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Shifting to an innovation economy - page 10 / 16





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‘UKM students will be, above all, innovators’

As Malaysia’s technological prowess grows exponentially, the country’s universities and institutes of higher learning are key factors driving innovation and research forward.

Celebrating its 40th year in 2010, Universiti Kebangsaan Malasyia (UKM) is one of Malaysia’s four recognised research universities. UKM is a public university located just 20 miles south of Kuala Lumpur and prides itself on its success in attracting private investment and in shaping confident graduates well prepared with the relevant skills to not only enter the labour market at a high

level, but also to add value to the economy.

Dato’ Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin, vice-chancellor of UKM, believes that innovation, knowledge, research and development are the cogs that will set Malaysia’s gears in motion, and that UKM’s essential responsibility it to build and fortify these cogs. Moreover, the direction that Malaysia takes should be dictated by ethics.

“Our role as a university is to see how we can add value to the country’s various outputs, products and processes. Our job and

UKM targets biotech, the pharmaceuticals industry and other high-tech areas

“We believe our tree is very research driven, deriving based on strong roots, a hefty trunk and bearing year-round fruits. The roots represent UKM’s research thrusts; the trunk is the site of innovation and creativity; and the branches symbolise the practical applications. To depict the university’s role in producing knowledge and innovation for wealth and job creation and social wellbeing, UKM has devised the model of ‘The Tree of Knowledge and Innovation’, In order to put the potential of UKM’s idea into practice, the university has knowledge from research at the roots,” says Dr Hapsah, adding that this structure is “helping the country make the quantum leap to an innovation economy and society.” our main function is knowledge. We are supposed to produce new knowledge or adapt and develop existing knowledge. What we do with that knowledge is the next question. It is not just about producing and disseminating it through the education of our students, but also turning it into good policies, wealth generation, societal development and advancing the frontier of our understanding,” she explains. DATO’ DR SHARIFAH HAPSAH SYED HASAN SHAHABUDIN Vice-Chancellor of UKM partnered with New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. Ranked third by Forbes in terms of returns on investment for its research and for bringing its products to market, this North American university lends its credentials and expertise to UKM in launching start-ups, and in adding value to existing SMEs and training programmes in professional entrepreneurship. The two schools are currently examining the possibility of jointly conducting Master’s level programmes in innovation and technology management. UKM has been highly successful at ensuring function in its educational and research programmes. “We are constantly assessing and amending our programmes in collaboration with industry partners, to ensure relevance,” affirms the vice-chancellor. Also, UKM students graduate knowing that their skills are highly valued in the market place. “When developing new programmes, we must make sure that we conduct market surveys to establish potential employability of our would-be graduates,” she says.

10 World Report

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