Since the establishment of UTAR, our commitment to research excellence has never wavered. Research projects have increased, and more research projects are strengthening its innovativeness while practicing sustainability, especially in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have to assume greater responsibility and think of the bigger picture for the greater good of the society, the environment and the world we live in. Research can no longer work in isolation nor can it be purely academic. With globalisation and greater mobility including better access to communication technology, researchers have greater options for international collaborations, data and knowledge exchanges, and more quality focus with enhanced research techniques and equipment.
In addition, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has transformed the focus of many research projects and is changing the mind-set of researchers who take into consideration the future outcomes of their research and the impact it has on the society and environment. While research may focus on improvements and enhancements, the people behind the work must also seek viable solutions to help the nation and others around the world for a greater good, regardless of how small or large the contribution and significance.
In view of this, UTAR’s research and development (R&D) initiatives are mapped to align with the Sustainable Development Goals, and the nation’s Science and Technology Foresight Malaysia 2050. Our research and development priorities include the categories of Society and Sustainable Living, Human Capital Development, Heritage and Culture Preservation, Healthcare, Medicine & Technology, Internet and Intelligent Systems, and Industry, Economy & International Relations. These categories broadly cover most aspects of human, social, economic, health, environmental, and technological developments that have greater impact on the way the world progresses.
UTAR’s focus on teaching and research excellence have earned the university much recognition especially at the inaugural Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019 where UTAR is now ranked 101-200. This pioneering initiative by the Times Higher Education recognises universities across the world for their social and economic impact based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. UTAR’s ranking is based on the university’s scaled and pre-rounded performance on the SDGs with significant strengths on Quality Education (SDG 4), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10), Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17). This latest ranking is a reflection of the university’s strategic achievement and its direction in the right path in support of the SDGs.
The university is proud of the many committed researchers, whose dedication has earned them much praise and many accolades. Many have won national, regional and international awards and have gained the respect of experts from the industry. Their passion for research and their contributions in their field of expertise have added to the strong repute of the university, enhancing the foundation of the university for the people, by the people.
The previous year was a hive of meaningful projects and activities with our researchers. It is with pride that I present to you the following highlights in the UTAR R&D Annual Report 2018:
- Cumulative internal research funds awarded totalled RM55.40 million as of 31 December 2018, an increase of 11 per cent since 2017.
- Cumulative external research funds solicited as of 31 December 2018 amounted to RM57.01 million, an increase of 23 per cent since 2017.
- Scholastic publications cited (cumulative) in Scopus rose from 3,188 in 2017 to 3,793 in 2018.
- The cumulative number of citations of publications in Scopus increased from 24,769 in 2017 to 33,616 in 2018.
These are just a few of the many accomplishments in R&D, and the university is certainly constantly evaluating for improvements and expansion including developing a cooperative research framework with other institutions and professions. We have signed over 330 memorandum of understanding with foreign and local universities and industry partners to facilitate research collaborations, mutual educational visits, academic and student exchanges, and joint developments in teaching methodologies.
Moving forward, the university has conducted a mid-term review of its 10-Year Strategic Plan and has re-strategized with consistent focus on further enhancing teaching and research excellence as the key for the university to fulfil its mission and goals.
Let us all stay on-track and remain committed to pursue further collaborative researches that will enable us to seek improvements for the society, the nation and the rest of the world.
With warm regards,
Ir Prof Academician Dato' Dr Chuah Hean Teik