Date: 14 -18 November 2018
Venue: Main Hall, UTP; UTP Lake; Oval park; Sports Complex; Village V4 Parking
Person in Charge:
En Ahmad bin PG Abdullah
Date: 15 November 2018, Thursday
Time: 10.00 – 11.00 am
Venue: Senate Hall
Date: 16 -18 November 2018
Venue: Chancellor Foyer, UTP
Date: 17 November 2018
Venue: MPH CETaL, UTP
Pn Shariza binti Mohamed Shuhidan
Date : Sunday, 18 November 2018
Time : 8.00am to 6.00pm
Venue : UTP Chancellor Hall
Date: 23 - 25 November 2018
Time: 8.00am - 6.30pm
Venue: Seminar Room 4, 6, 7 & 8, Undercroft, UTP
Date: 24 - 25 November 2018
Time: 8.00am - 10.00pm
Venue: Chancellor Hall, UTP
Obejctive: The goal of this event is to organise an e-sporting event in a well-conducive environment for gamers to feel real experience of competing in E-Sport games tournament. It enables students to develop their soft skill and improve critical thinking in planning strategies and practice effective communication. It would also develop students' spirit of competing in a healthy gaming environment.
Date: 6 - 16 December 2018
Time: 8.00am - 5.00pm
Venue: Chancellor Hall and Seminar Room 6, 7 & 8, Undercroft, UTP
More than 200 riders from all around peninsular Malaysia participated in the UTP ConvoRide 2018 together with UTP staff and students and the local community.
This annual cycling competition was organised by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in conjunction with the university's 18th convocation ceremony. It was flagged off by UTP 18th Convocation Chairman, Associate Professor Dr Ku Zilati Ku Shaari.
The ride covered a distance of 110km. Along this route, the riders cycled through the roads of Bota, Beruas, Manong, Parit and Seri Iskandar.
PETRONAS Senior Vice President, Project Delivery & Technology, En Mazuin Ismail and CEO of Uzma Berhad, Dato' Kamarul Redzuan Muhamed once again joined as participants.
The ConvoRide, returns for its seventh year, aimed to promote healthy lifestyle among participants and promote the scenic views of Perak to the riders. But most important of all, cyclists got to do their part for charity, as profits from the competition were channeled to Yayasan UTP or UTP Foundation (YUTP).
YUTP plays a key role in seeking donations and forging new partnerships with individuals and organisations. Contributions to the Foundation will provide much needed funds for the granting of scholarship to deserving students, supporting research and innovation, the development of activities related to arts, sports and culture within the university context and supporting the administration of the university. All contributions to YUTP will be tax deductible under Section 44(6) of Income Tax Act, 1967.
More than 2,100 runners gathered at the Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) Chancellor Complex for the GoGreen Convo Run 2018.
The yearly event saw participants, including UTP students and staff, the local community and runners all over Malaysia, test their limits in the 21km and 7km distance.
The event, organised by UTP, supports for a greener future. Apart from medals, finishers for both races were gifted with plants such as kacip fatimah, kerdas and beruas.
It also aimed to promote healthy lifestyle as well as strengthening UTP's relationship with its surrounding area.
Now in its fourth year, the GoGreen Convo Run 2018 was organised in conjunction with the university's 18th convocation ceremony to be held on 18 November 2018.
Present at the event were UTP Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib, UTP Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs and Alumni Associate Professor Dr Nor Hisham Hamid and UTP 18th Convocation Ceremony Chairman Associate Professor Dr Ku Zilati Ku Shaari.
Other events to be held in conjunction with UTP 18th convocation are ConvoRide (cycling competition) on 4 November and ConvoFest from 14 – 18 November.
The ConvoFest's activities will be organised according to five different themes namely Academic Day, Islamic Day, Sports Day, Entertainment Day and Chill Day. In addition to the themed events, various activities will be organised such as handicraft exhibition, bookfest, traditional food fest, batik/labu making demo, sukan rakyat, chess competition, futsal, netball, futsal, paintball and archery.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) has done the country proud when it made the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia University Rankings top 100 list for the first time.
It now ranks 99th compared to 101st last year, and is the only private university in Malaysia placed in the top 100.
The 99th position is, by a clear margin, the University's highest achievement in the QS Asia University Rankings. Since its debut in 2014, the university has improved significantly in the rankings by leapfrogging 92 places.
The criteria of evaluation for the 2019 QS Asia University Rankings have increased from ten to eleven domains, with the addition of international research network.
According to its Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib, analysis into the ranking results showed significant improvements in four indicators, namely papers per faculty, international faculty and inbound and outbound exchange students which placed the university into the top 100. UTP is the best performing university in papers per faculty as it is placed 74th regionally.
The first indicator provides an indication of the overall research productivity of the university, the second reflects the university's internationalisation and the final indicates the size of each institution's inbound and outbound student exchange programmes.
"Moving forward, we will continue our primary focus in providing superior academic programmes, innovative research and enriching student experiences in our quest towards global prominence.
Our goal now is to claim the top 50 spot in the QS Asia University Rankings by 2020," he said.
The homes and surrounding of about 30 orang asli families at Kampung Ayer Denak is now brightly lit thanks to the setting up and installation of ten solar powered lamps by 21 Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) students.
When night falls, some of the village's area are pitch black. With the solar powered lamps, villagers are now able to continue their daily chores at night. They can also carry out activities at night among their family members and other villagers.
The lights come with solar panel, solar controller, battery and LED light bulbs. The light bulbs are easily replaceable.
The installation of the solar lamps is under a project called Hope UTP 2.0. Its objective is to encourage society to adapt to the use of renewable energy, specifically the solar energy, in their daily lives.
Nur Shaza Aliah Mahmud, the Hope UTP 2.0 project manager, said even though one may think that providing lights is a small effort, her team hoped that it may assist the orang asli for a better living environment, quality of life and hopefully, a better future.
"With this project, students and society can work hand-in-hand to make a positive change for the future of our young generation. We can be role models and inspire other youths to bridge the differences in culture, religion and standard of living," she said.
UTP students and the villagers who were involved in the project have now a better understanding of the working principle of a solar panel and the impact of the solar energy towards mother nature and the future.
In addition, the students, who came from different engineering fields such as Chemical, Electrical and Electronics, Mechanical, Petroleum and Civil, worked as a team and use the knowledge and skills they have acquired to execute the project.
Apart from the solar lamps, the students also contributed and installed water filter at the village.
As a lead up to Hope UTP 2.0, the students also hold pre-events such as conducting donation drives and organising school activities in rural areas.
The project was under the supervision of Dr Chong Su Li (Management and Humanities Department), Associate Professor Dr Mohamed Hasnain Isa (Civil & Environmental Engineering) and Mohd Zairee Shah Mohamed Shah (Human Resource Management & Administration).
It is part of the General Studies or Matapelajaran Umum (MPU) national requirement prescribed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. The course is designed to ensure that students acquire some basic elements to be applied in a community engagement project to support students' development. The social and value emphasis on this community based project is in line with UTP's mission to produce well-rounded graduates with a broad-minded, balanced and holistic view.
20 Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) students recently organised a community programme with 60 orang asli from Kampung Tumbuh Hangat Bota Perak. They brought along and contributed six laptops sponsored by Lenovo, Japanese tables and standing fans to provide a more comfortable and conducive learning environment at the village's multipurpose hall where the orang asli children study.
The effort was part of the General Studies or Mata Pelajaran Umum (MPU) national requirement prescribed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. The course is designed to ensure that students acquire some basic elements to be applied in a community engagement project to support students' development. The social and value emphasis on this community based project is in line with UTP's mission to produce well-rounded graduates with a broad-minded, balanced and holistic view. It was also organised to align with UTP's university social responsibility framework which is education.
The students held various activities during the two-day programme at the village. They began with cleaning up the multipurpose hall. Next, the group carried out PT3 and SPM workshops for the orang asli's children and shared learning tips to prepare for the examinations.
A computer workshop was also held to expose the orang asli community to the world of information technology with the new laptops.
The students also bond with the community through games as well as learn and understand about the village's culture and living style.
"We really appreciate UTP students' effort in providing the sponsored laptops for our children. We will use them wisely and hope that we will have more opportunities to collaborate with the university," said Panjang Jasmani, the village head.
"Our team is called Cahaya, which represents care, hope and youth. We are really thankful to the villagers for their support and commitment throughout this programme.
"We hope that this programme will benefit the orang asli children and help them to do well in their studies," said Ariffin Mohamad Annuar, the project director.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) takes great concern in the effort to address climate change.
In view of this, UTP Go Green Movement in collaboration with the European Union today organised the Climate Diplomacy Day (CDD) 2018, a forum to raise awareness to the public on climate change that is taking place every day all around the world.
The event was further supported by Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia or PEKA Malaysia, Forestry Department Malaysia, The Department of Orang Asli Development or JAKOA, UTP Eco Project, UTP Postgraduate Student Representative Council, UTP MPU4 or UTP General Studies Group, American Institute of Chemical Engineers-UTP-Student Chapter, UTP ASEAN Student Association and UTP Centre for Student Development.
As the diplomatic mission of the European Union, the Delegation's task is to promote closer ties with Malaysia by providing an efficient and reliable communication channel between the EU and Malaysian authorities, business, education institutions and civil society.
The Delegation also promotes people-to-people contact and highlights Europe's cultural and linguistic diversity. It supports European higher education exchanges and facilitates cooperation in the field of science and technology through its activities.
The CDD 2018 gathered knowledgeable speakers of different background to talk on climate change with the theme "Business Case for Fighting Climate Change". The speakers were Sophine Tann Executive Member for PEKA (representing civil society), Dr Abdul Aziz Bari Committee Chairman for Education, Science, Environment, Green Technology and Information (representing government), Roberto Benetello CEO EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (representing business community) and Professor Dr Shamsul Rahman bin Mohamed Kutty Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering Department UTP (representing academia).
The event saw 250 participants from UTP ASEAN Student Forum, UTP Postgraduate students and Universiti Sains Malaysia.
As part of the many initiatives in raising awareness on climate change, UTP Go Green Movement organised a community trip visit to Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Gapes, Perak which involved more than 50 participants comprising UTP students and staff, delegation of the European Union to Malaysia, Department of Orang Asli Development and the orang asli.
The visit aims to engage the rural community of Perak into the discussion of climate change and its impact on the livelihood of villagers in the future.
It also empowers students with the ability, knowledge, and independence to produce, create and showcase their ideas that contribute to the improvement of the environment.
In addition, it provides a platform to establish UTP as an effective CSR partner to other organisation.
The CDD 2018 ended with the EU Delegation and participants riding bicycle and planting of trees at UTP.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) has maintained its position at the 601-800 band in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019, retaining its position in the top 2% globally.
