UTP on track to achieving sustainable global prominence

UTP’s grid-connected solar PV system is the largest single solar rooftop in Malaysia, covering an area of 410,837 sq ft.UTP’s grid-connected solar PV system is the largest single solar rooftop in Malaysia, covering an area of 410,837 sq ft.

SECURING the position as the country’s number one university and emerging as the top private university in the ASEAN region ranks as one of the proudest moments of 2023 for Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) vice chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.

“This is something we have been working very hard towards, but we were not expecting it this soon. So, we at UTP are over the moon about this,” he says.

The Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2023 also sees UTP leaping 32 places - advancing from the 95th position in 2022 to an impressive 63rd place in 2023.

Maintaining its position as Malaysia's leading private university and the second among Malaysian universities in THE World University Rankings 2024, UTP has also advanced from the 401-500 band in the previous year to the 301-350 band this year.

Global higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds also places UTP in the pole position in Malaysia in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023. For Petroleum Engineering, UTP ranks in the coveted top 20 spot globally; having secured 16th place.

Among the universities with 10 or more ranked subjects, UTP, whose Mineral and Mining Engineering programme also climbed into the world’s top 50 and Chemical Engineering into the top 100, is the world’s most improved institution, with an overall improvement of 82%.

“These achievements speak to the work we have been doing to improve the teaching and learning and in building our reputation in research. Over the last four years, we have invested tremendous effort in getting UTP known to the world, and we’ve seen the success of this with the leap in the number of citations for our research publications. The achievements in the rankings are the result of the rise in publications, industry-relevant research and teaching excellence,” says Mohamed Ibrahim.

The proof of the pudding lies in the eating, so goes the adage, and to that end, UTP has also seen a marked increase in its undergraduate student enrolment as well as an encouraging take-up of the postgraduate programmes offered via Open and Distance Learning or ODL.

“The increase in student enrolment is attributed to the aggressive efforts to market our programmes through engagements with schools, sponsors as well as the relationship that we have built with industry,” he adds.

For Mohamed Ibrahim and the team at UTP, these achievements come at a fitting time with UTP celebrating its graduating class of 2023 on the October 29 and 30. The 23rd convocation ceremony sees 1,386 graduates (1,074 Bachelor’s Degree, 198 Master’s Degree and 114 Doctor of Philosophy) receiving their scrolls.

For the first time, UTP will be conferring the Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems, Bachelor in Business Management (Hons) and Bachelor of Materials Engineering with Honours.

Graduates will receive their scrolls from UTP chancellor Tan Sri Dr Mohd Hassan Marican. Also in attendance are UTP pro chancellors Tan Sri Tengku Muhammad Taufik and Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim as well as PETRONAS chairman Tan Sri Dato Seri Mohd Bakke Salleh, UTP chairman board of directors Datuk Bacho Pilong and UTP board members.

Apart from the achievements in the rankings, several highlights were recorded by both students and the faculty throughout the 2023 academic year.

UTP’s Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduate and this year’s Chancellor Gold Award winner, Jocelyn Teh Shuang Ru clinched first place in the 2023 Intel Building Digital Readiness Programme for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Enthusiast category.

Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Fatin Fakhira Fahrurazi excelled both academically as well as in her entrepreneurial skills. The 2023 Chancellor Bronze Award winner owns Fleoral Studio, where she freelances as a digital illustrator and markets her work on social media platform.

Meanwhile in the postgraduate field, Dr Amni Haslinda Alpandi, winner of the Postgraduate Best Research Award for the PhD category also took home the gold medal at the 8th Annual Edition of the international Invention Innovation Competition 2023 in Canada (iCAN 2023).

In 2023, UTP alumni also made waves. Previna Arumugam (Bachelor of Petroleum Geoscience) was the only Southeast Asian recipient of the Energy and Earth Resources (EER) fellowship from the University of Texas in Austin, the United States.

Chemical engineering student, Kenneth Chong Yih Haur was named a Top 10 finalist of the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2023, a platform for incredible students all over the world to share their stories, connect with each other, and reach influencers in education and beyond. Chong was selected from 4,000 applications from 122 countries.

