Dr Maisara Shahrom Raja Shahrom, a postdoctoral researcher in
Centre of Research in Ionic Liquids (CORIL), Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) is the first prize winner of the
Falling Walls Lab AIMST 2019 at
AIMST University Kedah on 24 August 2019.
Her three-minute talks titled "Breaking the Walls of CO2 Capture in Greenhouse Gases" was declared the best pitch by distinguished jury from government, academia and business.
As the winner, she will be representing Malaysia in the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin Germany on 8 November 2019 along with the other Falling Walls Lab winners around the world.
She will also attend the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November 2019, where leaders from science, industry, and policy making meet and discuss. She will also be participating in the Springer Nature event on science publishing and a science excursion during the Grand Finale in Berlin.
In addition, she will receive a EURAXESS Prize of EUR 600 (RM 2,778) to enable her to visit any research institute of her choice located anywhere within the European Union, which is a good opportunity to boost her research activity.
Falling Walls Lab AIMST 2019 received 52 applications from around the country, of which 34 most outstanding applicants were selected to present their research work, initiatives or business ideas in front of a high-profile jury and audience.
"It is such an honour to win the first place in Falling Walls Lab AIMST 2019. This award means a lot to me as my aim was not to win. I just wanted to challenge myself and overcome my fear to speak-up about science in public. Never once did I think that I will be representing Malaysia for this competition. I will do my best in the Grand Finale for Malaysia and UTP," Maisara said.
Speaking about her research, Maisara highlights that CO2 is the primary gas in greenhouse gases that drives the global warming and climate change which continue to rise every year.
"The current technology in capturing CO2 is by using amine but it suffers several drawbacks as it has high vapor pressure, corrosive and requires high energy input for regeneration. Hence, my research is focused on developing a new alternative to replace amine to capture CO2 called Amino Acid Polymerised Ionic Liquids (AAPILs) which are more environmental-friendly and would bring benefits to the industry and the environment," she said.
She hopes that her achievement will create more awareness on the importance of science communication among students and researchers.
"It is important to develop interest among students and researchers to deliver their research outcomes to public in the most attractive ways. This is to boost their confidence to speak about science, to educate and to attract audiences' interest in science and technology. Hence, I would like to encourage young scholars to actively participate in whatever science competition available. After all, it is not about winning. it is about the valuable experience that you get which you will not get if you stop trying," she said.
The Falling Walls initiative was founded to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. This event is independently organised by international lab which provides the opportunity to researchers to present their ideas, research projects and initiatives in three minutes.