Four Research Grants Awarded to UTAR from MTSF
Kuala Lumpur: Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) received four research grants from the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation (MTSF) on 10 December 2008 at a presentation ceremony held in Hotel Nikko, Kuala Lumpur.
The grants were indeed timely rewards to UTAR as the University sought to increase its focus on research and the University was the only private institution of higher learning among the recipients of the 2008 MTSF Science & Technology Research Grant.
Assistant Professor Dr. Ramesh T. Subramaniam, Mr. Raja Kumar Vadivelu and Ms. Lim Pei San from the Faculty of Engineering and Science (FES) of UTAR, and Assistant Professor Dr. Lim Chan Kiang from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (FSET) of UTAR received the grants totalling RM 93,000 from MTSF to conduct their research projects at UTAR.
Ms. Lim, a Master's student at UTAR enthused, "I felt very fortunate to be able to receive this research grant as I even had to compete with PhD students for the grant."
For Ms. Lim, her passion in soil environment has led her to propose a research to discover an environmentally-friendly way of carrying out agricultural acitivites. She explained, "In many developing countries, chemical nitrogen fertilizers are used to increase the productivity of crops. This method may lead to harmful effects on our environment. The purpose of my research is to come up with an organic solution through the nitrogen fixation gene (nifh) system to increase productivity of crops without compromising the environment. "
Another MTSF research grant recipient who also has his hands in developing an environmentally-friendly product is Dr. Ramesh. He shared, "During my studies as a Master's and PhD student, I conducted several researches on polymeric materials. Although the researches yielded excellent results, the solvents used in the research were not exactly environmentally friendly. This was the reason why I aspired to produce polymer blends that not only produce good results, but are also kind to the environment."
Dr. Lim on the other hand strives to discover a new method of analysing cancer cells by using the synthetic approach. He said, "Structural limitation is one of the key challenges encountered by many researchers when analysing cancer cells. I hope that my research will help to uncover a better way for researchers to obtain more accurate results on cancer cells so that people may be able to enjoy better anticancer drugs in future."
In describing his research, Mr. Raja Kumar Vadivelu said, "The study of neuronal network systems of the brain is a fairly new field. Many characteristics of the neuronal network systems still remain unknown. In my research, I plan to use the organotypic slice platform in order to get a more in-depth study on the neuronal network system. Hopefully with my new research discoveries, scientists working in the neurotechnology innovation field would later on be able to create better applications in that area, such as in improvising artificial limbs and prosthetic arms. "
The MTSF Science and Technology Research Grant is a research grant open to energetic and creative young Malaysian researchers who are residing in Malaysia. and engaging in a basic fundamental scientific research field excluding mathematics and clinical medicine at a research facility in Malaysia. MTSF has been awarding the Science and Technology Grant since 1994 and recipients of the grants have been mostly from public educational institutions and agencies.MTSF, formed to advance the objective of promoting science and technology in Malaysia and recognised by the Malaysian authority, was established in 1993 through a RM4 million endowment by Toray Industries, Inc. Japan.
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Photo and Caption
Faculty members, UTAR researchers and the Grant Recipients (holding blue folder) with UTAR President, Engr. Prof. Dato' Dr Chuah Hean Teik (centre) at the MTSF presentation ceremony.