UTP’s Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering student Wong Soon Ping meanwhile took home the Best Position Paper Award for ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) and Best Strategy Paper Award (Lao PDR) during the Special ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting Plus China (Special AFMAM+China) 2023.

For extra-curricular, UTP Performing Arts Group (UPAG) and UTP Sanggar Kirana, representing Malaysia, also continued to make waves globally – winning the Gold Prize in the 19th Cheonan World Dance Festival, South Korea.

The UTP debate team also emerged champion in the Higher Education Institutions MACC Chief Commissioner Anti-Corruption Debate Competition 2023.

The faculty also continued to raise the UTP flag proudly, with the Department of Electrical and Electronics associate professor Dr Irraivan Elamvazuthi being conferred the

Top Research Scientists Malaysia 2023 by Academy of Sciences Malaysia while the Department of Chemical Engineering Dr Serene Lock Sow Mun clinched the Emerging CCUS Leader Award at the 2023 Carbon Capture Canada Awards.

The Smart GeoPipe, a research led by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department associate professor Dr Hisham Mohamad, received special recognition at the INNOVERSE Innovation & Invention Expo 2023 in the US. The invention received two other special awards by Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills (TISIAS) and Turkish Inventors Association (TÜMMİAD). Smart Geopipe is an instrumentation system used to detect ground movement and forewarn landslides in real-time using distributed optical fibre strain sensors.

UTP hosted Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Driver and the seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who was greeted by more than 4,000 UTP community.UTP hosted Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Driver and the seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who was greeted by more than 4,000 UTP community.

During the year, UTP also hosted Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Driver and the seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who was greeted by more than 4,000 UTP community. During his visit, UTP showcased its sustainability efforts such as the Yayasan PETRONAS Tree Planting Programme, biofuel research and the solar rooftop, which is the country’s largest single rooftop solar installation.

These accolades and achievements continue to drive UTP in its journey towards achieving global prominence.

Several plans are underway on both the academic and research and innovation front. Mohamed Ibrahim says on the latter UTP will be focusing on three new niche sectors namely, sustainable energy, emerging digital technology, and smart and sustainable living.

The university has also commenced the building of a new student centre and a 1,000-bed new student accommodation. The student centre, the first on UTP campus, will boast both sport and recreation spaces such as futsal court, exhibition and performance space as well as activity rooms.

On its priorities ahead, Mohamed Ibrahim discloses that UTP plans to unveil an unconventional engineering programme by 2025 – one that will produce the workforce of the future.

“As a university with close links to industry, we want to produce graduates who can attack design work in an improved way, who are more customer focused, entrepreneurial, who are agile and resourceful and at the same time possess a passion for lifelong learning,” he says.

UTP is also not letting its foot off the brakes when it comes to its research output, particularly the emphasis on commercialising research for financial sustainability and in enhancing brand reputation.

Sustainability is also a key focus area, and in the coming years more such practices will be rolled out on campus, with the intention that through these the university will also develop students who have a sustainability mindset.

“The goal is to shape the mindset and attitudes that will lead to better sustainability practices and for these students to then be leaders in this area,” he adds.

The plans and priorities, he says, call for a higher level of commitment from the UTP team.

“We want our staff to be equipped with higher level teaching skills and through our aspirations, we want to inspire the staff to be always supportive of the university’s agenda,” he further adds.

UTP’s convocation will be held over two days, from October 29 - 30 at its campus at Bandar Seri Iskandar.

The 23rd UTP Convocation Ceremony will witness a total of 1,386 graduates receiving their scrolls from UTP Chancellor Tan Sri (Dr) Mohd Hassan Marican.The 23rd UTP Convocation Ceremony will witness a total of 1,386 graduates receiving their scrolls from UTP Chancellor Tan Sri (Dr) Mohd Hassan Marican.

In conjunction with the convocation, UTP is organising a convocation festival, better known as ConvoFest at its campus.

Among the activities and events are sports activities, games, bazaars, Islamic festivals, international and local cultural festivals and performances by local artistes, to name a few.

Members of the public are invited to join in the celebrations. Admission is free. For more information, visit the website.

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