The university scores the highest for the research domain in Malaysia, the second highest in the industry income and international outlook as well as the third highest in Citation.
Out of the five (5) domains, UTP makes significant improvements in Research (from 23.4% to 30.7%) and Citation (from 16.1% to 26.7%). There are also increment of scores in Teaching (22.4% to 25.2%) and International Outlook (63.6% to 64.9%).
THE World University Rankings performance indicators are grouped into five areas namely Teaching (30%), Research (30%), Citations (30%), International Outlook (7.5%) and Industry income (2.5%).
Out of approximately 26,000 higher learning institutions worldwide, the THE World University Rankings 2019 includes more than 1,250 top universities.
With its strong standing in both the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and THE World Rankings, UTP proves to be a world class university in providing quality graduates and research outputs.
PSSCM UTP had successfully organized Majlis Makan Malam Alumni bersempena Sambutan 20 Tahun PSSCM IPT Perak where more than 69 participation been accepted by the PSSCM UTP alumni members. The event was officiated by Prof. Dr. Hilmi bin Mukhtar, UTP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and attended by the guest of honor; YM Datuk Haji Maideen bin Kadir Shah, Guru Utama and President of Persatuan Seni Silat Cekak Malaysia (PSSCM), Tuan Haji Mohamed Noor Rosli bin Baharom, Advisor 1 of PSSCM UTP, Encik Abdul Halim bin Saad, Yang Di-Pertua PSSCM Cawangan Perak, and Dr. Mohd Azuwan Bin Maoinser, Advisor 2 of PSSCM UTP.
Collaboration with Universiti Teknologi MARA Perak (UiTM Perak) and Politeknik Ungku Omar (PUO) had shown a tremendous success where more than 50 alumni from both institutions joining this event. Attendees from YUTP, Alumni Unit, Centre for Student development (CSD), Student Representative Council (SRC), Rakan Masjid, Residential College Support Unit (RCSU) and MedTEch made this event even meaningful. Participation of PSSCM IPT Perak and UTP co-curriculum (KSP 1151) students has given them the chance to meet the alumni.
PSSCM UTP is honoured to have Prof. Dr. Hilmi Mukhtar, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic (DVCA) who had officially launch PSSCM UTP Alumni Chapter. This has become a historical moment for PSSCM UTP for being the first club/ society with its own alumni chapter. UTP, on the other hand, will obtain some indirect advantages to the return of alumni. Nonetheless, PSSCM UTP convey the sign of gratitude by given the token of appreciation to the committed advisor, Tn. Haji Mohamed Noor Rosli Bin Baharom who has been with PSSCM UTP for 20 years.
The event is enliven with the Silat Cekak Malaysia performance represented by PSSCM Cawangan Perak members.
YM Datuk Haji Maideen Bin Kadir Shah, President and Guru Utama PSSCM has proudly award the PSSCM's book collection to UTP through Prof. Dr. Hilmi Mukhtar, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic (DVCA) that includes indexed and high-quality journal papers on the research conducted by PSSCMs together with the books of 25- and 50-years historical journey of PSSCM. Apart from that, YM Datuk Haji Maideen has conferred the appreciation token to the advisors, supervisors and founders of PSSCM IPT Perak. Alumni Outstanding Award has also been conferred to one of PSSCM UTP alumni, En. Arif Bin Mohd Zainudin on top of his contribution to PSSCM and PSSCM UTP.
46 Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) students from the Mechanical Engineering programme has set the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) for the most number of stick bombs. The stick bombs comprised of 30,050 sticks with 703.2 metres in length.
To set the MBOR, the students need to set off a stick bomb with a minimum of 20,000 sticks and 500 metres in length.
A stick bomb is a (mechanical) spring-loaded device constructed out of flat sticks woven together held under pressure. The stick bomb is constructed by crossing two sticks into an "x" shape. When a key stick is removed, the entire structure flies apart by chain reaction displaying basic principles of physics and kinetic energy.
"We have been preparing for this project since October last year. The main challenge is to ensure that everyone master the weaving of the sticks. In addition, the sticks are highly sensitive to weather, they will be deformed if we use them too many times," said Nur Shamilah Shadun Zubiar, the project manager.
"The time taken to weave the stick bomb also plays an integral part, if it is more than six hours, the sticks will not move," she added.
The event was organised by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers UTP Student Chapter with Associate Professor Dr Mokhtar Awang as the advisor.
It provided a platform for engineering students to develop both their technical and soft skills and apply them in the real world. It also helped equip students with the ability to synthesise issues and communicate effectively to diverse audiences as well as develop and practice skills required in the workplace.
In April last year, UTP successfully made it into the MBOR for the first time for the longest great ball contraption machine.
52 students from Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Computer and Information Sciences were involved in the making of the machine. It is 26.18 metre-long and incorporates 50 engineering, scientific and programming concepts. It consisted of 21 stations that generate a chain of actions by showcasing 34 basic principles of physics.
Fishing for a Good Cause (15 September 2018)
More than 600 avid anglers came together at the crack of dawn for the UTP Peacock Bass Daiwa Master Challenge 2018. They came from all over Malaysia, even as far as Australia, with one common mission, to catch as many peacock bass as possible at UTP Lake.
The competition was held in conjunction with UTP 18th Convocation Ceremony and is part of UTP's CSR effort to improve the native fish population by removing the peacock bass. The fish is a predator as it eats almost any small native fish, thus affecting the local fish ecosystem.
The event was organised by UTP Angling Society in collaboration with Persatuan Pemancing Perak with Daiwa, Silibin Tackle and the Perak Fisheries Department as the sponsors.
Present at the event were UTP Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib, UTP 18th Convocation Ceremony Organising Committee Chairman Associate Professor Dr Ku Zilati Ku Shaari, Daiwa Sports Malaysia General Manager Mr Soo Ngie Cheong, Daiwa Singapore General Manager Mr Mai Gawa, CEO Silibin Tackle Mr Leong Wai Loong and Chairman of the Peacock Bass Master Challenge 2018 En Imtias @ Amir Bahauddin.
Almost 100 peacock bass was caught. The fish was then replaced with 50,000 fishes donated by Perak Fisheries Department and released into one of UTP Lake.
Mohd Afendi Hanafi was announced as the grand prize winner as he caught the longest peacock bass at 43cm. He walked away with fishing items worth more than RM3,000.
For next year, the Peacock Bass Master Challenge will feature a fish exhibition apart from the peacock bass challenge to attract more anglers to participate in this event, especially from abroad. The Perak Fisheries Department has also shown a keen interest in donating more fish and research collaboration with UTP.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) Performing Arts Group (UPAG) has done Malaysia proud as they will compete in the Cheonan World Dance Festival 2018 in Cheonan South Korea from 12 to 16 September 2018.
UTP and its Mandarin Debate Unit will be organising the 4th Northern Malaysia Mandarin Debate Tournament (NMMDT 4.0) from 12-16 September at its campus in Seri Iskandar.
UTP Academic Advisory Council (AAC) is a forum for exchange of ideas between the university and eminent scholars.
The council is responsible to guide and provide strategic direction for the development of the University to be in tandem with the University's vision, mission and aspiration towards global prominence.
The theme for this year's meeting is "The emerging future and sustainability of Higher Education".
AAC members who were present for the two-day meeting were:
1. Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid, Chairman of the Board of Directors, University of Malaya
2. Tan Sri Dato' Azman Hashim, Chairman, AmBank Malaysia and Pro Chancellor, Open University Malaysia
3. Mr Briand Greer, President, ASEAN Region, Honeywell International Inc.
4. Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Founder of Grameen Bank and Yunus Centre
5. Professor Abid Khan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Global Engagement) Monash University, Australia
6. Professor Choi Han Suk, Professor of Graduate School of Engineering Mastership, Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea
7. Professor Dr Reiko Kuroda, Professor, Research Institute for Science & Technology, Tokyo University of Science
8. Professor Feng Da Shuan, Special Advisor to the Rector and Director of the Global Affairs Office, University of Macau and Senior Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
9. Professor Dr Michael A. Celia, Director, Princeton Environmental Institute & Theodora Shelton Pitney Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, USA
10. Professor Dr Deo Karan Prasad, Chief Executive Officer CRC for Low Carbon Living Ltd, University of New South Wales, Australia
11. Dr David Wood, Futurist, UK Management Consulting, London
In conjunction with the World Engineering, Science and Technology Congress (ESTCON) 2018, UTP also organised four memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony, two exchange of documents ceremony and six mock cheque presentations with its partners.
MoU Signing Ceremony
1. UTP and Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa
The collaboration between UTP and Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa will be in the areas of student mobility and staff development.
Signatories from UTP were the Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib
and Director Strategic Alliance Office Associate Professor Dr Fawnizu Azmadi Husin
For Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa the signatories were the Rector Dr Andy Tirta, M.Sc.and Dean of Faculty of Engineering En Muhamad Hidayat, S.T., M.T.
2. UTP and Ground Data Solutions
Under this collaboration, UTP and Ground Data Solutions will work together in various areas including joint industry research and development projects, joint consulting projects, joint training, student internship, and engagement of Ground Data Solutions employees as adjunct lecturers at UTP.
Signatories from UTP were Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim and Associate Professor Dr Fawnizu
while Ground Data Solutions were represented by the Executive Chairman YBhg Dato' Nik Nasruddin Mahmood and the Managing Director Gs Trudy R Ganendra.
3. UTP and Solutas Consultancy Sdn Bhd
Signing on behalf of UTP were Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim and Associate Professor Dr Fawnizu while Solutas Consultancy Sdn Bhd were represented by the Managing Director En Alxy Reen Awaludin and the Group Managing Director En Mohamed Qholif Shah Izron Dadameah.
Under this MoU, UTP and Solutas will cooperate and work together to enhance the employability rate of final year students of UTP from B40 Income Group.
4. UTP, Yayasan UTP (YUTP) and Schlumberger WTA Sdn Bhd
Under this agreement, Schlumberger will be sponsoring two students to pursue their Master of Science in Drilling Engineering programme at UTP.
UTP is represented by Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim, YUTP was represented by the Director Pn Nor Adela Dinyati while Schlumberger WTA Sdn Bhd was represented by the Managing Director En Azhar Abdullah.
EXCHANGE OF DOCUMENTS
1. UTP and Eliis Sdn Bhd
UTP was represented by the Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim, while Eliis Sdn Bhd was represented by the Regional Manager (SEA). Jusmila Baharom.
Eliis Sdn Bhd has donated its PaleoScan software to UTP worth USD400,000 or approximately RM1.6 million. The software will assist our students and researchers to interpret 3D seismic images thus enabling a better understanding of geology.
2. UTP and MIMOS Berhad
The second exchange of document was between UTP and MIMOS Berhad. Representing UTP was Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim while MIMOS Berhad was represented by Mr Thillai Raj T.Ramanathan, Chief Technology Officer.
