Date: 29 August 2018
Time: 3.00pm - 5.00pm
Venue: Chancellor Hall, UTP
Date: 30 August 2018
Time: 8.00am - 6.00pm
Venue: Seminar Room 7 & 8, Undercroft, UTP
Date: 4 September 2018
Time: 7.00am - 6.00pm
Date: 12 - 16 September 2018
Time: 8.00am - 11.00pm
Venue: MPH, Seminar Room 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Meeting Room 1 & 2, & Lecture Room 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Date: 12 September 2018
Time: 2.00pm - 5.00pm
Venue: Main Hall, UTP
Date: 18 - 19 September 2018
Time: 8.00am - 5.00pm
Venue: MPH, UTP
Date: 19 September 2018
Venue: Chancellor Complex Foyer
Date: 4 August 2018
Venue: Chancellor Complex Foyer to Pocket C, UTP.
Date : Sunday, 18 November 2018
Time : 8.00am to 6pm
Venue : UTP Chancellor Hall
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
90 Form Five students received book vouchers from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) staff today under the Menggapai Impian (MI) 2018 programme, witnessed by UTP Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.
The students were from SMK Tronoh and SMK Seri Iskandar.
For this programme, UTP and PETRONAS staff via Yayasan UTP (UTP Foundation) contribute a minimum of RM150 worth of book voucher to each student for the purchase of SPM reference books.
"Through this programme, we hope to encourage academic excellence among these students for their SPM, in addition to keeping them motivated and excited about learning. It is my hope that these students will come back here again, but as UTP students.
"We are also planning to have a year-long motivation session such as tuition classes, counselling and career guidance sessions, to nurture these students' interest in English, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects," said Mohamed Ibrahim.
MI 2018 is UTP's educational university social responsibility (USR) programme and is part of the university's continuous effort to contribute to the well-being of its surrounding communities.
The event is also a means for the university's staff to give back to those in need and foster the spirit of sharing.
Since its launch in 2007, over 700 students from orphanages, welfare homes and schools in Perak have benefitted from Menggapai Impian. Each child was given basic school necessities such as school uniforms, bags, shoes and stationeries for the new school term.
However, for this year, MI is back with a difference as it focuses on SPM students and are given book vouchers and SPM motivational package.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) emerged as the champion in the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Asia 2018 University R&D Showcase and Challenge for its project entitled "Poseidon: An Autonomous Structural Health Monitoring System for Offshore Facilities".
UTP's project was selected as the winner as it complied with the challenge's theme on how we can make future offshore development more cost competitive in the global energy market. In addition, the technology proposed by UTP team was relevant with the current oil and gas trends of automation, unmanned facilities and data analytics to support decision making.
This was indeed a major achievement for UTP since it had to compete against top-ranking world universities such as National University of Singapore, Kyoto University Japan, Monash University Australia, University of Western Australia and Chulalongkorn University Thailand.
The OTC Asia 2018 University R&D Showcase and Challenge was held in conjunction with OTC ASIA 2018. It provides universities the opportunity to share with attendees their current and planned R&D projects that are relevant to offshore technology and collaborate with industry professionals to develop innovative ideas to address challenges facing the offshore energy industry.
UTP team was represented by Lee Hsiu Eik, Muhammad Imran, Dr Ahmad Mahamad Al-Yacouby and Ir Lim Eu Shawn (postgraduate and researchers from Offshore Engineering Centre UTP).
The team was further supported by key industry professionals. They are PETRONAS' Malaysia Petroleum Management Head of Planning and Control Asset Decommissioning Ir M Nasahie Akbar Ali, PETRONAS Group Technical Solutions Civil Technical Custodian Ir M Nazri Mustafa, IEV Malaysia Sdn Bhd Managing Director Juzer Norman and Merit Composites Sdn Bhd Technical Director Jeffrey de Jong.
UTP offers a wide spectrum of postgraduate courses that are designed to provide an excellent opportunity for in-depth study in specialised areas of science, engineering and technology.
