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USM PENANG, 26 June 2024 - The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) recently hosted the SustainaBlue Info Event, marking the launch of the "HEIs for Sustainable Blue Economy in Malaysia and Indonesia" project.

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This event underscored the vital role of the prestigious ERASMUS+ grant in promoting a sustainable blue economy and facilitating a green transition in the region.

The SustainaBlue project is a collaborative venture spearheaded by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), with participation from an impressive consortium of 11 partners, including universities, corporations, and associations from Malaysia, Indonesia, Greece, and Cyprus.

SustainaBlue aims to enhance the relevance of higher education institutions (HEIs) to the labour market and society by developing sustainable practices and innovations in the blue economy sector.

USM SBS Dean and Project Leader, Professor Dato’ Dr. Amirul Al Ashraf Abdullah, emphasised its critical role in integrating the blue economy into higher education.

He highlighted how this would integration prepare students for future careers by developing skills essential for sustainable development and environmental stewardship.

“This approach not only enriches their academic journey but also equips them with the practical knowledge and experience necessary for the emerging job market in green and blue economies,” he said.

The event featured key sessions and discussions, including:

1. Introduction to Blue Economy in Malaysia and Quintuple Helix Model by USM Centre for Policy Research (CPR) lecturer, Dr. Sazlina Md Salleh, who provided a comprehensive introduction to the Blue Economy in Malaysia and the role of the Quintuple Helix model in fostering sustainable development.

2. Piloting New Courses and Skills Development by USM SBS lecturer, Associate Professor Dr. Mahadi Mohammad, who introduced new courses focused on Blue Economy skills and internship opportunities to enhance student employability and industry relevance.

3. Blue Economy and Ocean Health by Dr. Hazzeman Harris, who discussed the critical relationship between the blue economy and ocean health, stressing the importance of sustainable practices for marine conservation.

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Also present were the Malaysia Aquaculture Development Association (MADA) President, Benedict Lim Chin Khian; Fisheries Research Institute Senior Researcher, Zaidnuddin Ilias and SEAMEO RECSAM Business Manager, Baharulnizam Baharum.

One significant announcement during the event was the establishment of the Sustainable Blue Economy Centre at USM SBS, whereas this centre will serve as a hub for collaboration and innovation, fostering partnerships between students, faculty, and industry stakeholders to drive sustainable practices in the blue economy.

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As USM leads Work Package 5 within the SustainaBlue project, the focus will be on modernising academic offerings, elevating skill levels and employability, and providing reskilling and upskilling opportunities for the active labour force in blue industries. This initiative will significantly impact participating nations and serve as a model for eco-friendly practices worldwide.

The SustainaBlue Info Event would begin an exciting journey towards a sustainable future. USM and its partners are committed to driving change and innovation, ensuring a greener and more prosperous world for all.

Source: SustainaBlue Info Event Press Release/Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: School of Biological Sciences, USM


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