UTP will collaborate with MIMOS in the areas of joint research and development projects, consultancy projects, student internship, staff mobility and adjunct lectureship programme at UTP.
MOCK CHEQUE PRESENTATIONS
1. Sponsorships for ESTCON 2018
En Rizal Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Java Offshore Sdn Bhd presented a cheque amounting RM30,000 to UTP Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim and also Chairman of ESTCON 2018.
The second mock cheque worth RM50,000 was from Techsource Systems Sdn Bhd, as the Main Sponsor of ESTCON 2018. Jason Loh Techsource Country Manager presented the cheque to Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim.
Pn Halimahton Ahmad Chief Executive Officer of International Conference and Exhibition Professionals or iCEP, also presented a mock cheque amounting RM200,000 to UTP. PETRONAS was the principal sponsor of ESTCON 2018.
2. Sponsorships for YUTP Postgraduate Scholarship Programme
For this purpose, Baker Hughes a GE Company presented a mock cheque worth RM100,000, Halliburton Energy Services (M) Sdn Bhd sponsored RM126,000 while the final cheque presentation was from Schlumberger WTA Sdn Bhd with the amount of RM252,000.
Baker Hughes a GE company was represented by Mr Suresh Sinnappu, Global Account Head, Halliburton Energy Services (M) Sdn Bhd was represented by Mr Rao Abdullah Vice President NOC & Region Independents, AP Global Operations while En Azhar Abdullah represented Schlumberger WTA Sdn Bhd.
More than 1,000 experts from nearly 40 countries of diverse fields of research and innovation gathered for the World Engineering, Science and Technology Congress (ESTCON) 2018 held in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre beginning 13 August.
The two-day congress was organised by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), with the support from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, Academy of Sciences Malaysia, SIRIM Berhad and Yayasan Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (Yayasan UTP).
The congress was officially opened by YBhg Datin Paduka Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir, Director General, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education on 13 August.
The closing ceremony was graced by YB Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, Deputy Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, representing its Minister, YB Yeo Bee Yin, the following day.
With the theme "Science, Technology & Humanities: Reinventing the Future", ESTCON 2018 is one of the largest congresses in the world with ten simultaneously-held international conferences.
The conferences are International Conference on Oil & Gas Engineering Technology (ICOGET 2018), International Conference on Civil, Offshore & Environmental Engineering (ICCOEE 2018), International Conference on Production, Energy and Reliability (ICPER 2018), International Conference on Geosciences (ICG 2018), International Conference on Process Engineering and Advanced Materials (ICPEAM 2018), International Conference on Intelligent and Advanced Systems (ICIAS 2018), International Conference on Computer & Information Sciences (ICCOINS 2018), International Conference on Fundamental and Applied Sciences (ICFAS 2018), International Conference on Leadership and Management (ICLM 2018), International Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences (ICHSS 2018).
Each of these conferences will focus on different issues pertaining to their respective themes. These ten conferences are in tandem with UTP's objectives and goals and allows the university to open up new frontiers, pioneer research, create new technology, and introduce innovative solutions and methods for industry. It enables sustainable development that will bring mutual benefits to the environment, economy and society.
The fifth edition of ESTCON featured four keynote speakers who shared their valuable insights on reinventing the future in line with Industry 4.0.
The speakers were Dr David Wood, Chair of London Futurists and Principal of Delta Wisdom with the topic "Anticipating Successive Waves of Changes as the 4th Industrial Revolution Accelerates".
Professor Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, President Academy of Sciences Malaysia and Vice Chancellor Universiti Sains Malaysia delivered a keynote address on the topic 'A Road Map for Malaysian Science' while Professor Ir Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani President and Group Chief Executive, SIRIM Berhad spoke about the 'Standards for Industry 4.0/Smart Manufacturing Challenges and Opportunities'.
The final speaker, Professor Muhammad Yunus Nobel Laureate, Founder of Grameen Bank and Yunus Centre delivered his keynote address entitled 'A World of Three Zeros' at the closing ceremony.
The congress also included several forum sessions with 20 plenary speakers and 30 forum panellists to discuss on the advent of Industry 4.0 which will change the nature of higher learning education and how it affects the future generation of students.
ESTCON 2018 is also a platform to help innovators and inventors to commercialise their inventions through its Innovation Pitching programme. Introduced in ESTCON 2014, the programme allows innovators and inventors to pitch new technologies to potential investors for commercialisation.
The main sponsors for this year's ESTCON were PETRONAS, Techsource Systems Sdn Bhd, Dialog and Java Offshore Sdn Bhd. Others included Transwater, MIMOS, Dixson FA Engineering, Halliburton Energy Services (M) Sdn Bhd, Neu Dimension Sdn Bhd, Schlumberger, OPITO and Creative Minds while New Straits Times Press (NSTP), Astro Awani and Bernama were the media partners.
This year's World Engineering, Science and Technology Congress also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between four Malaysian Government Linked Universities (GLU) and institutions under the Indonesian Aliansi Perguruan Tinggi Swasta Berbasis Badan Usaha Milik Negara or APERTI-BUMN.
Signing on behalf of GLU was Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul as the Chairman and also UTP Vice Chancellor. Professor Dr Akhmaloka signed on behalf of APERTI-BUMN. He is also the Rector of Universitas Pertamina, one of the five institutions under APERTI-BUMN.
The event was witnessed by YBhg Datin Paduka Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir Director General, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education.
She was accompanied by representatives from Malaysian GLU namely Professor Dato' Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha, Vice Chancellor of UNITEN, Professor Dato' Dr Ahmad Rafi Mohamed Eshaq, President of MMU and Professor Datuk Dr Mazliham Mohd Suud, President of UniKL.
Also joining them on stage were the four representatives under APERTI-BUMN. They were Dr. Ir. Supriadi Legino, Chairman Sekolah Tinggi Teknik PLN (STTPLN), Ir. Rachmawati Wangsaputra, Chairperson Sekolah Tinggi Manajemen Logistik Indonesia (STIMLOG), Prof. Tjiptohadi Sawarjuwono, Vice Rector for Academics and Students Affair Universitas Internasional Semen Indonesia (UISI) and Professor Adiwijaya Professor of Computing and Director of Bandung Techno Park Universitas Telkom (TELU).
This collaboration is the first step to strengthen the positions of Government-Linked Institutions within the ASEAN region and later on at the global stage.
(The Star, 29 July 2018)
IT’S something like Shark Tank on TV. Fantastic ideas fielded by R&D owners to hungry investors who bid competitively for a share of the spoils.
“Same spirit but different style,” says Muhammad Syazwan Amarjit Abdullah, senior director of UTP’s Technology Transfer Office which oversees the Innovation Pitching Event.
“This year we tightened the range of pitches to the most viable projects making our event highly attractive to investors.
“Our format is now more a showcase to invited venture capitalists, industry captains, technology incubators and accelerators based on their interest and nature of business.
“Each research team leader will pitch their idea to potential investors and collaborators. They are free to ask questions discreetly instead of in an open forum with an audience.”
For the first time, it will be a closed-door affair. Innovation pitching is a highlight of ESTCON 2018, UTP’s biennial world engineering, science and technology congress of 10 conferences to be held next month in Kuala Lumpur. This year’s theme is Science, Technology & Humanities: Reinventing The Future.
The pitching sessions of 2014 and 2016 were attended by venture capitalists, government agencies and industry representatives. Typically, decisions were not like the on-the-spot drama seen on the popular TV show. The process could actually take a long period before ending up with an agreement between all parties involved.
This year, UTP is working with Platcom Ventures Sdn Bhd, the national technology commercialisation platform of Malaysia, which has pre-screened innovations by UTP researchers. They have shortlisted the top 15 most viable projects and identified the investors most hungry for these particular innovations. Among them are government incubator agencies, venture capitalists and industry representatives.
“This helps us zoom in on the right kind of investor or collaborator, instead of matchmaking randomly,” says Syazwan. “They already have a genuine interest. It would be fabulous to have a bidding war as this would really encourage our researchers and students.”
Among this year’s pitches will be innovations in the fields of construction, oil and gas, information technology, sustainable energy and agriculture. Some have already been patented. In all 15 pitches, the lead investigators and project owners are academics. The innovations not shortlisted for the pitching session will be showcased at the ESTCON 2018 exhibition hall.
Feedback from previous years has been valuable. Potential investors have said some technologies were just not ready, and some needed more testing and validation. Some investors wanted more market research to be done.
“All this has helped our researchers make their projects more market-ready, and on par with peers and competitors,” says Syazwan.
Typically, new technologies emerging from universities are at their infancy and need support for product development which includes prototyping, market validation and more, to actually be ready for commercialisation. These need funding too.
“Some of our pitches seek collaborators, not strictly investors, who can jointly develop a product or technology for market readiness,” says Syazwan. “The important thing is to get things moving because technology can get overtaken and be outdated very quickly. Our researchers also pitch their projects at several other platforms besides ESTCON. Some projects are pitched several times before an interested party comes along.”
UTP’s Technology Transfer Office, established in 2016, bridges the gap between researchers and the market. It enables consultation, testing, and matches industry partners for the university and its various research departments.
“Our role is to translate and effectively exploit all research outcomes and scientific breakthroughs into cutting edge innovation that would have impact in the sustainability of technologies as well as creating new technologies for businesses in industries and communities,” says Syazwan.
“Globally, universities have evolved. The aim is market penetration; the game is sustainability in every way.”
Worldwide, innovation pitching is thought to be crucial to a researcher’s journey to commercialisation. It exposes scientists to the real world of investors who mostly abhor being part of research and development and hope to get their hands on a ready product that can fly off the shelves immediately.
“Market readiness is a key element of any innovation,” says Syazwan.
UTP’s students are also exposed to activities which are very similar to a pitching exercise throughout their studies. They bring a presentation of their projects to impress and convince their peers, judges of various events such as the Science, Engineering & Design Exhibition (SEDEX). Students are given guidance and support by the Technopreneurship Development Centre (TDeC) which focuses on inculcating and nurturing technopreneurial skills preparing them for their own start-ups and other business endeavours.
In the global context, enterprise is a major engine of economic growth and wealth creation. Building entrepreneurship into education is a positive and necessary response to the increasingly complex world we live in.
“Our kids need to be equipped with entrepreneurial competencies which include business acumen, problem solving, critical thinking as well as ownership,” says Syazwan.
“Our idea of entrepreneurship is to develop students into well-rounded people with a competitive edge for the future.”
To meet UTP scientists and explore a range of innovations, applications and solutions for all industries, visit the ESTCON 2018 exhibition hall. Sign up at estcon.utp.edu.my.
