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​UTP to Promote STEM in Sarawak

(14 March 2019)



UTP Director Institute of Autonomous System Associate Professor Dr Vijanth Sagayan Asirvadam (representing Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib) (second from left) together with other MoU signatories at the signing ceremony

Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) and The Learning Curve (TLC) today to promote interest in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) to tertiary and secondary students in Sarawak.


The signatories for the MoU were UTP Director Institute of Autonomous System Associate Professor Dr Vijanth Sagayan Asirvadam (representing Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib), UM Vice Chancellor Datuk Ir (Dr) Abdul Rahim Hashim, UNIMAS Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi and The Learning Curve Founder and Programme Manager Kenneth Chai.


All parties will work together in the areas of joint and articulated education public outreach programmes, joint teaching, research or cultural activity, mobility of faculty, scholars and students between institutions, staff professional development as well as sharing of creation of educational materials and resources.


To kickstart the education public outreach programme, the four institutions will jointly research, develop and launch an educational hybrid (solid fuel – liquid oxidiser) rocket on a sub-orbital trajectory flight from Sarawak by 2021.   This is part of the social enterprise's National STEM Initiative to establish an active STEM community and platform in Sarawak.


The educational space programme will be participated by secondary students via its annual offshoot event, Blast Off in June this year.


The first Blast Off! will be a solid fuel grain design competition. The two-day event in Kuching will start with a full-day workshop covering Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry and Orbital Mechanics for participating schools followed by 3D modelling and printing of every team's unique fuel grain.


The fuel grains will then be ignited to test its thrust, burning efficiency and duration. The winning design will be scaled and power the actual hybrid rocket in 2021/2022.


The nationwide endeavour will see UTP, through its Institute of Autonomous System, modelling and simulating the hybrid rocket flight dynamics at its facilities in Seri Iskandar Perak.   UM will conduct the rocket's structural dynamics analysis before its physical assembly by UNIMAS' faculty of engineering at Kota Samarahan. 


UTP Institute of Autonomous System focuses in the research and development of enabling technology, devices, materials, systems and infrastructures for autonomous system applications.


In addition to Institute of Autonomous System, other research institutes in UTP are Institute of Self-Sustainable Building, Institute of Health & Analytics for Personalised Care, Institute of Contaminant Management for Oil and Gas, Institute of Hydrocarbon Recovery for Enhanced Oil Recovery and Institute of Transport Infrastructure for Smart Mobility


All institutes are primarily focused on serving the Oil & Gas industry and conduct specific niche research programmes to support PETRONAS's core business and the nation's development for the benefit of the industry and the nation.