Curtin Sarawak to Gear Towards Sarawak’s – Manpower Development and Research Needs

Miri – 22 July, 2009 – Sarawak Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin has called on Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) to gear its academic programmes and research towards the future needs of the state, particularly activities revolving around the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

He said this when addressing about 40 senior academic and administrative managers of the university attending their Strategic Planning Workshop recently. Also present were Curtin Sarawak’s Pro Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Dr. John Evans, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr. Joan Gribble and Chief Operating Officer James Ng. Facilitating the workshop were Curtin University of Technology’s Executive Director of Strategy and Planning Marco Schultheis and Director of Strategy and Business Analysis Lesley Smith.

Datuk Lee, who is also the chairman of the university’s management board, said Sarawak with its rich biodiversity and natural resources offered vast opportunities for research and development in areas such as food technologies, health sciences and pharmaceuticals. In addition, innovation in civil and construction engineering, alternative energy and telecommunications tailored to local needs would be of great benefit to rural communities in Sarawak, he said, citing road construction on peat soil, hydroelectric and solar power, and affordable telecommunication technologies as examples.

On SCORE, he said, “Curtin Sarawak has a critical and strategic role to play in SCORE. With the influx of foreign investment and the setting up of new industries, there will be tremendous opportunities for Curtin Sarawak to tap into those industries and conduct research in various areas such as sustainability of resources, information and communication technology, power generation, telecommunications and civil engineering.”

He urged the university to work closely with the Regional Economic Development Authority (Recoda), the body managing and implementing SCORE, to determine areas for collaboration and how Curtin Sarawak can contribute to the success of SCORE.

He also complimented Curtin Sarawak on being awarded a project worth RM3.7 million by the federal government under its economic stimulus package to provide free training in process technology, process control, multivariate data analysis, transportation engineering and environmental engineering for industry practitioners in the private and public sectors. The training programme, which is geared towards fulfilling the manpower needs of SCORE and which will commence its first run next month, has received tremendous response with over 200 applicants already signed up.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Dr. John Evans, meanwhile, said new infrastructure in the pipeline for Curtin Sarawak, including the State Government-funded BioValley Park Project which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010, will give added impetus to research and development activities at the university.

“Being a university of technology and with our strengths in research and development, Curtin Sarawak is well placed to play a strategic role in SCORE. Much of our current research is already applicable to SCORE, such as research into peat soil, but we will definitely look into other areas where we can contribute to the requirements of SCORE as we map out our new strategic plan up to the year 2013 and beyond,” he said.

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