JOHOR BAHRU, 27 September 2015 – In another global branding initiative by Universti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), the Institute of Bioproduct Development (IBD) together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), with its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, have collaborated in the fourth Natural Products Chemistry Development Program.
The program was participated by sixteen professionals from member states hailing from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, El Savador, Ghana, India, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia and representative from Malaysia.
This fourth series program is a continuance from programs held in 2012 and 2013 respectively, directed towards the African Member States, and another program in 2014, where the focus was towards the Asian Member States.
This year’s program, held from 27th September to 14th October was opened to all member states.
IBD’s association with OPCW began in 2008, in which the Centre of Excellence was asked to bid for the Associate Programme and subsequently was asked to propose a special program aimed at promoting the “good use of chemistry” for the African States.
The training program is intended to apply the use of chemistry for a good purpose with specific application in phytohemistry or natural product chemistry, in line with article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
IBD’s main focus on herbal-based products and bioproduct innovations would be assistive in providing a perspective and understanding in utilizing the phytochemicals in plants to produce high value products in nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, phytochemicals, flavour and fragrance, food ingredients, probiotics, biofertilizers and biopesticides industries.
The program also aims to provide insights into the development of bioproducts with commercial value that would eventually assist with the economic development of the participants’ home country.
The participants held prominent posts in their home country and are mostly expert researchers in the field of biochemistry and natural products chemistry development.
The program enabled participants to work together with other experts in an interactive knowledge sharing environment on fundamental research and hands on projects towards the development of bioproducts.
IBD’s Director, Prof Ramlan is pleased with the outcome which has shown that IBD UTM has the facilities and manpower to train 158 participants from member countries in using natural product chemistry as a way to develop a vibrant industry that creates economic opportunities and promote wellness by using their traditional knowledge on indegenous plants.
Fifteen years of experience in developing Malaysia’s herbal industry was shared with the participants in the hope that similar policies and effort can be adopted and tailored to the individual country’s landscape.
The program was officiated by Dr Rohan Pereira, the Director of the International Cooperation Branch who was present on the first day of the course.
IBD have received positive feedbacks as OPCW is looking forward to a sustainable strategic collaboration in the scope of training and research especially targeted for those coming from countries in transition with UTM.
Through the success of this program, UTM will have the opportunity to send its researchers for training in other member state countries, utilizing a similar grant.
The program is also endorsed and co-organized by Malaysia’s National Authority in Chemical Weapons Convention, Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently headed by HE Dato Tan Seng Sung.