Universities urged to focus on impactful research

Well done: Sirim board member Datuk Omar Shariff Mydeen presenting the ISMS accreditation certificate to UMMC director Prof Dr Nazirah Hasnan. Looking on are (from left) UM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor, UM board chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar and Mohamed Khaled.

KUALA LUMPUR: Universities nationwide must work towards producing more impactful research, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He said research and development should be impactful and beneficial to society instead of a race for prestige or journal publications.

“Varsities are responsible for creating new solutions to handle climate change, economic disparity, political reforms, environmental issues and other challenges facing the nation.

“If our research doesn’t answer all these, then it fails. It’s a waste.

“I want to see results and tangible solutions,” he said when launching the 5th Universiti Malaya Research Carnival here yesterday.

To produce high-quality, impactful research, Mohamed Khaled said all disciplines must be equally respected in pursuing knowledge.

He added that higher education institutions (HEIs) should not look at one research field as better than another.

“Focus on multiple strategic collaborations. Each research project must apply both multidisciplinary and long-term approaches.

“A consortium of researchers and institutions from multiple disciplines with a clear project road map can be developed to achieve this,” he said.

He also called on HEIs to determine how research funding could be better conducted.

“University leaders are not just responsible for managing the process of doing the research but also getting funding.

“Research, done responsibly and with accountability, can be a university’s main source of income,” he said, adding that crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, venture capital firms, and multiple contemporary funding systems were among the many new ways of becoming financially sustainable.Later, at a press conference, Mohamed Khaled said the ministry would ask the government for more funding for the country’s research and development sector.

He said this was necessary as the existing allocation was less than 1% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“It’s not enough. The allocation must be increased and multiplied. Malaysia would not be able to compete without it,” he said.

Mohamed Khaled added that there was a need for varsities to be relevant and said that the country’s HEIs must play a role in solving problems faced by society.

“Commercialisation of fundamental research must be carried out so that the community can use the researchers’ findings and they do not end up being stored in the library.

“There is also a need to push forward research collaborations between HEIs instead of working in silos to produce high quality, well thought out research findings,” he said.

During the event, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) became the country’s first hospital to receive the Sirim ISO27001:2013 (ISMS) accreditation certification.

The ISMS audit was done to ensure the data and information in patients’ records remained safe from multiple threats.

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