BERLIN, GERMANY, 10 September 2019 – A Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) delegation comprising the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed; USM Research and Creativity Management Office (RCMO) Director, Professor Dr. Lee Keat Teong and Professor Dr. Sudesh Kumar (lecturer from USM School of Biological Sciences) had the opportunity to visit Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK and Technische Universitat (TU) Berlin in Berlin, Germany recently.
During the visit, the USM delegation held discussions with both institutions on several prospective collaborations that both institutions could venture into.
USM through Sudesh is currently working together with both institutions, in addition to other institutions in Germany (ANiMOX GmbH, CUBA Kunststofftechnik GmbH, AJ Innuscreen GmbH) and Colombia (Universidad de Antioquia) for a project which looks into PHA Biopolymers from Waste Animal Fats: Scale-up for enabling industrial production.
Sudesh is widely known at the international level for his research on the design and synthesis of biodegradable plastics from microbes, polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHA.
PHA is 100% biodegradable and could become an alternative to some plastics. This application would support the Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) plan for a "Roadmap-Towards-Zero-Single-Use-Plastics".
The Fraunhofer Institute offers application-oriented system solutions covering the whole spectrum of industrial usage – from product development, production processes, maintenance of investment goods and product recycling to the design and management of manufacturing companies. Other areas of focus include the transfer of production technology solutions to areas of application outside of the industry such as transport and security.
Meanwhile, TU Berlin is one of the leading technical universities in Berlin.
The delegation from USM had discussions with Professor Hans Ulrich Heiss, Vice-President for Education, Digitalization and Sustainability and Evelina Skurski, Head of Section for International Affairs from TU Berlin.
Asma emphasised on the importance of TU Berlin and USM to seriously explore the prospect of offering a double Ph.D. and Summer School Programme. This could lead to a collaboration that could be further explored to form a valuable partnership between USM and TU Berlin in the future.
Text & Photo: Mohd Rashid Abdul Rejab/Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin