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Curtin Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS hold research sharing seminar to foster research collaboration

May 23, 2022 | Campus News

Miri – 20 May 2022 –  Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) and Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) recently jointly hosted a research sharing seminar to foster research collaboration between the two universities.

The seminar on on green technologies and biomass waste-to-value added products, which was conducted in hybrid mode, was attended by over 50 participants from both universities. This included nine delegates from UTP led by Dr. Ts. Lam Man Kee and Dr. Chai Yee Ho, Deputy Head 1 and Deputy Head 2 respectively of UTP’s Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HiCoE)-Centre for Biofuel and Biochemical Research (CBBR) (HiCoE-CBBR), who were on a visit to Curtin Malaysia’s campus.

Facilitating the seminar were associate professors John Lau Sie Yon and Bridgid Chin Lai Fui from Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science.

In his opening remarks at the start of the seminar, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Prof. Tuong-Thuy Vu, welcomed the UTP delegation and briefed the participants on the Faculty’s research and development (R&D) capabilities.

Meanwhile, Dean of Research and Development and Director of the Curtin Malaysia Research Institute (CMRI), Prof. Ramasamy Nagarajan, gave an overview of R&D activities and projects at Curtin Malaysia. This was followed by R&D sharing by Dr. Ts. Lam, who gave an overview of  HiCoE-CBBR’s operations.

Other speakers from UTP during the sharing session were Dr. Chai and postdoctoral researchers Dr. Mustakimah Mohamed and Dr. Marhaini Mostapha, and postgraduate students Leong Wai Hong, Vienoth Segar, Nur Akila Syakida Idayu Khairul Anuar, Nadzirah Azmi and Syazmi Zul Arif Hakimi Saadon.

Representing Curtin Malaysia were Associate Professor Bridgid Chin from the Faculty of Engineering and Science and Dr. Kiew Siaw Fui from the CMRI. The sharing session was moderated by senior lecturer of civil and construction engineering and Higher Degree Research (HDR) programme coordinator, Dr. Tan Yie Hua.

The UTP delegation’s itinerary at Curtin Malaysia included a tour of the campus, a meet-and-greet session with staff of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and a visit to the Sarawak state government-owned Sarawak Biovalley Pilot Plant (SBPP), which is managed and operated by Curtin Biovalley Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Curtin Malaysia..

Prof. Vu commented that the delegation’s visit and the seminar marked the next level of an ongoing collaboration with UTP.

“Our two institutions share a common focus on energy and bio-processing research, and each has their unique strengths and experiences in these areas which can be synergised for impactful joint research,” he said.

“I am very pleased to receive the UTP team here in person after over two years of only online engagement. This will lead to much closer and more accelerated collaboration in time to come.”  

He added that the two universities aim to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) soon to set in motion collaboration encompassing the sharing of academic knowledge and best practices, staff and student engagement and exchange, joint education and research activities, and joint organising of academic and scientific workshops, seminars, symposiums or conferences.

CBBR was established in April 2010 by Professor Yoshimitsu Uemura with support from the Mitsubishi Corporation Education Trust Fund: Mitsubishi Corporation in Green Technology between 2010 – 2016. Its research focuses on biomass processing technology, reaction engineering, feed stock study and torrefaction technology.

In 2013, CBBR was formally recognised as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in UTP, expanding the technology horizon to include knowledge and technology development to deliver several pilot-scale projects, including catalytic gasification and biodiesel transesterification pyrolysis of biomass. As a research-centric centre, CBBR is also involved in consultation, training and societal outreach programmes with various stakeholders, including researchers, academicians, industry players and society.

Curtin Malaysia is widely recognised for its achievements in applied research firmly focused on solving real-world problems. Current research initiatives at its Faculty of Engineering and Science and the CMRI focus on three main areas, namely bioprocessing, future energy, and intelligent and sustainable technologies, which are closely aligned with UTP’s. Biotechnological research, meanwhile, is conducted at the SBPP.

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