discovery and application, but to play a more significant role in economic transformation, wealth generation and value creation. There is also a more urgent need for engagement among all stakeholders, namely, industries, businesses, the government, and Universities.

Inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary education and research collaboration can be synergised in effective and impactful ways to enhance human capital development and competencies. Business and technology transfer and Industry Customized Education can contribute to creating a more innovative and entrepreneurial economic eco-system. Global engagement beyond the University and the role of Research & Business Development oriented undertakings are important drivers of economic development.

A strong institutional DNA that responds to the need for innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives will provide the capacity for economic development, leading to wealth creation and economic growth, which will subsequently improve universal wellbeing and prosperity.

Higher education and the research agenda must align with the Industry’s Innovation and Competitiveness agenda to make a difference.

More flexible education and research centres can enhance connectivity or address dis-connectivity or barriers that hamper University-Industry collaboration. Universities could take a number or paths, such as fostering interdisciplinary research, or promoting potential projects which specifically aim to solve challenges faced by the Industry.Universities should also put more emphasis on Development in more effective ways, rather than focusing merely on Research.

However, there is a need to find a balance between R & D and Entrepreneurship. Innovation and Entrepreneurship conducted at the University should not focus on profit making alone in terms of dollars and cents. But rather, should also promote the well-being of the nation.

A panel discussion session on “Strengthening ASEAN University Networking”, was also held, with panelists deliberating on the merits of strategic and impactful University partnerships

The forum is a showcase of the university’s commitment in forging greater partnerships with its international counterparts.

UTM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ir. Dr Wahid Omar stressed that UTM will continue to leverage on the multilateral partnership framework with organizations to promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship as key drivers for Nation Building. He hoped the forum will mark the start of greater interactions between UTM and its partners, in particular participating institutions of the forum.

Keynote speakers at the forum were:

Prof. Dr. Caroline McMillen, from the University of Newcastle, Australia who will talk on building partnership between Universities, Government, Industry and Communities;
Prof.Dr. Caroline F.Benton from the University of Tsukuba, Japan on creating flexible Education-Research Structure for the future society;
Prof.Ji-BeomYoo from Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea on Academia-Industry Collaboration in Knowledge Creation and Innovation; and
Prof.Dr. Michael Adebola Adewumi from Pennsylvania State University, USA on Research & Development as Drivers of Sustainable Economic Development.

MoU signing sessions were also held between UTM and 8 international institutions and 4 Malaysian institutions as follows:
8 International institutions:
1. Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom
2. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria
3. Majlis Pendidikan Tinggi Muhammadiyah, Indonesia
4. Yamaguchi University, Japan
5. HITEC University Taxila, Pakistan
6. Singapore-ETHCentre, Singapore
7. Universitas Islam Negeri Walisongo Semarang, Indonesia

4 Malaysian institutions:
9. Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
10. Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
11. Universiti Malaysia Pahang
12. Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia


UTM organized University President Forum (UPF) 2015 held at Senate Hall, UTM Johor bahru.
UTM  University Presidents Forum (UPF) 2015 held at the Senate Hall, UTM Johor bahru.

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