February 25, 2019, by Rob Ounsworth
Research Vision Malaysia: an update from Professor Deborah Hall
The University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) reputation campaign in April 2018 was extremely successful in its reach across Malaysia and beyond, writes Professor Deborah Hall, UNM’s Vice Provost for Research and Knowledge Exchange.
The campaign focused on our high-quality research, and highlighted three research areas and 16 academics who are having an impact tackling some of Malaysia and ASEAN’s key challenges (food and sustainability; health; and the environment). But let’s not forget that UNM has fantastic researchers working in many other areas; we have lots of hidden gems to shine our spotlight on.
The current call for Research Centres is the first step to refreshing UNM’s narrative about our Research Vision. Research Vision Malaysia will inform the direction of research at UNM over a five-year period. The Centre call is one way to review our interdisciplinary research opportunities and ambitions. Centres will become the main way UNM delivers its Research Vision, focusing on the quality of our research, its potential for both impact and application in the region, its potential to secure funding in a changing and challenging funding environment, and to understand the future sustainability of particular research areas within UNM, as well as how these research areas align with government priorities.
This latter point is important if we are to leverage funding/grant opportunities and to build Malaysia’s reputation for research strengths in areas that are relevant to the health and wealth of Malaysia and Southeast Asia. It’s also important for the sustainability of our research ecosystem at UNM. We’re mindful too of current trends in Malaysia such as continued research funding challenges, new entrants in the market such as Japan, and some degree of national protectionism on research.
Continued promotion of UNM’s research base and engagement with priority audiences is vital in ensuring profile. Creating a strong, consistent narrative about research at UNM will encourage partners both internally in the UK and China, and externally to work/collaborate with us. Therefore, with the wider support from the UK, I am already planning a series of targeted activities throughout 2019 and into 2020.
In May 2019, I will be presenting the Research Vision Malaysia to Research Committee UK. This will be developed in conjunction with Dr Elizabeth French, Head of Strategy, Policy, Performance and Impact (UK) and our Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee Malaysia. Throughout 2019, I’ll be working to develop the content and messaging, as informed by the overarching new research strategy for the University of Nottingham, and the ‘One University’ approach. Research Vision Malaysia and our Centres ‘Beacons of Excellence’ in Malaysia will be launched in 2020 with an internal event at the start of the year followed by an external launch to coincide with celebrating our 20th anniversary.
I’m really excited by the prospect of galvanising the UNM academic community to own and drive the Research Vision Malaysia, giving a purpose and direction to our research endeavours. Please do engage!