The university is focused in developing its postgraduates to become competent professionals trained to solve real world issues relevant to the industry's needs. Graduates have the opportunities to work on exciting projects and work with the experts. With strong linkages to industry, UTP provides opportunities for the integration of academic research and industry applications.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) continues to rise in the world rankings. In the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Broad Subject of Engineering and Technology 2018, UTP climbs 88 places and is ranked 145th, the highest jump by the university in all of its ranking so far.
In 2017, UTP hit 233 on the list, and in 2016, it was 288. UTP's higher ranking is due to improved overall scores of 74.2 in the indexes of Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Citations per Paper and H-index Citations.
The QS World University Rankings for this year analysed over 22 million papers, producing nearly 200 million citations. A total of 1,130 institutions were ranked across 48 subjects in five subject areas, creating 14,000 published entries.
UTP has also been ranked in four subjects, namely Chemical Engineering (101-150), Mechanical Engineering (151-200), Electrical Engineering (201-250) and Computer Science & Information System (251-300).
Apart from the QS World University Rankings, UTP also takes part in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, Rating System for Institutions of Higher Learning (SETARA) and the Malaysian Research Assessment (MyRA).
"By participating in rankings, it gives us a better understanding in where we stand in comparison to our peers. They measure our performance from different angles. We then could make an informed decision on gap mitigation strategies in attaining excellence especially with regards to teaching, research and student experience," says UTP Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.
Volunteering is a great way to enhance one's skills and give back to the community. With this thought in mind, nearly 100 participants from the ASEAN region took part in the Regional Conference on Student Activism (RECONSA) 2018.
This year the event was organised by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in collaboration with Students Volunteer Foundation, a wholly owned entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, and Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisation (MAPIM).
Participating institutions included Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember Indonesia, Yangon University of Education Myanmar, International Islamic University Malaysia and UTP.
First held in 2012, RECONSA is an annual event that provides opportunities for students and volunteers to share their ideas, views, and experiences on volunteerism as an effective way of making a difference in the world.
It featured two notable speakers in volunteerism, Tony Tay and Mohd Hakim Mohd Nor. Tony, a Singaporean, was the winner of the 2017 Philippines Ramon Magsaysay award. He was also the founder of a volunteer group providing hot meals to the poor, Willing Hearts.
The second speaker, Mohd Hakim is no stranger to UTP. A UTP alumni, he graduated with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2009. He is currently the Secretary General of Welfare Organisation Serantau Muslim and the recipient of Hang Tuah Award at the Malay and Islamic World Convention in Medan, Indonesia.
Themed "Student Activism: Going Beyond the Future", RECONSA focuses on mobilising volunteerism using sustainable futuristic strategies to effectively deliver the voices of global activist networks that emphasise on three critical elements namely technology, efficient governance, and maximisation of resources.
UTP Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib said UTP aspires to develop graduates who are not only creative and innovative but who are also responsible global citizens actively involved in improving the lives of the surrounding community, especially those closer to the university.
"The university is proud to witness the tremendous impact that RECONSA has created since its establishment, as more and more students from diverse background have become more involved in volunteering and making a difference in people's lives," he said.
During RECONSA 2018, participants presented their papers on various areas that included health and environment, consumerism, social, humanitarian, religions, gender, science and technology. They also went for a tour around the campus and selected locations at Perak and took part in a corporate social responsibility program at MRSM Parit.
Universitas Pertamina (UP) Indonesia awarded five Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) researchers with the International UTP-UP Collaborative Research Grant to encourage research collaboration and firmly establish networking and linkages between both parties.
A special award ceremony was held to mark the occasion. UP Institute of Research, Community Development and Innovation Director Dr Wahyu Agung Pramudito presented the award to Assoc Prof Dr Gunawan Witjaksono Djaswadi (Electrical & Electronic Engineering Department), Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Rahim Othman (Mechanical Engineering Department), Dr Nonni Soraya Sambudi (Chemical Engineering Department), Dr Mohamed Shuaib Mohamaed Saheed (Fundamental & Applied Sciences Department) and Dr Kiki Adi Kurnia (Chemical Engineering Department).
