KUCHING: As part of its commitment to deliver research to communities and industries, Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus, has entered into research partnerships with three organisations.
The campus here and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for research to formulate growth-enhancing microbial fertiliser for forest plantation, particularly for the Kelampayan (Neolamarckia cadamba) and Eucalyptus pellita trees.
The Sarawak Timber Association (STA), which will provide RM580,000 for the three-year research project, formalised the funding through a MoU with Swinburne Sarawak.
The research concerns replantation efforts that have been hampered by, among others, fungal diseases, insect infestation and difficulty in applying effective fertiliser.
Swinburne Sarawak researchers have formulated a plan with the STA and the SFC to address these issues through the cultivation of naturally occurring microbes to provide nutrients and resistance to disease for young trees.
STA is an association of over 600 member companies involved in the timber trade and industry.
Its roles and functions include providing technical and research support to member companies, and through its R&D Financial Contributions Scheme, to promote education, training, and scientific research to the timber and forestry related industries.
Also signed was a MoU between Swinburne Sarawak and Daitoku Sdn Bhd for the development of sustainable bio-fertiliser from oil palm biomass wastes.
Last year, the university signed a MoU with Daitoku to jointly explore developing natural bio-fertiliser from oil palm wastes.
The research team will now assess the effectiveness of these formulations with the aim to substitute chemical fertiliser with an environmentally friendly, natural alternative.
“The signing of the agreements show the maturity of Swinburne Sarawak’s research efforts, and that we are making a real statement about the potential of the state of Sarawak for world class research here at Swinburne Sarawak,” said Swinburne Sarawak chief executive Professor Anthony Cahalan.
Senior officers from the three organisations were signatories to the memorandums while Cahalan signed for the university.