The collaborative ties between UTAR and INO Nature Sdn Bhd were further strengthened when two memoranda of agreement (MoAs) were officially exchanged at Kampar Campus on 29 August 2018. Signed in July 2018, the MoA is a follow-up from the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed on 8 December 2017.
Present at the exchange ceremony were UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, newly appointed Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman, Division of Community and International Networking Deputy Director Dr Chen I-Chi, Faculty of Science (FSc) Dean Assoc Prof Dr Lim Tuck Meng, Academic Development and Undergraduate Programmes Deputy Dean Assoc Prof Dr Gideon Khoo, R&D and Postgraduate Programmes Deputy Dean Dr Phoon Lee Quen, Student Development and Industrial Training Deputy Dean Dr Sit Nam Weng, Department of Biological Science Head Dr Nor Ismaliza binti Mohd Ismail, Department of BioMedical Science Head Dr Chee Huei Phing, Department of Agricultural and Food Science Head Dr Ong Mei Kying, Department of Chemical Science Head Dr Sim Kooi Mow, Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Head Dr Lam Weng Hoe, Postgraduate Programmes Head Dr Lam Weng Siew, Department of Laboratory Management and Safety Administration Head Dr Ooi Zhong Xian, Tan Sri Dato’ Philip Kuok Professorial Chair in Agricultural Science Prof Dr Minoru Murata, and FSc academics Assoc Prof Dr Wong Hann Ling and Dr Loh Pek Chin.
Delegates from INO Nature included Founder and Director of INO Nature Roger Saw Gee Shyang, Director Saw Ghee Chong, General Manager Chew Hui Ee and Sales Representatives Ong Chin Kean and Ang Peng Soon.
“UTAR is very fortunate to have had long-standing collaborative ties with INO Nature, a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of bio-semi organic fertiliser; as well as an expert in the use of microbes for improvements in soil nutrition, plant growth and plant resistance,” said Prof Chuah, in his opening remark.
He continued, “From what I understand, the FSc has already been approached by INO since 2015 for seven consultancy projects with the purpose to study the efficacy of their products on the growth and productivity of several crop plants, as well as to improve the formulation of their products. It is also through INO Nature that FSc is able to engage with major industry players like Felda Global Venture Research and Development Sdn Bhd, IOI Plantation Sdn Bhd and Pamol Plantations Sdn Bhd, which also brought about five consultancy projects for microbiological analyses for the soil of their plantations. To further reinforce our R&D commitments in line with the University’s vision of being a university of educational excellence with transformative societal impact, UTAR also signed two MoAs with INO Nature in July this year for two research projects.”
Prof Chuah also expressed hope for the collaboration with INO Nature to be able to contribute to the agricultural sector in Malaysia by producing more technologist in areas relating to fertilisers and pesticide control, as well as enabling Malaysian products to be exported and recognised for its quality.
Also thanking UTAR, Ghee Shyang mentioned, “It is an honour for us as well to be able to collaborate with UTAR. We realised that there are more things to learn and discover in the field of agricultural science. Besides, it is also very important to find someone who speaks the same language and shares the same values in order to achieve seamless collaboration. Therefore, we are happy to be able to work with the FSc because they truly understand our field of expertise, particularly on fertilisers and the usage of microbes. We hope to be able to present more discoveries and that people will know that these discoveries are from INO Nature and UTAR.”
Under the two MoAs, two separate research projects will be initiated. The first project is a 2-year project amounting RM140,000 which provides all the research-related fundings, including financial support for a Master of Science student. The project will also research and develop beneficial bacteria for foliar fertiliser, with the objectives to obtain the total bacterial count and bacterial isolates; determine the identity of bacterial isolates; characterise bacterial isolates for their properties; and characterise bacterial isolates for their beneficial activities. Another objective also includes enhancing crop productivity, with the main target crops being fruit trees, such as durian, where induction flowering and maintenance of developing durian fruits are deemed highly desirable by the industry.
The second project will be a 3.5-year project amounting RM266,560 which provides all the research-related funding, including financial support for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student. The project will research and develop an effective Ganoderma Biofertiliser, with the objectives to determine the diversity of bacteria and fungi; analyse biochemical activities of microorganisms; characterise antagonistic activities of microbial isolates against the phytopathogenic fungal Ganoderma boninense; and to conduct field trial experimentation on the control Ganoderma infection on oil palm seedlings.
UTAR currently has over 306 MoU partners, consisting of local and international universities and industry organisations, who have played essential roles in research collaborations, student exchanges and training for staff and students.
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is highly reputed as one of the fastest growing private higher education institutions in the country since its inception in 2002. From only 411 students, the University now has about 25,000 students with campuses located in Kampar, Perak and Bandar Sungai Long, Selangor. UTAR has graduated over 56,000 students since its inaugural convocation in 2005. The University currently offers more than 110 programmes from Foundation Studies to Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees in the fields of Accounting, Business and Economics, Actuarial Science, Mathematics and Process Management, Agriculture and Food Science, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, Chinese Studies, Creative Industries and Design, Engineering and Built Environment, Information and Communication Technology, Life and Physical Sciences, and Medicine and Health Sciences. UTAR was awarded self-accreditation status by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency of the Ministry of Higher Education in 2017 and ranked 501-600 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018. UTAR was also ranked #99 in the 2018 Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings. For more information, go to www.utar.edu.my or call 05-468 8888 (Kampar Campus), 03- 9086 0288 (Sungai Long Campus).
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) 拉曼大学