April 16, 2024

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Preparing Researchers to survive the AI race: Industrial Forum on Current and Future Digital Skills Trend for Researchers (Held in conjunction with RCM 2023)

On May 14th, 2023, the School of Graduate Studies and the Postgraduate Student Society UTM (PGSS UTM) hosted an Industrial Forum titled “Current and Future Digital Skills Trend for Researchers”. The event was held as part of the Research Carnival Month 2023. It boasted a diverse panel of experts from both academia and industry, including AI-based software founders, a postgraduate online discussion moderator, and Dr. Muhammad Abd Hadi Bin Bunyamin, a Research Executive at UTM Vice-Chancellor’s Office and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UTM.

The panellists consisted of a reputable group of professionals such as Dr. Matej Guid, Founder of InstaText.io and Professor at the University of Ljubljana; Dr. Phil Gooch and Emma Warren-Jones, Co-Founders of Scholarcy; Puan Anita Adnan, Founder of the Doctorate Support Group FB Page and Megabase Group of Companies. Rozita Jayus and Evarina Amiron, both members of PGSS UTM and doctoral candidates from FSSH, UTM moderated the event.

The forum was a resounding success, with 158 participants registered from various Malaysian and international universities and ministries. Attendees came from reputable institutions such as UTM, UTHM, UPSI, UCSI, UTS, UITM, OUM, University Islamabad, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, TAR, UMT, UNITAR International University, UMP, Southern University College, UMK, Higher Education Department Lahore, UUM, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Ministry of Development Malaysia, Ministry of Health Malaysia, National Heart Institute of Malaysia, Stellenbosch University of South Africa, and the American University of Nigeria. The overwhelming number and diversity of participants is a testament to the significant interest in the forum’s topic, which focused on effectively utilizing digital tools and the associated skills required.

The event’s panellists delved into three crucial questions concerning researchers’ digital skills. These questions revolved around the current and future digital skills necessary for researchers to enhance their research workflow, ways to tackle ethical and reliability concerns when digitizing research skills, and the impact of AI digital tools on researchers’ skills and research quality.

The panellists provided insightful answers, including brief demonstrations of research tools utilized for the literature review and the writing process. These demos emphasized the significance of digital skills. They showcased how using various tools can enhance critical analysis of literature, ensure clarity and conciseness in writing, and maintain research originality by preserving one’s unique perspective.

In conclusion, the forum panellists underscored the need for researchers to adopt a discerning approach towards AI and digital tools. Dr. Muhammad Abd Hadi Bin Bunyamin encapsulated it succinctly: “Be a Critical Friend to AI.” This statement stresses the importance of critically analyzing results generated by AI tools.

During the forum discussion, Dr Phil and Ms Emma illustrated how combining digital tools can enhance research results’ reliability and intuition while maintaining a critical approach. Dr Matej highlighted the significance of well-structured and edited research writing that conveys research effectively while retaining the writer’s original voice. Puan Anita stressed the importance of using digital tools that meet the researcher’s needs and are comfortable to use.

The discussion insights provided new perspectives on the skills required to improve research originality, reliability, criticality, and writing quality with the help of digital tools such as AI-based software. The audience was satisfied with the forum discussion and expressed interest in similar sessions on current issues in the future. Hence, such discussions will be organized regularly to cater to the audience’s needs and preferences.

To learn more about Research Carnival Month 2023 (RCM 2023), please visit https://sps.utm.my/rcm2023/.

The link to the video can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/PGSSUTM/videos/100917079678713. Industrial Forum RCM 2023 Speakers and Participants

Report prepared by Evarina Binti Amiron, Head of Activity Committee, Research Carnival Month 2023

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