Sarawak establishes MoA to develop state’s bio-economy

Manyin (third left) exchanging the agreement documents with Fong who represented Curtin Biovalley witnessed by other distinguished guests.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 6: Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) has today entered into agreements to collaborate with Curtin Biovalley Sdn Bhd and University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between SRDC and Curtin Biovalley is to manage, operate and maintain the Sarawak Biovalley Pilot Plant located at Curtin University Malaysia Campus in Miri.

SRDC was represented by Council member and Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong and its general manager Assoc Professor Dr Peter Morin Nissom while Curtin Biovalley by its directors Dato Sri JC Fong and Azmi Bujang.

Manyin revealed that the RM60.6 million plant facility, established with a soft loan from the federal government, was completed a couple of years ago, and was now being run by Curtin University Malaysia, Sarawak Campus.

“It is set up as part of the state government’s strategy to develop Sarawak bio-economy.

“The plant is to provide support for the development of new products, assist industries and provide pilot and incubator services,” he addressed the MoA signing and exchanged of documents ceremony today.

The SRDC and Curtin Biovalley partnership will mainly provide research and development (R&D) facilities to assist industries in phytochemical and bio-processes, high quality testing and development facilities for industries in product analysis, product enhancement and quality assurance, and infrastructure and facilities incubators.

“It will provide support for the development of new bio-based products and processes as well as to execute contract research and training for the industry and research agencies,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences (CATS) director Professor Christopher Robin Lowe represented Cambridge University to sign the agreement.

Manyin pointed out that SRDC will collaborate with CATS in the areas of joint research and development projects, student and staff internship and mobility exchange programme between Cambridhe and Sarawak.

“The Scientific Exchange Programme is a direct result of discussions between Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and University of Cambridge officials during a visit to the university in April 2017, to explore collaboration in areas that are beneficial to state’s development,” he said.

“It would cost about RM2 million per year to send candidates for training. It is a 3+2 years programme. We will identify people who can bring the knowledge and technology back to Sarawak,” he added.

The agreement provided a framework to facilitate and expand science and technology cooperation between the two organisations.

“It also provides a mechanism for research and development efforts that facilitate the exchanged of scientific data and results, protect intellectual property rights, and establish partnerships between departments and institutes of Cambridge University and their counterpart research institutions in Sarawak,” he added.

Expanded cooperation in science and technology, Manyin emphasised, will allow Sarawak to establish relationships between universities, researchers and business leaders.

“The agreement underscores the commitment by the Sarawak government to the people of Sarawak and their aspiration of achieving a developed and progressive state,” he said. —DayakDaily

Manyin (second left) exchanging the agreement documents with Lowe who represented Cambridge University, witnessed by others.