R&D: World-class research university in the making
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia has set itself a clear goal to be transformed into a world-class research university by the year 2020. The three phases include a reform as a research university with an entrepreneurial concept as the first phase, entrepreneurial research university as the second phase and the third phase will be as a world-class research university.
The university has planned strategic ways to achieve the goal with its three-pronged global plan which started this year.
For this phase, the university has started implementing the global plan programme where 3,132 students are being sent overseas. This programme will expose them to global environment studies through a summer school programme known as the Global Outreach Programme. UTM is also opening its doors to foreign students through a summer school programme and the Non Graduating Student Programme (NGS). Presently there are about 512 students from Japan, Australia, US, and Korea undergoing this programme at UTM.
Through research UTM has established itself among the top 150 research universities in the world. The university also engages in research with multinational companies in Japan and Korea.
UTM has sent more than 2,000 staff for global outreach programmes to overseas universities for two weeks to enable them to have a global perspective.
This first phase of the plan involves the institution receiving research university status in 2010, coming out tops in engineering and technology education and research, being included in the top 300 list, and increasing the number of publications, patents and postgraduate intake.
The second phase will take place between 2015 and 2017 through a high impact programme. During the second phase, the university will aim to achieve APEX university status, excel in research, inculcate an entrepreneurial culture within the university, elevate itself into the world’s top 200 universities, produce a high quality of local and international students as well as become an innovation hub.
The third phase of strategic transformation and advance research will take place from 2018 until 2020. The final phase of the plan will see UTM in the final leg of achieving world-class research university status through world-class peer recognition, being in the top 100 list of universities and at the same time gaining prominence internationally. It will also possess world-class attributes including top-notch staff, have well-equipped facilities, and have an exemplary reputation and credibility.
New Academia: New academia will be the backbone of the UTM’s success as it will give the university a whole different approach in carrying out research. Faculty members will include inventors and entrepreneurs who will comprise adjunct staff and fellows in addition to professors.
Students will learn from the real experience in companies, through internships and experiences in addition to commonly used books and journals. For funding, creative fund raising activities will be carried out that will include VC, endowments and REITs.
The student population will be upgraded from school-leavers and those in mid-career to include business people, those in the early stage of their careers as well as lifelong learners. This will enable UTM to produce top undergraduates, attract postgraduates from corporations and build up on its research capabilities.
Learning environments will not be limited to just the campus as the Internet and incubators, through Wifi and 4G, will serve as new learning platforms for students. Learning modes will also be amped up from lectures, tutorials, labs and studios to include incubators, internships, and experiential learning. The new learning pedagogy will be learner-centric.
Finally the outcome of all this is expected to increase from just degrees and expertise to business models, networks and capital creating jobs from spin-off companies.
Managing research in UTM: To realise its vision, the university has established a strong structure to support the research strength at UTM. UTM was the first university to establish research alliances that focus on research input and research output at the university apart from postgraduate students.
In addition, UTM has 10 research alliances that encourage interdisciplinary research. Specific Key Performance Indicators have been set every year for the Research Alliance to meet their target.
Innovation ecosystem: UTM‘s innovation spans across all dimensions and encompasses human capital, research and development, networking, environment, academic, and repository.
These are certainly very ambitious plans but achievable ones nonetheless. With such meticulous planning and attention to detail, UTM is well on its way to becoming a world-class research university.