Integrated Suspended Growth BioReactor (i-SGBR)
Inventor: Prof Dr Shamsul Rahman M Kutty
A low cost, small footprint sewage treatment centre that is easy to build and so highly self-sufficient that it does not need to be connected to a centralised sewage system. Best used in remote locations like offshore platforms, highway stops, small islands and eco-tourism centres. It can also be used in small factories whose process wastewater contains organic biological waste but not heavy metals.
Inventor: Assoc Prof Dr Bashar S Mohamed
A green, low-cost, super strong building material made of rubbercrete promises high noise reduction and impact absorption, but low thermal conductivity.
Inventor: Prof Dr Noorhana Yahya
Nanotechnology applied to ammonia (a byproduct of the oil and gas industry) and urea manufacturing makes both the product and the process cleaner, greener, more efficient and so versatile that bespoke versions can be created for different crops and farming geographies. Overcomes traditional problems of leaching and volatility.
Power Generating Window
Inventor: Prof Dr Norani Muti Mohamed
A dye solar cell makes windows convert light into electricity. Now collaborating with SIRIM on product development, to be market-ready in 2020. Interested partners and collaborators for commercialisation welcomed.
Hollow Fibre Membrane Prediction Programme
Inventors: Prof Dr Azmi Mohamad Shariff and Assoc Prof Dr Lau Kok Keong
Software developed for the oil and gas industry for a membrane that does separation of carbon dioxide on the platform as oil is processed. This software has already been commercialised with Process VU Sdn Bhd. Now in use in Malaysia and Thailand.
Nano Composite Heat Sink
Inventor: Prof Dr Faiz Ahmad
A substrate that transfers heat from LED lights to the atmosphere to keep the appliance cool. Signed licensing agreement in 2017 with Nano Malaysia Berhad which is in negotiation with a manufacturer.
Discover your place in a brand new world shaped by Industry 4.0. Here are nine things you will learn at UTP’s annual engineering, science and tech congress in August this year.
Futurist David Wood, a pioneer of the smartphone industry and chair of London Futurists, is the star speaker at ESTCON 2018. “He will show you what the future looks like,” says Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib, Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and Chairman of ESTCON 2018. “Connect to his forward-thinking perspective, get deep insights of how the cyber and physical worlds are merging, and be inspired to start your journey to the future.”
For navigational tools to chart your future, listen to Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia and President of Academy of Sciences Malaysia, who will reveal the landscape of opportunities in Malaysia, and Prof Ir Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani, President and Group CEO of SIRIM, who will talk about how standards are morphing with Industry 4.0.
With 10 conferences running concurrently – 40% international delegates – the technical tracks layer into discussions about people, human behaviour, social sciences and developments here and abroad, making ESTCON 2018 the most comprehensive, up-to-date conversation about a brand new world.
New technologies mean new innovations, especially by small companies and entities. “We need to anticipate opportunities, and that is a big thrust at ESTCON 2018,” says Associate Professor Dr Fawnizu Azmadi Hussin of UTP’s Faculty of Engineering and Advisor of ESTCON 2018. “Innovations can be at any level in any industry from transport, food delivery, maid services to ultra-sophisticated products and services in engineering and medicine.” At every step of the way, Industry 4.0 is about innovation, and the best innovations make life faster, cleaner, greener, cheaper and address the future of the planet. Some sectors, like agriculture, are just waiting for radical innovation.
UTP exposes students to entrepreneurship in a systemic way so they get an understanding about funding, venture capital and investment. “ESTCON puts our students into future scenarios,” says Mohamed Ibrahim. “When they graduate, they can translate their passion into enterprise. Our role is to provide awareness and education. If we continue to think in traditional ways, our people will be just consumers, our country will stagnate, and our young people will leave.” Out there, repetitive, manual tasks in an office or plant, for example, will no longer be a human role, which means an SPM qualification won’t be enough for a career. When academics get a feel of the real world, they can shape the curriculum of the future and best delivery methods. UTP’s goal is to enable a graduate to adapt to any industry at any time of his or her life.
The biggest impact of Industry 4.0 will be manifested in manufacturing. Business will go on but expect mighty transformations of established industries as they harness Industry 4.0 into their future. Companies that reject new tech will be overtaken by new players. “Industry 4.0 makes businesses review themselves,” says Mohamed Ibrahim. “At ESTCON 2018, we will talk about the future of companies and their use of technology.” Work styles, facilities, efficiency and jobs are already changing, and manufacturing plants can predict and pre-empt a problem. Unmanned offshore platforms, dangerous jobs, communications and inspections are being automated with an amazing, rippling transformative effect on all segments of society. Humans will focus on jobs that require design, marketing, analysis and judgement.
In the end, all of this must benefit people. “If it doesn’t make life better, then it’s of no use to us,” says Mohamed Ibrahim. “We also know that some people are afraid of automation and artificial intelligence. That’s why we encourage all Malaysians to come to ESTCON 2018. Consumers need inside knowledge of policies, guidelines, fair trade and ethics.” At the exhibition, consumers will see health and lifestyle problems being resolved by Industry 4.0.
A big expectation of Industry 4.0 is a leaner, greener and cleaner economy that continues to enrich people safely, efficiently and happily, freeing humans to be creative and original. “There will be much discussion on sustainability and prosperity at ESTCON 2018,” says Fawnizu. “The Internet has shown us that a single person can have a voice as loud as a giant corporation to sell goods and services. We’ve seen how ride-hailing apps unleashed idle cars into the transport system and created new work. Paperless memo policies literally saved money and trees. Digital technology has enabled flexi hours for women and longer careers for all. Instant review mechanisms have empowered consumers and resulted in more honesty and better quality.”
This is a huge concern now that all our devices are connected to the Internet and therefore to each other, meaning our lives can be hacked into. “Making our systems secure against malicious intent is tops,” says Fawnizu. “Security is a big topic at ESTCON 2018. When you see a low adoption rate of new smart technologies, you can be sure it’s because of security.” At corporate, manufacturing and revenue levels, can someone hack into a system and steal money or information? Security itself is a field needing more innovation, and as a country we are still short of local expertise. Cybersecurity Malaysia CEO Dato’ Amirudin Abdul Wahab, an ESTCON 2018 forum speaker, will share our current standing.
Today’s generation is known for its strong desire to be free, which makes freelance work more attractive than a full-time job. “That’s why UTP is pushing the technopreneurship agenda for students,” says Mohamed Ibrahim. “This makes them feel confident about being independent, to set up their own businesses and boldly float their ideas to the right people.” One of ESTCON’s signature events is Innovation Pitching. Students, researchers and faculty pitch their business ideas to potential investors, whose own ideas also shape trends. Delegates will get a deep understanding of the career landscape. “It’s important for UTP to develop students to be versatile because we can’t predict what jobs will be like in the future. The lines between work and leisure have blurred and the rules have changed.”
The ideal future is a world in which you don’t worry about wealth and don’t do manual labour. But first, there needs to be radical change. “The more education a person has, the more humility he should have,” says Fawnizu. “With humility, we can break boundaries between people, arrest greedy behaviour and still have plenty. Industry 4.0 may well open the doors to that. As we rule out the lower paying assembly line type jobs, it might be the change we seek.” For ideas on compassion in work and wealth, ESTCON 2018 features the inspirational Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus at the closing ceremony. Yunus, now 78, who pioneered microfinance in Bangladesh and founded the Grameen Bank in 1983, is today a social entrepreneur – a clear sign that things must change.
About Industry 4.0
INDUSTRY 4.0, a subset of the fourth industrial revolution, is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It describes a future characterised by total digitisation. It is enabled by the combined power of many kinds of technologies and the fact that all devices are connected via the internet. It requires integration at every step in the production process, interaction with machines, and get this… machines interacting with one another on their own.
The nine pillars are autonomous robots, simulation, augmented reality, horizontal and vertical system integration, the industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, cybersecurity and big data and analytics.
Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah launched a book titled ‘Perak Sultanate: The Historic Royal Glory of Perak Tengah’, at Malaysia Petroleum Club, Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
Published by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and The New Straits Times Press, the book is part of UTP's corporate social responsibility to help highlight the rich cultural heritage of the Perak Sultanate.
Sultan Nazrin in his speech said the book shows UTP's deep commitment to the important task of preserving the past and learning some of its lessons, as an essential part of preparing to meet the challenges of the future.
“As a historian myself, albeit more directly concerned with its economic aspects, I endorse this aspiration and welcome the contribution of this book towards it.
“It is also commendable that the university that was established to pursue excellence and innovation in the realm of sciences is taking such an interest in supporting an endeavor that is so fully centred on the arts, in the form of culture and history of our region and its monarchy,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin described the book as not only a delight to peruse with its beautiful design and photographs, as befitting its regal subject matter, but also a unique repository of some of the most striking aspects of the Perak Sultanate's cultural heritage and some of the important events that have shaped the Sultanate over its nearly half a millennium history.
“As the (former) UTP Vice-Chancellor Datuk Ir Abdul Rahim Hashim said in his foreword, the rich historical tapestry that is woven by the book provides its readers with both a greater understanding of the past and inspiration for the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib who succeeded Abdul Rahim as UTP vice-chancellor in May this year, said he hoped the book will help the younger generation gain knowledge on the monarchy in this country.
“This book was written with an easy-to-understand writing approach to attract the interest of young people, especially students to understand and appreciate the (line of) succession of the Sultanate of Perak which started in Perak Tengah,” he said.
The book was jointly written by the senior director of UTP's Project Management Office, Associate Professor Dr Shahrina Md Nordin and NSTP chief executive officer Datuk Seri Abdul Jalil Hamid.
Also present at the launching ceremony was Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu and Media Prima group managing director Datuk Kamal Khalid.
To purchase the book, email the UTP author at email@example.com or call 05-3688686.
Source: NST TV
A chemical engineer turns waste into fuel.
Two teams from Centre of Research in Ionic Liquids (CORIL), recently participated in the YALE UNIVERSITY: Green Chemistry Video Challenge 2018.
The teams were:
1) Noor A'in, Joshua Raj, Dr Magaret : Topic - Dye removal from textile wastewater using ionic liquids.
2) Abdul Rahman Nordin, Dr Maisara Shahrom: Topic - Carbon dioxide capture by polymerized ionic liquids.
Both videos sent by UTP was selected as the top five Honorable Mentions among the hundreds of international participants.
Click here to view the videos and background of the competition: https://greenchemistry.yale.edu/education/undergraduate-graduate/student-videos-green-chemistry
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS’ (UTP) has announced the appointment of its new Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.
Its acting vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib said the appointment was to facilitate the building of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Exploration Centre. He said the exploration centre, initiated using funds from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sirim Berhad and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), would benefit UTP students and the public. "We fully welcome the appointment as a trust and responsibility given to us which we will shoulder with full transparency and integrity," he said at the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on the wakaf effort and zakat distribution for the B40 group, here, today.
Meanwhile, MAIPk Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Dr Amiruddin Muhamed said MAIPk approved UTP's application to be the 'mutawalli' for a period of two years as it could comply with the shariah rules. "The role of the 'mutawalli' is to collect enough wakaf funds to develop a specific project that has been approved," he said.
At the MoA-signing ceremony, UTP was represented by Mohamed Ibrahim and MAIPk by Amiruddin, and witnessed by Institute of Technology Petronas Sdn Bhd (ITPSB) board member, Datuk Raiha Azni Abdul Rahman.
Earlier, ITPSB handed over a zakat contribution of RM1 million to Tabung Amanah Zakat UTP, as well as zakat and incentive payments to 72 needy students of UTP.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS is the 77th best university among the universities in the BRICS region and emerging economies according to the Times Higher Education (THE) University Rankings 2018.
The university jumps 14 places from its previous ranking of 91st last year.
This places UTP amongst the top 100 of the best research-led universities in the developing world. Within Malaysia, UTP is ranked second after UM.
Eight other Malaysian universities also made it into the rank, namely UM at 27, UTM at 101, UPM at 108, UTAR at 114, USM at 135, UKM at 151 and UNITEN 159. UUM made it within the 251 – 300 band. In terms of score, UTP scored an overall mark of 32.0. where else UM 40.9.
UTP scores the highest in industry income (87.5%) in Malaysia and second in Malaysia after UM for international outlook (63.2%).
More than 350 institutions from 42 countries, classified by the FTSE as "advanced emerging", "secondary emerging" and "frontier".
The ranking uses the same 13 rigorous performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings, examining each university's strengths against all of its core missions. The performance indicators are grouped into five areas: teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer). However, the methodology has been carefully recalibrated to better reflect the characteristics and development priorities of the universities in emerging economies.
"The recognition by THE is an accomplishment that we are very proud of and we will continue to strive up the rankings. The quality of everyone's continuous dedication and commitment in ensuring excellence through various initiatives like teaching and research activities and other university operations, are well reflected in this university ranking," said UTP Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.
Credit: Times Higher Education (THE)
Full Emerging Economies University Rankings: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2018/emerging-economies-university-rankings
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and The Energy Institute (EI) of the United Kingdom today announced that they have entered an agreement for UTP to establish the Oil and Gas Industry Education Hub (OGIE-Hub) that creates greater professional exchange and skills' development opportunities through an establishment of a reference centre of knowledge in energy sector.
EI is the UK's professional body responsible for developing and sharing knowledge, skills and good practice towards achieving a safe, secure and sustainable future for the energy sector as a whole.
Located in Malaysia, OGIE-Hub will be headed by Professor Ir Dr Mohd Shahir Liew, who is also UTP's Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation.
OGIE-Hub will become the centre of excellence in quality and standardisation among Malaysia-based institution of higher learnings that offer energy related programmes. The hub will also be the ambassador among university students and stakeholders to support the broader industry education and fostering increasing links between industry and academia.
UTP and EI will also collaborate with partners of the OGIE-Hub to solve societal challenges related to energy and renewable energy.
OGIE-Hub is an initiative to position Malaysia within the Global Energy Landscape. Strong energy demand in Southeast Asia is contributing to the shift in the global energy system's centre of gravity from West to East.
In addition, the government is ambitiously transforming Malaysia into a major maritime energy hub and revitalising the oil and gas sector. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to establish the OGIE-Hub.
The idea of pursuing a Hydrocarbon Working Group at EI has been enhanced further after syndication of UTP's steering role in EI. To that effect, EI Leadership team endorses a full reformation and restructuring of the EI Malaysia Exco to have better representation from the upstream, midstream, downstream, academia, industry or government through an establishment of local sub-branch of EI Malaysia in Perak.
"UTP is not only committed to fundamental research, but also emphasises on industrial engagement. We are committed to ensure that our academicians are professionally recognised at international level and all research conducted must be beneficial for the society and has business value," said UTP Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.
"UTP welcomes collaborations that would complement the function of OGIE-Hub. The establishment of OGIE-Hub will assist the university's outreach efforts to serve its students and stakeholders better, as UTP move towards global prominence. We are honoured to have this opportunity which further signifies UTP as the leading private university in Malaysia."
Managing Director (Asia Pacific) of the Energy Institute United Kingdom Peter Godfrey said that EI aims to contribute to both economic growth and a high quality of life (QoL) as it undertakes to resolve various challenges in society through innovations in science and technology. In doing so, it is important to produce graduates from accredited institutions.
"The OGIE-Hub will serve as a reference centre of knowledge where expertise and knowledge in energy will be gathered and quality and standardisation of energy education will be assured," he said.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) and Kedah Chinese Assembly Hall will once again collaborate to organise the Red Sonata Fiesta 2018 (RSF2018), a Chinese Orchestra competition.
This was announced by UTP Director of Centre for Student Development Associate Professor Dr Nurlidia Mansor and Huazong Deputy President Datuk Cheng Lai Hock, at a press conference recently.
This year's RSF will be held from 29-30 June at UTP campus in Seri Iskandar Perak, anticipating 5,000 participants.
With the theme "Reminiscing Fall", RSF2018 provides a platform for Chinese orchestra enthusiasts to showcase their talents and skills. Furthermore, it is an avenue to spark and increase the young generation's interests, especially primary and secondary students, in traditional Chinese music, particularly Chinese Orchestra.
UTP would like to invite students from the primary, secondary and higher institutions, as well as the public to participate in RSF2018. The competition is divided into six categories namely Chinese Big Orchestra Competition, Chinese Orchestra Small Chamber Competition, Band Competition, Dance Competition, Choir Competition and Solo Competition.
Participants also have the opportunity to join Master Class sessions for classical piano, conductor or erhu, and Suona Sharing Session which will be held on July 1.
To register or for more information on the event, participants can visit RSF's website at https://rsf2018.weebly.com/.
At UTP, students are given various opportunities to participate in sports and take part in cultural activities and performing arts. This is in line with UTP's aim to produce well-rounded graduates, who are not only outstanding in academic but who are also innovative and creative.
UTP's Chinese Orchestra encourages talented young musicians to explore and share their love of Chinese traditional music. It also seeks to diversify UTP's musical community through orchestral performances and activities.
Through event like RSF2018, UTP's Chinese Orchestra is set to inspire young people to play music together to bridge cultural and musical differences.
UTP congratulates Dr Subarna Sivapalan, Head of the Centre for Social Transformation for Sustainable Lifestyles on winning the National Eco-Lecturer Award, in conjunction with WWF Malaysia's National Eco-Champions award recently.
The prestigious Eco-Champions awards pays tribute to local environmentalists who have gone the extra mile to contribute towards sustainability efforts within their communities.
UTP is proud to have a national award winning eco-award winner amongst us. We wish Dr Subarna all the best in her upcoming environmental and sustainability initiatives.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in collaboration with National Professors Council (MPN) Cluster of Industry & Innovationrecently organised the roundtable discussion on the topic "Establishment of an Ecosytem for Producing Innovative Graduates".
The discussion started with an opening remarks by MPN Cluster Head of Industry & Innovation Prof Dr Mohamad Kamal Harun followed by a forum.
The panellists for the forum, CyberSecurity Malaysia Chief Executive Officer YBhg Dato' Dr Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab, Norimax Sdn Bhd Executive Director Ir Max Ong Chong Hup and Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) Director of CEO's Office Dr Zainul Fadziruddin Zainuddin shared their insight with attendees who included academicians and industry players.
UTP Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs and Alumni acted as the moderator.
The MPN Industry and Innovative Cluster has been conducting several roundtable discussions on issues concerning the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0).
One of the key areas is to achieve an 'Innovation Driven Economy'. The Cluster has identified that there is a critical need to establish a conducive ecosystem in providing a suitable environment for nurturing and developing the innovative capabilities of our graduates.
Apart from the forum, there were also workshops to discuss issues and challenges related to the topic.
At the end of the roundtable discussion, UTP Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib handed over the roundtable discussion resolutions to Prof Mohamad Kamal.
As a higher institution, UTP will ensure that continuous efforts are made so that its students are equipped with the capabilities to adapt the opportunities and challenges of IR 4.0.
[23 September 2018, The Star]
Windows will soon be doing much more than letting in light and protecting against wind and rain!
IMAGINE the windows in your home harvesting the sun's energy to power your entire household's electrical needs. It may sound like something out of a movie, but it's closer to reality than you'd think.
We are quite familiar with solar cells that heat our water and generate electricity in homes and other buildings. However, a team of Malaysian scientists is taking solar technology a step further – by adding power generating capability to building features such as windows, blinds, sun roofs or canopies.
The source of their inspiration stems from nature and the most important biochemical process on the planet – photosynthesis.
"We are developing thin-film photovoltaic devices that can be used to create an electricity-generating window," says Professor Dr Norani Muti Mohamed. "The process is a kind of artificial photosynthesis. We use a dye to capture the light energy just as plants use and process chlorophyll to capture the sun's energy."
Norani is the Director of the Centre of Innovative Nanostructure & Nanodevices (COINN) at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP). She is also a Professor at the Fundamental and Applied Sciences Department.
"Initially researchers extracted chlorophyll to study the process of photosynthesis in plants," she explains, adding that eventually this led to the use of a dye sensitiser together with the metal oxides to generate electricity. "Then in 1991 scientists Brian O'Regan and Michael Grätzel showed that dye-sensitised solar cells (DSC, or Grätzel cells) had a higher energy conversion efficiency," she adds.
Norani has built upon this research since 2009 – using nanotechnology and the latest iteration of the DSC technology engineered at the lab at COINN – to create an electricity-generating window.
In Malaysia, Norani says, the technology is mainly targeted for Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) for roofing deployment. For this third generation solar technology, solar cells can be fixed as non-viewing windows, blinds, glass walls, sunroof or canopy.
"It's extremely suitable for modern architectural design where glass structures are used to enhance the building's characteristics," she says, adding that the dye solar window is the only product that can be integrated into a building's architecture.
"There are large windows areas in commercial and residential structures in Malaysia, which offer a huge opportunity to generate solar energy. This will create more sustainable urban environments, where buildings become energy self-sufficient and energy secure."
A news report last year pointed out that solar cell technology was the key in tapping into the energy potential of windows and other transparent objects. The report estimated that 5 to 7 billion sq m of glass surface in the US could be used to meet 40% of the country's energy demand.
Solar energy is a clean, renewable, and in Malaysia, an abundant energy source. It has been harnessed for solar thermal applications such as water heaters, and for electricity generation. For the latter, solar or PV cells – generally mounted on the roof of a building – are used to harvest the light energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
But these conventional solar cells have some drawbacks, chief among them being the cost and limitations that include performance under cloudy skies and diffused light conditions.
