UTM VC first Malaysian to receive Mustafa Prize for Muslim scholars, scientists

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) vice-chancellor Prof Ahmad Fauzi Ismail. - Picture courtesy of Mustafa Prize website at https://mustafaprize.org/en/laureates/2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) vice-chancellor Prof Ahmad Fauzi Ismail has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Mustafa Prize, a biennial accolade celebrating the remarkable achievements of Muslim scholars and scientists since 2015.

UTM, in a statement, said this milestone holds historical significance as Ahmad Fauzi became the first Malaysian and the second South-East Asian recipient of the Mustafa Prize.

Ahmad Fauzi joins esteemed laureates including Prof Samia J. Khoury from Lebanon and Prof Murat Uysal from Turkiye in the category of laureates from Islamic countries.

"Prof Ahmad Fauzi's recognition stems from his outstanding contributions to membrane technology research and its diverse applications.

"His impact extends globally through visiting appointments at prestigious institutions, including Imperial College London, Tokyo University and Kyoto University.

"His pivotal role in establishing the Advanced Membrane Technology Research Center (AMTEC) at UTM has positioned him as a leading figure in membrane science and technology worldwide,” the statement read.

The Mustafa Prize acknowledges Muslim scientists in four categories, which are information and communication science and technology, life and medical science and technology, nanoscience and nanotechnology and all areas of science and technology.

The opening ceremony in Isfahan, Iran, featured Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and 150 leading academicians and scientists from the Islamic world.

In his acceptance speech, Ahmad Fauzi expressed his gratitude to his family, UTM and various ministries in Malaysia that supported his work and research over the years.

"Research, for me, has always been more than just a career, it's a deep-seated passion. It's the thrill of discovery, the pursuit of knowledge and the relentless curiosity that keeps me inspired,” he said.

At the heart of Ahmad Fauzi's research lies the development of innovative polymeric, inorganic and mixed matrix membranes.

These pioneering membranes have found critical applications in water desalination, wastewater treatment, gas separation processes, palm oil refining, as well as the creation of haemodialysis and polymer electrolyte membranes for fuel cell applications.

His impressive list of accolades includes the World Academy of Sciences Prize in 2020, the Merdeka Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement in 2014, the IChemE Malaysia Innovator of the Year Award in 2014 and Malaysia's Research Star Award by Clarivate Analytics, underscoring his prolific contributions to academia and industry. - Bernama

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