Swansea-Malaysia MoU paves way for significant industry-academia collaborations

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Swansea University and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) has been signed, witnessed by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Swansea UMP MoU‌The MoU is a significant step in paving the way for industry-academia collaborations in Malaysia’s East Coast Economic Region (ECER), while promoting academic and research collaboration and partnerships between both universities.

The MoU was signed last week (Thursday, August 13), following a meeting of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Under the MOU, both universities will collaborate in research and academic activities, which include knowledge transfer and product development for commercial purposes, facilitating entry into each respective university’s courses and programmes, as well as exchange of staff and students, among others.

Focus areas of research include engineering, ICT, medicine, renewable energy technologies, and biosciences.

The proposed pilot project will be a research collaboration between UMP’s award-winning Centre of Advanced Research in Fluid Flow (CARIFF) and Swansea University’s Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI), led by Professor Andrew Barron, Ser Cymru Chair of Engineering at Swansea, and Welch Chair of Chemistry and professor of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice University in Texas.

CARIFF’s strength lies in the fluid dynamic technologies, particularly in the areas of drag reduction, multiphase flow systems, oil and gas technologies, as well as reactive fluid dynamics.

ESRI is located at Swansea University’s new £450m Bay Campus, which has been widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading knowledge economy projects, and opens for business next month.

ESRI’s strength lies in the energy sector, particularly on safety issues surrounding the development and expansion of existing energy processes, as well as the safe deployment and integration of new “green” energy technologies.  ESRI is already partnering with a range of international industry partners across the oil and gas industry, water treatment, and materials manufacturing.

Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted Swansea University’s established expertise in the co-location of research and industry to drive innovation, economic growth and entrepreneurship has been recognised at the highest level in Malaysia and has received the endorsement of its Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“We are also delighted that a number of our notable international alumni, many of whom occupying senior academic positions in universities in Malaysia, including UMP, are collaborating with us.

“It is testament to Swansea’s credentials as a City of Innovation in developing skills, delivering world-class research, and at the cutting edge of working with industry, that they wish to see this Swansea Bay success model replicated in Malaysia.

“The integrated academic and industry working at Swansea provides for strength of applied knowledge and tremendous ‘real-world’ experience for our students. Recent independent figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) demonstrate Swansea is now ranked 15th in the UK and top in Wales for producing global graduates capable of entering graduate level further study or securing a professional level position within six months of graduating.”

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, a Swansea University alumnus, said: “We are indeed proud and honoured that Swansea University has chosen UMP and ECER for this historic collaboration, which augurs well not only for the industry and academic community in the Region, but also for the rakyat.

“ECERDC’s role in the collaboration is to harness the energies and unique strengths of both universities through industry-academic collaboration that will benefit the investors in ECER, particularly in developing local talents to meet the needs of the industries,” Datuk Seri Issace said.

He added that the collaboration is in line with the Government’s vision to transform ECER into a world-class investment destination, whose growth is driven by knowledge-based economies.

“ECERDC, together with UMP and Swansea University, recognise that research and development can deliver innovation breakthroughs in areas such as renewable energy, engineering technologies, medicine, life sciences and high performance computing, which represent the key areas in the knowledge economy,” he said.

“Industry-academia collaboration, combined with government facilitation from both countries, can help such innovations to be developed into commercial products and services that are able to create new job opportunities for the locals, thus improving lives and changing communities for the better.”

The MoU signed between Swansea University and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) also builds on the recent visit to Swansea University by the Honourable Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Brunei Darussalam’s Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Swansea University alumnus and Honorary Fellow.

The Honourable Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng delivered the 2015 James Callaghan Memorial Lecture earlier this year, in June, on the theme of Enhancing ASEAN-UK Relations: Forging closer ties between Brunei Darussalam and Swansea in a globalised world.

Image caption: (Front, left) ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, a Swansea University alumnus; (front, centre) Professor Andrew Barron, Ser Cymru Chair of Engineering at Swansea, who leads Swansea University’s Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI); and (front, right) Professor Dato’ Dr. Daing Nasir Ibrahim, Vice-Chancellor of University Malaysia Pahang , with Members at the Council Meeting of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.  
The above image is used with the kind permission of the ECERDC.