The DSC technology overcomes these drawbacks. The technology has been tested in a solar hut built at UTP's Solar Field Testing Facility. Solar windows installed here can generate enough electricity to charge a mobile phone, for lighting as well as powering household appliances.
Trials also showed that the solar windows performed well in low light, working longer hours in a day and giving power output comparable to or better than the conventional PV cells installed on the roof.
"In diffused light, the performance of the conventional PV cell drops abruptly limiting its application to only rooftop deployment. This is not really efficient in Malaysia's real solar condition," Norani says, pointing to the fact that Malaysia experiences significant cloud cover.
The solar windows also have a higher tolerance for elevated temperature and have minimal performance degradation.
"This is due to the high stability of the active components which are not exposed to the direct sunlight unlike those deployed on the roof. The solar windows need minimal maintenance as they are enclosed and protected by the glass panels," she says.
The solar windows are also bifacial (have two faces), which means that indoor light or sunlight coming from other openings can also be captured, thus increasing the electricity output.
Norani is excited about the prospects for this new technology, pointing out that Malaysia requires solar technology that can generate electricity even in low-light conditions. "Conventional PV cells work best from 9am to 4pm, but the solar windows work longer hours, from 7am to 6pm."
She points out that even for terraced houses – which typically do not have many windows – there is potential. "The lack of glass windows can be compensated by having glass canopies and walls," she says, pointing out that using mixed energy sources to power the house will allow for 10-20% savings in the monthly electricity bill.
She adds that the product's low manufacturing cost and use of readily available non-toxic raw materials means that green energy has become a more economically viable option in Malaysia.
"It's predicted that the cost of a properly scaled-up, fully optimised dye solar cell is about one-fifth of the conventional solar panel."
It's also a boost for rural electrification programmes where solar windows can be deployed in a solar farm without needing much ground area. "Other applications will be to power the control and monitoring systems such as security surveillance, remote monitoring and traffic sign and street lightings," she adds.
To date the invention has bagged a few medals in international exhibitions such as the Gold Medal at the International Invention, Innovation & Technology (ITEX) 2012, Silver Medal at the Malaysia Technology Expo 2011 and Gold Medal at the Innova Brussels Exposition 2010. It also bagged the best green invention award at ITEX 2012.
The next step, says Dr Norani, is commercialisation. "We are planning to apply for another near-commercialisation grant from Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change to fund a research initiative which aims to resolve engineering-related problems for the integration of the DSC panel into the building façade such as integration of panels, connections and wiring," she says.
She discloses that at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) 2017, a few potential collaborators expressed interest in commercialising the DSC to be used for the roof or wall of bus stops.
"Others have expressed interest to collaborate in green building projects and integrate the DSC panel in the façade of greenhouses to power the ventilation system," she says, adding that she's also received queries from a company keen on marketing the invention.
DYE-SENSITISED solar cells comprise transparent conductive glass substrate printed with a thin layer of titanium dioxide (TiO2) photoelectrode material and coated with monolayer dye sensitiser, which acts like chlorophyll in the leaves.
The electrode is sandwiched together with a counter electrode, and an electrolyte containing a redox couple fills the gap between the electrodes (Figure 1).
When the sun radiation strikes the dye molecules, the electrons get excited and enter the conduction band of photoelectrode material, flow through the photoelectrode films to the transparent conducting oxide, and then to the external circuit. The electrolyte receives electrons from the circulated electrons through the external circuit at the conducting catalytic cathode, thus completing the circuit.
Figure 1: Schematic representative of the components of a DSC
[24 June 2018, The Star]
An innovative design by UTP engineers promises efficient and eco-friendly sewage treatment for communities in remote locations
MORE than half of Malaysia is connected to a centralised sewage treatment plant. The other half relies on septic tanks and flush systems. And then there are communities so remote that they've always depended on nature to deal with their sanitary wastewater treatment.
But economic and cultural shifts are upending our notions of what is rural. Our remotest of communities are getting their own schools (we all want this) which very likely means there are over 100 people in a single location. And, increasingly, urban folk are visiting exotic locations, like the deepest parts of our rainforest (we all want this too).
Fundamental human changes like these are loud beeps on the wastewater radar for environmental engineers like Shamsul Rahman Mohamed Kutty of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS' Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. "Both scenarios will need wastewater management," says Shamsul, "but such locations are so far interior that it's unlikely they will be linked to any centralised system."
Shamsul's surveys of human life in remote locations in the country inspired the design of a standalone sewage treatment facility specifically to serve a small community in an environmentally friendly way. "It will be customised for the location and it must never disrupt the lifestyle of the local people."
With the help of a government grant, Shamsul's team began work in 2013. Now they have a patent pending for the Integrated Suspended Growth BioReactor (i-SGBR) and are exploring collaborations for a pilot project.
The i-SGBR is integrated which means all stages of sewage treatment take place in one spot. Its compact design keeps the footprint small. For example, a reactor to serve a population of 500 would need a 4.5m diameter concrete tank to house all its pumps and gadgetry. Such an installation is expected to cost about RM200,000 to RM300,000.
A conventional centralised sewage treatment plant, which serves gigantic populations, has separate facilities for several stages – separation of oil, grit and debris, sedimentation, biological degradation and final rounds to refine the effluent that eventually goes out into the environment. Typically, it would need a few hectares of land and run into millions of ringgit.
Few reliable figures exist on how much wastewater in the world is actually collected in sewers and treated. A global estimate by UNDP and UN-Habitat is that 90% of all wastewater generated is released into the environment untreated. In some developing countries, the bulk of domestic and industrial wastewater is discharged after primary treatment only.
Shamsul says the i-SGBR will never reverse the universal move towards centralised wastewater treatment which municipalities globally consider to be the most cost-effective and hygienic way of dealing with sewage from densely populated urban and suburban areas.
"It will have to be under the supervision of a public authority," says Shamsul. "Its day to day operations can be done by a trained local person."
The i-SGBR treats wastewater as soon as it receives it, keeping relevant processes aerobic. One of its signature features is a sludge digestion system which converts the final residue into a safe material to be released into the environment. Its potential as a fertiliser for localised use is being studied. Separately, Shamsul's team is also studying ways to handle waste that has been stored in tanks in stranded locations, like on boats with no access to any kind of treatment.
"We believe our system will work well on oil rigs, small islands and at isolated highway stops," says Shamsul. "It will encourage the development of schools and other facilities in isolated locations anywhere in the world."
The i-SGBR is expected to bring welcome change to eco-tourism and rural tourism, now a bona fide part of nearly every country's GDP. Governments are driving such initiatives to create jobs and businesses for people displaced by farm mechanisation and communities that would have otherwise remained undeveloped. Places once considered impractical for tourists will now seem entirely sustainable.
Shamsul thinks the i-SGBR's use in industry will be a game-changer. "Especially in small factories whose process wastewater contains organic biological waste but not heavy metals. For example, food processing."
Typically, large factories have treatment plants on site but small factories rarely do. Many small manufacturers don't get approvals because they have a waste management problem. "This will result in a paradigm shift," says Shamsul.
"This means small factories can treat wastewater at source and then release it. For decades, we have been stuck on cleaning rivers after the damage has been done."
HIS students call him Dr Shark, a contraction of his full name. Now, that's how he signs off. By day, Professor Dr Shamsul Rahman Mohamed Kutty is an environmental engineer who studies solutions for wastewater issues. After work, he's on stage with the Tronoh Theatre Shop, a dramatic arts group he founded with colleagues at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS.
"I believe that theatre really develops confidence and public speaking skills in young people," says Dr Shark. "This is extremely important when they go overseas to work. Our world is challenged by immense cultural and technological shifts and we need a new generation who can solve problems imaginatively. I believe theatre can help with that."
The Tronoh Theatre Shop, formed in 2003, has since won numerous awards for its performances and original drama scripts at theatre festivals in Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand. Recently it bagged the best play in Festival Theatre Kuala Lumpur in 2018 and is aiming for the spot in Festival Theatre Malaysia to be held in October 2018.
The group is named after Tronoh, once a huge tin mining centre near the UTP campus, best remembered for its antiquated shophouses.
Tronoh Theatre Shop's members include students, staff and faculty. Some former student members, now in the workforce, went on to form their own theatre groups, among them Qum Actors and Laman Artisan. "I'm so proud to be part of the audience!"
The best feedback, says Dr Shark, has been from recruiters who said they chose job applicants for their experience with the Tronoh Theatre Shop. "All the candidates were equal at the application stage but the one with theatre experience had a distinct edge of great market value."
[10 June 2018, The STAR]
UTP scientists develop a portable easy-to-use system that puts mass screening for diabetic retinopathy in the line of sight
IT'S a menacing irony – the retina at the back of the eye is technically out of sight, and therefore out of mind. That's why the least talked about aspect of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, the damage high blood sugar does to the retina leading to blindness. Malaysians are familiar with other diabetic associations, like amputation, nerve damage, obesity and unhealthy lifestyles but retinopathy rarely enters everyday discourse.
It shows up in eye exams – which diabetics are advised to do annually – and images taken by a specialised camera capture the damage done to blood vessels on the retina. The image needs to be studied by a doctor, preferably an ophthalmologist, who grades the severity of the retinopathy and then advises the patient on the next step.
That's where the problem lies. Given Malaysia's large number of diabetics and the rapidly rising number of newly diagnosed diabetics, the backlog in image reading can sometimes be overwhelming. Delays like that usually cause patients to lose the sense of urgency. Couple that with a woeful lack of concern to keep their diabetes under control.
That administrative mountain was the motivation for scientists at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) who looked into ways to quickly screen diabetics, have their retinopathy graded (mild, moderate, severe, proliferative) and then immediately directed to the right doctor.
In 2007, they collaborated with doctors at Hospital Selayang, Selangor, home of the national eye database. Working with software and clever algorithms, the UTP team led by Prof Ir Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani created a novel way to send the same image direct to a computer that could analyse it and grade the severity of the retinopathy. The computer creates a preliminary report and the patient can be directed to his regular doctor or if necessary, to an ophthalmologist.
To establish the reliability of the grading system, patients in the clinical trial were asked to do a fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA). The FFA is a hospital procedure that involves injecting dye into the bloodstream to highlight the blood vessels on the retina. An image of that is taken for doctors to get a highly detailed report of retinopathy. In particular, the scientists used the FFA, the gold standard in ophthalmology, to view and measure the FAZ, or foveal avascular zone (where capillaries are located on the fovea, the centre and visually the most important part of the retina). This provided the information they needed to develop the algorithm.
By 2010, the trial at Hospital Selayang concluded that this could really work – screening takes about three minutes, and patients could be quickly sorted for who really needs the attention of an eye specialist. It would shorten queues, and fast-track the patient to the next step. Best of all, retinopathy could be caught as early as possible and the patient strongly counselled. But, because the fundus camera and its companion computer were big and clunky, the test would still have to be done in a hospital.
