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UM Keen On Producing Malaysia’s First Nobel Prize Winner

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The oldest Malaysian higher learning institution is on to something: to produce the first winner of the Nobel prize, presumably in fields of medicine.

As ambitious and far-fetched as it sounds, UM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin said the goal was “very achievable”.

“But we must first dream that one day, UM will produce the first Nobel Laureate for the nation given the fact that there’s been a steady increase in the number of research findings from the university that are published in the world’s top research journals,” he told Bernama’s Azman Ujang.

Dr Amin said the university had benefited greatly from a RM590 million High Impact Research grant awarded by the Federal Government in 2011, and UM had used those funds to build central lab research facilities equipped with the latest technologies.

UM’s new facilities opened the door to collaborations with more of the world’s varsities, and earned UM the attachment of three Nobel Laureates to its research projects.

“Whatever research we do must be translated for the benefit of society. We thank the government for approving the HIR grant and it has already started to make a high impact to society especially in the medical field,” Dr Amin said.

Dr Amin, a former dean of the UM medical faculty and a former director of the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) is an advocate of transitional medicine, which stresses finding new applications for established research to improve medical procedures, policies, and solutions.

UM is also planning to move away from traditional academic culture, by yanking hard-science researchers out of their insular conclaves and pairing them up with humanities and arts experts.

“The scientists are always working in the labs but it is those from arts and humanities who are surfacing it to help translate research findings into applications for commercialisation. The impressive number of patents that have been filed over the years has great potential to be tapped for commercialisation.

“Plans are afoot to provide support for researchers to work with venture capitalists so that spin-off companies can be launched.The prospects ahead are promising,” Dr Amin said.

It seems likely that UM’s roadmap to a Nobel Prize win will focus on innovating the field of medicine, but with a cross-disciplinary approach that could motivate more than one segment of UM’s student body to step their game up. MYNEWSHUB.CC

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