A local university is lending a helping hand to researchers to advance their efforts in promoting sustainable development in Malaysia and in South East Asia.
An annual grant of RM4.4 million has been set up by Monash University Malaysia to assist its researchers and those from partner agencies and institutions to examine and find solutions to various socio-economic and environmental issues plaguing this region.
Vice President of Research and Development at Monash University Malaysia Professor Mahendhiran Nair said that the university is in a strong position to start contributing to regional development.
“The idea is to solve challenges faced by various communities in the region and build strong regional knowledge networks that have a positive impact amongst ASEAN nations,” said Professor Nair, who is also CEO of Monash Malaysia R&D Sdn Bhd.
The ASEAN Sustainable Development Research Grant Scheme hopes to achieve targets set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which addresses poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and peace and justice.
Monash University Malaysia has identified key areas for the grant such as regional economic competitiveness, territorial disputes, refugee crisis, gender equality and poverty, food and water security, environmental pollution, trade disputes and other sustainable development issues in the region.
This year five projects identified by the university will each receive funding of RM883,600 for a period of three years.
Among others, the research projects are based on food and water security, empowering rural women, biotechnology in the fishery sector and the sustainable governance of the palm oil sector.
“The grant provides significant support for talent development in order to nurture a new generation of researchers who will take the ASEAN region forward in meeting its challenges.”
The grant also includes PHD scholarships.
According to Professor Nair, the aim is enable researchers to leapfrog to the higher stages of socio-economic development as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“The research grant will help build a critical mass of researchers who will provide valuable insights and strategies to assist ASEAN countries move ahead in a sustainable manner,” said Professor Nair.