The Selayang doctors offered valuable feedback: to make it uber cool, this diabetic retinopathy grading system needs to be portable, so it can go out into the community and do mass screening even in the most rural of places.
That was when Associate Professor Dr Fawnizu Azmadi Hussin of UTP's Faculty of Engineering was asked to take a look. With a multinational team on campus and funding from UTP's Centre for Intelligent Signal and Imaging Research, he got to work with more software and algorithms. By 2013, he and his team had developed the portable version and filed a patent for it.
"Our goal was to make the apparatus smaller, portable and easy to use," says Fawnizu. "It can be operated by a trained technician, paramedic or nurse who can go anywhere and conduct tests in the community. This makes mass screening truly possible and early detection more likely. This is the game-changer."
Their portable diabetic retinopathy grading system is called RetinoGo. It works with a much smaller fundus camera which takes photos in colour, attached to a smartphone with an app that sends data to the cloud for processing. The results – it grades the severity of retinopathy – are filed for a specialist to study and the patient can be counselled appropriately.
The portable system is in its final fine-tuning phase to ensure that it can work anywhere in the world. Fawnizu and his team are also studying the best model for commercialisation.
With the fundus camera shrinking further, portability is really expanding. "Someday the smartphone may even take over the role of the fundus camera. I'm looking forward to that. For now, we know our system can save time, shorten queues and can reach people quickly. It certainly overcomes the universal fear of needles and injections."
DIABETIC retinopathy occurs when high blood glucose levels damage the blood vessels of the retina. Uncontrolled diabetes will escalate retinopathy, eventually affecting vision and lead to blindness. All diabetics will have retinopathy of some degree. "In the early stages, there are no symptoms so the patient doesn't see the need for an eye exam," says Dr Nor Fariza Ngah, the national head of ophthalmology services based in Hospital Shah Alam. "When a diabetic begins to complain about his or her vision, it's actually already advanced."
About 10% of blindness in Malaysia is caused by diabetic retinopathy, thanks to our high prevalence of diabetes and the rising number of undiagnosed diabetics. It is the leading cause of vision loss among working adults.
There is no treatment at the early stage but strict control of blood sugar can arrest retinopathy. "But compliance is the big issue," says Dr Nor Fariza. "There are some helpful medical procedures for the advanced stage but the patient still needs to control the diabetes, and technically the patient is already blind."
Dr Nor Fariza was one of the clinicians involved in the first trial of UTP's Diabetic Retinopathy Grading System at Hospital Selayang. "It would mean so much to the nation to have our own portable system for screening. During the trial, we found that it can simplify the screening process. I'm looking forward to its next phase. For a clinician, the most important thing is getting 100% accuracy in every reading when the system is being used in the community."
Klang Valley-based ophthalmologist Dr Tara Mary George, who was also part of the clinical trial at Hospital Selayang, says all diabetics need an eye check annually. "Sadly, not all will do that, and certainly many won't make a trip to hospital just for an eye test. The portable grading system will be a game changer because it goes to the patient in the community and gets a preliminary report. This means access to healthcare. I would target people in rural locations and any group with limited understanding of diabetes and the seriousness of this disease."
In 2017, in an effort to improve access to patients, pilot diabetic resource centres were created at Hospital Putrajaya and the Jeram Health Clinic. Here, diabetics who were in the hospital for other reasons could swing by the centre (where there are no queues) for a preliminary eye check with a fundus camera. And, if needed, they were referred to the ophthalmology department. "This helps reduce unnecessary visits to the eye clinic," says Dr Nor Fariza. "It's working well and we hope to expand to other places together with awareness programmes."
[27 May 2018, The STAR]
A yield-boosting biopesticide promises to be a game changer for padi farmers
IT is padi-planting season in Titi Gantong, a small village in Bota, Perak. Brothers Azli Shah, Azman Shah and Azizan have just finished sowing their flooded fields – their work made much easier these days thanks to modern machinery. Gone are the days of backbreaking, painstaking hours in the sun – sowing the land by hand.
Azman and Azizan work the family's smallholding fulltime, while Azli, who retired from the Royal Malaysian Navy five years ago (and currently works in the maintenance department of UniKL in Ipoh) returns regularly to help his brothers. In addition, he also has an oil palm smallholding in the vicinity.
The brothers have farming in their blood. Their grandfather worked the land as did their late father, Nasaruddin Mat Daham.
"My father was initially an entrepreneur but soon after I was born he decided to return to the kampung and tried his hand at padi farming," says Azli, 38. Beginning with the two hectares bequeathed by Azli's grandfather, Nasaruddin gradually increased the size of the family's land to the present 20 hectares – either buying or leasing land from the neighbours. In the beginning the growing season was just once a year but as technology, irrigation and the quality of seeds improved, the cultivation season doubled.
The life of a farmer was however not often smooth sailing. "A lot depends on the weather… if there was a drought or attack by pests then the yields for that season would be affected. There are many things to consider. Just these past two seasons our yields have been affected by the weather," adds Azli.
In 2015, when Professor Dr Suzana Yusup and her team of researchers from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) embarked on a project to test the efficacy of an organic-based pesticide, Azli's father volunteered about one hectare for the project.
"He thought that it was the way forward, and it would have a positive impact on the environment and the ecosystem, for example the fish in the fields and canals," said Azli.
For Dr Suzana and her team the project, which began as a UTP Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, was a means to address many of the issues faced by farmers in Bota and around Perak Tengah.
Dr Suzana, who was at the time Director for Green Technology at UTP, said the use of biopesticide was targeted at overcoming the problem of pests and increasing padi yield. "Farmers from the Perak Tengah district of Malaysia have in the past suffered great losses, which affected their source of income."
The biopesticide, a neem-based formulation developed by Bio-X Techno Sdn Bhd, had already been tested in Thailand and Indonesia where it was found to have increased yields from 2-3 tonnes per hectare to 7-11 tonnes per hectare.
"But the product was never tested in Malaysia, so when Bio-X approached me, I was intrigued. I had not heard of any green pesticide used in Malaysia until then, in particular for padi. My team and I then came up with the protocols, what to study and analyse, and approached the Department of Agriculture for assistance in identifying farmers who would be keen on participating in the trials.
"The trials were aimed at identifying the potential effects of biopesticide on crop yield. There's no doubt that by using biopesticides the potential benefits to agriculture and public health programmes are considerable. Biopesticides would also help farmers move away from highly toxic conventional chemical pesticides and move towards truly sustainable agriculture practices," she explained.
Collaborating with Bio-X Techno and the Department of Agriculture, UTP kicked off the project with three field trials of padi cultivation between March 2015 and December 2016.
"We started with engagement sessions with the farmers in the Bota area and we received positive response from the farmers who were open to the idea of using some of their fields for the trials," she said.
Dr Suzana, who is also a lecturer at UTP's Chemical Engineering Department, said the tests compared the use of organic and conventional pesticides. With the organic or biopesticide, the seeds are first soaked in the neem-based solution for between eight and 24 hours. Bio-X Techno executive director Sulaiman Mokhtar explained that this is to inoculate the seeds and ensure that they would not be susceptible to pests.
The solution, which is then filtered and diluted, is also used for soil treatment. After the seeds have been sown, the plants are monitored in terms of growth height and the number of grains. Aerial spraying is applied as when required depending on the level of pest infestation, he said, pointing out that the product is multi-functional in that it is an insecticide, larvicide, ovicide, fungicide, and is also a plant growth enhancer.
"So with the product, we are able to eliminate pests, insects, viruses, pathogens and bacteria. The plants are therefore not stressed, and as a result yields increase," he added.
The findings of the UTP study showed that yields increased despite the unpredictable weather.
"The number of panicle per square inch was higher than those using conventional pesticides, resulting in the doubling of the yield to about 10-11 tonnes per hectare," said Dr Suzana. She adds that in the past the yield was about 4-5 tonnes per hectare. A panicle appears when the plant enters its reproductive stage.
"But if there was an attack from pests then this would be reduced to about two tonnes, and after processing there would actually be very little left," she added.
The study also successfully proved that organic insecticides could overcome attacks from insects such as the brown plant hoppers, locusts and other bugs.
Besides the tests at Azli's father's field, Dr Suzana and her team also conducted tests at the Paddy Centre of Excellence at the Titi Serong Agriculture Department in Perak. Tests were conducted in a glasshouse environment to obtain further evidence of the biopesticide's efficacy and benefits.
Dr Suzana is optimistic that farmers will be keen on using the biopesticide given the benefits to not only the environment but also the farmer's health. "An organic pesticide does not affect consumer's health or damage the environment as it is made from plants and is biodegradable," she explained.
Farmers like Azli do recognise the benefits of biopesticides. "We too would prefer using organic pesticides because it is a question of food safety. But there are many factors that we will have to consider, such as the cost," he pointed out.
At RM800 a litre, farmers may balk at the idea of using the biopesticide but, as Sulaiman pointed out, the increased yield means that it is a cost-effective option. "It is also environment friendly and it's an ecologically balanced product that does not leech into the soil," he added.
Dr Suzana's research in biopesticide has not only shone a light on its potential in the Malaysian padi scene but it also won her several global accolades. The project was placed second in the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge in Berlin, Germany in 2016, and Dr Suzana also won the best paper award at the 7th International Forum on Industrial Bioproceses in Wuxi, China in 2017.
She is not resting on her laurels however. She says that UTP has already applied for a patent on the biopesticide formula and is now in discussions with Bio-X Techno to take it to the next level. Plans are afoot to enhance the product to combat weeds and eliminate golden apple snails in padi cultivation.
"We are working to improve the formula and make it into a 'one-solve-all' biopesticide," she said.
Source: US Environmental Protection Agency
[13 May 2018, The STAR]
An android mobile app is helping stutterers to speak better and communicate confidently
FAZWA Mohd Fadzillah was nine years old when she started stuttering. As she entered secondary school the struggles with her speech worsened. Friends and classmates noticed and inevitably, there were unkind remarks that affected the young girl.
"I was hurt by the teasing, so to avoid it I would just stay silent and not speak at all," she recalls.
The 25-year-old from Manjung, Perak, says in the beginning she did not seek any treatment for the stuttering.
"Later, I looked for doctors who could help me overcome the problem but the cost of treatment was high so I ended up not doing anything about it," she adds.
Today, the Masters in Information Technology student at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) has come a long way from those years of struggling with her speech. Fazwa is now able to speak more smoothly and can carry out a phone conversation with ease.
"Previously it would take me a long time to resume a conversation after I began stuttering; now it's more smooth. But I am not completely cured…maybe about 80-90% cured," she says.
Her improvements are attributed to an app developed at UTP, called the Stutter Manager. This mobile app features five types of vocal learning exercises and games to address stuttering problems. These are Metronome, Delay Auditory Feedback, Mirroring, Stutter Rate and Add Word Game.
