June 30, 2016, by Emma Lowry
The University of Nottingham Malaysia organises the first UK-Malaysia Researcher Links Workshop
The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) recently hosted the first Researcher Links workshop which was jointly sponsored by British Council and Academy Science Malaysia (ASM).
Held at Impiana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, the five-day workshop featured eminent speakers in their respective fields and was targeted at Malaysian and UK researchers. The oral and poster presentations by both the participants and the invited speakers were very well received. The event also witnessed several potential new research collaborations which will be embarked upon shortly. On top of that, there was great interest in the public engagement session, which alone attracted almost 100 participants.
Officiating the workshop by Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr Mohamed Mahyuddin Mohd Dahan FASc, Honorary Treasurer of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) together with Prof Denny Ng and Prof Richard Murphy
The highlights of the event included presentations by Ir Thayananthan Balakrishnan (Chairman of IEM Chemical Engineering Technical Division) and Dr Viachaslau Filimonau (senior lecturer at Bournemouth University) at the public engagement session, which was held at UNMC’s Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre (KLTC) in Chulan Tower. Both speakers shared their insights on the latest issues related to biofuel and sustainability. Another interesting session was on science communication. During this session, Ms Tan Shiow Chin, the assistant editor of The Star (features central: health (Fit for life) / reads / entertainment) provided useful insights on writing for mass media. The session was enlightening for all participants, who were more used to writing for a scientific audience, such as for journal papers and conference proceedings, rather than writing for layman readers and for being published in the newspaper.
This event was jointly organised by Centre of Hydrogen Energy (IFE), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia together with Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES), University of Surrey, UK and Centre of Sustainable Palm Oil Research (CESPOR), and UNMC.
The workshop was fully funded by the British Council and ASM under the Newton Researcher Links Workshop Fund. A total of 40 participants, consisting of 20 from the UK and another 20 from Malaysia, were selected following a strict screening process. The majority were those under 40 (early career phase), with some exceptions given to more experienced participants which were very much interested and fully committed to join this week-long workshop.
Opening ceremony of British Council UK-Malaysia Researcher Links Workshop on ‘Bioenergy, Biorefinery and Bioeconomy’
Aside from the technical sessions, there was also experiential and on-site learning, as well as networking and socialising during outdoor activities and dinner events. On the third day of the workshop, the participants had a full day outdoor trip to three top tourist spots around Kuala Lumpur – Royal Selangor, Batu Caves and Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). On the last day, they made an excursion to an integrated biomass and biogas plant as well as CESPOR in Palong, Negeri Sembilan. The participants not only had a chance to see the biogas plant themselves, but were also able to experience touring into oil palm plantation and biomass processing facilities (e.g. biofertiliser, dried long fibre, etc.) within the vicinity of the plant area.
Social events included a welcoming dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on the first day of the workshop. The participants also enjoyed a cultural dinner at Saloma Bistro on the third day.
All in all, this inaugural workshop was considered by both participants and organisers to have been a great success by providing a unique platform for learning and networking within the research community. UNMC, in particular, looks forward to seeing the collaborations borne from this event develop in the near future.
More information available from Professor Denny Ang