The International UTP-UP Collaborative Research Grant is a result of an MOU signing between both institutions early last year.
Under this collaborative research grant, researchers will receive funds with the maximum amount of up to USD5000 per research project for the duration of 12 months.
The collaboration will further strengthen UTP's international affiliation and bring two prominent institutions of higher learning together, working in different areas such as joint publication, joint supervision, research attachment and staff exchange.
"I would like to congratulate all grant recipients. This is an important collaboration between both institutions and I hope it will continue in the long run," said Dr Wahyu.
UTP Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research & Innovation Prof Ir Dr M Shahir Liew said the award ceremony is a testimony of a successful strategic partnership between UTP and UP.
"This is a very significant step for UTP, both in the field of research and achieving its goal of becoming a globally prominent university," he said.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) has leaped 36 places from its 2017 performance and is now ranked at 114th in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2018.
Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) also made the list.
Despite its young age of 21 years, UTP has continuously achieved excellence that is proven through its improved position and placed itself among the more established universities such as UM, USM, UKM, USM and UTM.
The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2017 uses the same 13 performance indicators as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, but the weightings are specially recalibrated to reflect the attributes of Asian institutions.
The universities are judged across all of their core missions, which are teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income in order to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available.
Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib said UTP is proud of this achievement and it will continue to strive up the rankings.
"This achievement bears testimony of our hard work and diligence in support of the university's journey towards achieving global prominence," he said.
In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, UTP has embarked on the UTP ECO PROJECT, a student led endeavor, supported by the Institute for Sustainable Living. The UTP ECO PROJECT uses a whole institution approach, involving all stakeholders of the university, to promote and adopt sustainable development initiatives and a greener lifestyle on campus. A key initiative under the UTP ECO PROJECT will be the move to obtain international green flag certification for UTP, under the Foundation for Environmental Education Eco-Campus Programme.
The UTP ECO PROJECT student committee is made up of students from the Eco Campus Student Work Group (ECSWG), Go Green Movement (GGM), Innovation and Design Club (IDEC) and AiCHE UTP Student Chapter.
The student committee line up is led by Umadevy Selva Kumaran as Project Director assisted by Melvinder Singh as Deputy Director, Nisha Pattu as Assistant Project Director 1, Baldeep Singh as Assistant Project Director 2 and Devi Abhirami and Sitisaro Binawae as Secretary and Assistant Secretary respectively.
Meanwhile, Vivekka Olivia John and Raajabairavi Sivaprakas is the Treasurer and Vice Treasurer, Syafiq, Mahaletchimi Murugan and Nasuha Suliyana is the Head & Deputies of Publicity, Lim Jia Rou, Rashidi and Khaiyuum as Head and Deputies of External Engagement, Seow Zhen Quan, Rishvan Gunalan and Loo Tun Liang as Head and Deputies of Research, Wan Farra Ayesha, Mohintan and Naveendran and Head and Deputies of Capacity Building and finally, Narrhveein Rajasegaran, Chuah Sze Yu and Deng Wol as Head and Deputies of Small Projects.
Institute for Sustainable Living Director, AP Dr Noor Amila Wan Abdullah Zawawi serves as the Patron of the UTP ECO PROJECT, while Dr Subarna Sivapalan, Dr Noridah Osman, AP Dr Balbir Singh Mahinder Singh, Dr Kiki Adi Kurnia and Muhammad Azfar Mohamed are the advisors. Wan Nabihan Wan Sulaiman of the Institute for Sustainable Living assumes the secretariat role.
The UTP ECO PROJECT is supported by WWF Malaysia.
Professor Robert B. Laughlin, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in physics, inspired more than 2,000 students and professors at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in Perak today as part of the Honeywell Initiative for Science & Engineering (HISE). It is the first time Honeywell's global programme was conducted at UTP.
Sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate citizenship initiative, HISE aims to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). For more than a decade, it has benefited thousands of students and teachers at top universities in China, India, the United States, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, Mexico and Romania. The initiative includes a series of laureate lectures and career discussions with Honeywell's top engineers.
Laughlin, who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations, is among 27 Nobel laureates sponsored by Honeywell at universities worldwide since 2006. Laughlin, along with two other researchers, had discovered that electrons acting together in strong magnetic fields can form new types of "particles,", with charges that are fractions of electron charges.
It is the second time the program has been presented to a university in Malaysia. In 2010, the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur hosted the HISE event.
"At UTP, we are committed to ensuring we are a centre for creating and sharing new knowledge that promotes a lifelong desire among our students to learn, discover, and innovate," said Acting Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Professor Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib. "We are delighted to collaborate with Honeywell and welcome Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin to our campus. Our hope is that today's HISE event helps students see their career possibilities."
Laughlin is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. He earned a B.A. in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as the president of KAIST in Daejeon, South Korea. His many awards include the National Academy of Sciences, the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Physics, and the Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award.
During his lecture, Laughlin inspired students to pursue their dreams, regardless of the challenges they may have to overcome. "Great people come from all walks in life," He told the students. "Stay true to yourself, stay focused, and you will succeed."
"The complexities of today's world require young people to be equipped with a new set of core knowledge and skills to solve difficult problems," said Briand Greer, President of Honeywell ASEAN. "By offering UTP students the opportunity to learn from a Nobel laureate and interact with Honeywell engineers, we hope to inspire and prepare students for a workforce where success comes not just from their knowledge of STEM subjects, but what they are able to do with that knowledge."
Honeywell closely cooperates with the Malaysia's technical universities on programs such as engineering lectures, collaborative projects, student events, academic thesis opportunities and internships.
Honeywell Hometown Solutions supports STEM education in Malaysia by inviting local middle school science and math teachers and high school students to attend the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in the United States each year. Additionally, Honeywell's Safe Kids at Home in Malaysia helps educate parents and children on how to avoid fire, burn and scalds in the home.
His Royal Highness (HRH) the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-Lah delivered his royal address entitled “‘Building a Dynamic and Inclusive Education Ecosystem” on 6 December 2017.
The royal address was held at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in conjunction with the university’s 20th anniversary celebration.
In his address, HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah said that higher education has still a long way to go towards building a higher education eco-system that is fully capable of adapting to the opportunities and challenges associated with the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution. To prepare students to flourish in the unpredictable environments of the future, such an education system must itself be highly agile and flexible, capable of anticipating and responding to the coming changes.
HRH added that the education system must also be bold and innovative, qualities that go against the grain for tradition-steeped higher education institutions. Such an eco-system must also by definition be comprehensive and systematic. This implies sweeping and radical changes to the current model, which is based on teaching, assessment and ranking methods that were developed in and for a very different era.
This is the second series of the Royal Address by HRH The Sultan of Perak organised by UTP, the first was held in 2008.
The university’s Royal Lecture series is a significant forum for knowledge sharing on various topics and issues including national development, economics, corporate governance and education between the Ruler, the university and the surrounding communities.
The knowledge and information gained from these sessions complement and enhance what UTP students gain within the classroom and from formal education.
As for UTP lecturers and staff and the surrounding community, such sessions will provide them with better insights into national and global issues.
More than 2,000 people attended the event which included Perak Chief Minister YAB Dato’ Seri Diraja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan UTP Pro Chancellor, distinguished guests from the state of Perak, Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib acting UTP Vice Chancellor, UTP Management Committee members, industry practitioners, government officers, PETRONAS staff as well as UTP students and staff.
[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."
[15 April 2018, The STAR]
An innovative intumescent fire retardant paint keeps flames and fumes at bay for up to two hours
THE phrase "spreading like wildfire" should not be taken lightly in case of a real fire. As soon as an ignition source is flared in the proximity of fuel and oxygen, not only does a fire begin, but it will spread very dramatically and rapidly too – moving from a mere flickering spark into a blazing disaster in a matter of minutes.