A research team led by principal investigator Dr Noreen Izza Arshad, a senior lecturer at the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Faculty of Science and Information Technology, first began developing the android mobile app in 2013. The team collaborated with KPerak Inc, a state-linked company that promotes the development of ICT and knowledge-driven activities in the state.
Armed with seed funding of RM10,000 from UTP and a RM68,200 grant from the Ministry of Higher Education, the team began by conducting interviews with the Ministry of Education – seeking feedback on issues and solutions for those with special education needs. The team also collaborated with speech pathologists before introducing a preliminary version of the app to rural schools near UTP as well as an orphanage in Ipoh.
The app was finally made available on the Google Play Store sometime in 2014. To date the app has notched 5,000 downloads, with 80% of these being from users in Malaysia.
"With the app, stutterers can carry out vocal learning exercises at any time and from anywhere. Through the app, the speech pathologists are able to monitor and track your progress, and provide comments and feedback," she says, adding that although the goal is not to replace speech pathologists, the app can reduce costs of travelling and meeting speech pathologists for face-to-face therapy sessions.
Next generation therapy
The exercises within the Stutter Manager have been developed from face-to-face speech therapy techniques. Elaborating on the different exercises, Noreen explains that the metronome technique allows a stutterer to practice words and sentences to a tempo or beat (per minute) that can be adjusted. The speech pathologist for instance, will advise a severe stutterer to follow a slow tempo – increasing it as his/her condition improves.
Mirroring and delayed auditory feedback, which are used in combination, allow the stutterers to not only see themselves when they speak but also listen to their speech. Through these techniques, stutterers are able to find out the words that require more practice and at the same time build their confidence when speaking to others and in public.
Targeted at children who have stuttering problems, stutter rate involves the use of flash cards. "This technique requires the help of a parent or teacher. A word will flash on the screen and you are required to repeat that word. Marks will then be recorded automatically and saved, and at the end of the session the results revealed. The results are also tracked over a period, whether it's a week, month or year, allowing parents and teachers to follow the child's progress," says Noreen.
A fun twist to the exercises is the add word game, created by UTP. Here, words are generated randomly, and the stutterer selects the words that they can pronounce correctly. Results at the end of the session will show the percentage of words that the stutterer can pronounce without difficulty.
"The speech pathologist is also able to analyse the words that cause stuttering, for example six-syllable words, and from there, advise and suggest other types of exercises," explains Noreen.
Practice makes perfect
Fazwa, who is one of the members of the research team and one of the app's earliest users, credits the app for the improvements to her speech.
"I use the delayed auditory feedback and stutter rate, and practice daily for about 30 minutes," she says, adding that after two years she's noticed an improvement to both her speech and confidence. "Other people around me have also noticed that I don't stutter as much anymore."
She also likes being able to monitor her progress. "With the graphs I am able to track my progress, and if I am not doing well then I practice more," she adds.
To date, the Stutter Manager has won several awards including Silver at the 25th International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX2014) and Gold at the Malaysia Technology Expo (MTE2015).
Noreen has also, since February 2017, received mentoring from Oxford Innovation through the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund. She is especially excited about working with Oxford Innovation, which has a 30-year track record of specialist coaching services and support of entrepreneurs.
"Through the mentoring we are looking at how to make the app profitable, and the different business models we can use," she says.
In the meantime, feedback from users is also being considered to refine and improve the app. The potential for the app is significant, says Noreen, adding that greater awareness of the app, especially among parents, is needed to encourage its use.
STUTTERING is a communication disorder involving disruptions, or disfluencies, in a person's speech. Stuttering can be referred to as either the specific speech disfluencies that are commonly produced by people who stutter or to the overall communication difficulty that people who stutter may experience. It has been estimated that about 1% of the general population stutters.
In addition to producing disfluencies, people who stutter often experience physical tension and struggle in their speech muscles, as well as embarrassment, anxiety, and fear about speaking. Together, these symptoms can make it very difficult for people who stutter to speak, and this makes it difficult for them to communicate effectively with others.
Most treatment programmes for people who stutter are behavioural – designed to teach the person specific skills or behaviours that lead to improved oral communication. For instance, many speech language pathologists teach people who stutter to control and/or monitor the rate at which they speak.
When learning to control speech rate, people often begin by practicing smooth, fluent speech at rates that are much slower than typical speech, using short phrases and sentences. Over time, people learn to produce smooth speech at faster rates, in longer sentences, and in more challenging situations until speech sounds both fluent and natural.
Source: National Stuttering Association, US & American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
[29 April 2018, The STAR]
The automotive industry is looking ahead to when academic excellence and corporate expertise 'combust' to disrupt the energy industry.
WITH charging stations more common, electric cars are touted as the way forward in the not-too-distant future. Last July, Volvo announced that it is phasing out cars that rely on combustion engines. Every new model launched from 2019 will have an electric motor – a first by a premium carmaker that has always been at the forefront in applying new technology to the carbon-fuel-charged internal combustion engine.
The trend of electric-powered cars is growing far beyond hybrids as the shift away from the 200-year-old internal combustion engine technology gathers pace. France and Britain, for instance, plan to ban the sale of new petroleum-burning vehicles by 2040.
Even so, gas and diesel powered engines are not dead yet.
Mazda recently announced a big advance in a combustion method that could result in gasoline engines becoming 20-30% more efficient than its current best engines. To be introduced in 2019, in this method gasoline is ignited without using spark plugs.
Experts contend that improvements in internal combustion engines will continue. John Heywood, an MIT mechanical engineering professor predicts that by 2050, 60% of light-duty vehicles will still have combustion engines.
Closer to home, for almost a decade a research team has been toiling over improvements on the free piston engine – attempting to produce an engine without a crankshaft, with floating pistons to capture the power of combustion with measured control. Traditionally, the crankshaft controls the piston while imposing limitations on combustion efficiency. Getting rid of the crankshaft means combustion control.
Its greatest advantage is its performance efficiency, compared with standard engines. Taking that concept further, with its first patents from around 1940, the Free-Piston Linear Generator (FPLG) is a free-piston engine with a linear alternator. It converts chemical energy from fuel straightaway into electrical energy.
When Professor Abdul Rashid Abdul Aziz, Director of the Institute of Transport Infrastructure for Smart Mobility, and his team first embarked on this project, they thought it would take them three years to reach their target. They achieved their goal three prototypes and nine years later, in March 2017. The FPLG finally achieved its objective, managing to combust and producing electricity.
Despite the slow progress, the UTP team determinedly pressed on, undertaking advanced explorations into the possibilities of an alternative to conventional power generators such as micro turbines and diesel generators. The Free Piston Engine (FPE) was identified as an option, the key being piston motion control. This is the main challenge before the end result of the research can be commercialised.
However, in developing this capability, Rashid realised the need for collaboration. "You cannot do everything yourself. That's the recipe for failure. We cannot be experts in all the necessary areas," he says.
Through their strong, long-term links with the University of Brighton, they chose to collaborate on a four-year project with UK company Libertine FPE, designer and manufacturer of linear generators and piston power systems. Both partners have equal equity in the FPLG development.
Building Libertine's Linear Power Systems technology into their research engine programme allowed UTP to accelerate its research into a high-efficiency, fuel-flexible combustion system.
Libertine FPE's CEO Sam Cockerill says the collaboration with UTP has greatly helped his company. His company has focused and advanced their technology in this space, providing a template for their relationship with other FPE developers. This benefits UTP, he feels, since together they are able to share technology platform developments across multiple FPE programmes. This enhances each one's cost-effectiveness and performance. To Cockerill, UTP is an interested and engaged partner with very clear research objectives.
It is crucial, Cockerill feels, for industry players and universities to collaborate. This is because the number of university FPE R&D programmes, especially for smaller engines, has rapidly risen in the last two decades.
Rashid was also the past Head of UTP's Centre for Automotive Research & Electric Mobility (CAREM). He explains that depending on the capacity, the engine model can be used for any application requiring electricity, including future electric vehicles and stationary power genset. "The size of the engine will shrink to about one-fourth of the current size and its weight reduce as much, if not more."
The engine is also produced at lower cost due to fewer mechanical components. "To realise a software-controlled engine without any mechanical constraints – that's where the opportunity exists for combustion optimisation," adds Cockerill.
So far, such generators are not available in the market, but many companies around the world are working on similar concepts. Rashid and Cockerill agree that when the FPLG is successfully delivered, it could disrupt the energy industry. It is the future, they think, for generating clean and green energy.
Without conventional constraints on motion, the generator operates at a higher thermal efficiency than in conventional engines and can run on different fuel types. That includes natural gas as an option and a higher thermal efficiency than in conventional engines. "With less volume, weight and size, you're able to generate the same amount of power," says Rashid, "while reducing costs of production, operations and maintenance. You'll need to see it to believe it."
The UTP team have completed all the design and machining of their latest prototype. They are now looking forward to running major tests with their collaborating partner by the end of this year. Rashid aims to commercialise the FPLG by 2019, mainly for use on offshore oil and gas platforms.
If an institution is serious about commercialisation, it is best to collaborate with those who are at the forefront of technology right from the beginning, asserts Rashid.
While he feels a university's strength is on the fundamentals of engineering, it can still benefit greatly in product development with input from a design engineering company's perspective.
"I realised many people are replicating the same work. We should instead collaborate and work together." While it is a challenge to work with various stakeholders – from investors to research students, Rashid appreciates the content sharing and knowledge exchange.
In his lab, research officers, MSc and PhD students, and technologists continuously run tests on the prototype, which looks deceptively simple. They study, photograph and collate data on the flow of air and spray, using state-of-the-art laser measuring systems. "Research is always 50-50 with an equal chance of success or failure. You'll never know the result until the end."
Ezrann Zharif Zainal Abidin
Research Scientist and Manager, Smart Mobility Division
EZRANN Zharif Zainal Abidin was a Master's student when he first started work on the Free Piston Linear Generator project. "My baby," he proudly claims, having waited nine years for it to show its first result.
With a lot of discussion and exchange of ideas, Ezrann finds his work gratifying. "Prof Rashid allows a lot of freedom for us to think and to execute our ideas. I really like his style of leading this Centre in implementing new methods." What he finds most interesting and challenging is, when faced with new problems, they are allowed to argue and innovate, with positive feedback that allows them to overcome challenges.
Being a researcher requires a lot of patience and perseverance. "It's continuous. You don't give up on what you believe." Helping to generate energy responsibly is what drives him, "with lower emissions to help save the environment." That is why he persisted, even when the results took almost a decade to achieve.
UTP's hallmark of high standards and excellence is what drives all its research. Research is not about business or money. "It's in the value of trying to help mankind and the planet. The reward for me is if you can create something novel that helps nature and the environment…then that's the value I helped create for people."