State of the art biotechnology R&D facility in Miri well underway

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah (seated centre) with ministry and university officials and project consultants following the briefing.

Miri – 7 March 2016 – The development of a state-of-the-art biotechnology research and development (R&D) facility in Miri by the Sarawak Ministry of Industrial Development in collaboration with Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) at a cost of some RM50 million is well underway.

Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Amar Haji Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also the Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment and Minister of Public Utilities, visited the university campus today for a first-hand look at the progress.

Accompanying him were Assistant Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Julaihi Narawi and Ministry of Industrial Development Permanent Secretary Datu Liaw Soon Eng.

The minister was given a briefing by the project consultants and Curtin Sarawak’s Dean of Research and Development and Director of the Curtin Sarawak Research Institute Professor Clem Kuek before touring the 10-acre project site where the first phase of the project comprising a large two-storey R&D complex or Biotechnology Centre is taking shape.

Also present were Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Jim Mienczakowski, Chief Operating Officer Kingsley Francis Charles, Acting Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science Associate Professor Ir. Lau Hieng Ho and Dean of Learning and Teaching Associate Professor Beena Giridharan of Curtin Sarawak.

According to Professor Kuek, the rationale for establishing the Biotechnology Centre is that there is huge potential to develop the State’s bioeconomy by utilising its rich biodiversity which remains relatively untapped.

At present, there is no organisation dedicated to developing and commercialising new bioproducts and processes, and developments in the food, aquaculture and other bioindustries will require high technology capabilities for testing, analysis, research and development.

The Biotechnology Centre will support the development of new bioproducts and processes and provide pilot plant facilities to assist industries in phytochemical and bioprocesses; high quality testing and development facilities for bioindustries in product analysis, product enhancement and quality assurance; and Incubator facilities for emerging enterprises in the bioeconomy. It will also contract research and training for the industry and research agencies.

“The benefits of the Biotechnology Centre at Curtin Sarawak include assisting SMEs to develop and commercialise new products and processes; and quality assurance through product analysis to give consumer confidence,” said Professor Kuek.

He added that it will be managed by Curtin Sarawak, which will provide necessary expertise and a critical mass of researchers to conduct research projects funded by the government, Curtin University and other fund-providers, as well as ensure that the outcomes from the research activities are relevant to the State’s needs. It will also be equipped with sophisticated modern equipment to carry out its designed functions.

The Biotechnology Centre is due to open in the second half of 2017.

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah consulting with Professor Mienczakowski and others at the project site.

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah consulting with Professor Mienczakowski and others at the project site.

科廷大学(澳洲大学马来西亚分校) Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia

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