MELAKA: Nearly two decades since its establishment, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka continues to play a prominent role, contributing to the field of research and academia at the national and global level.
To progress further, UTeM Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Raha Abd Rahim has unveiled a new concept to ensure that the prestigious technical university remains relevant and produces more technology-savvy and highly skilled talent.
She said UTeM would continue to focus on technical areas in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0).
“This is to ensure that UTeM is at the forefront of higher education institutions in the development of a balanced and holistic students, as well as producing more technologically advanced intelligence.
“Thus, the concept of T.U.N.A.I or Technology @ University Advancing Industry and Society was introduced to cover three key elements, namely focus, deliverables and impact,” she said in an interview recently.
As a technical university specialising in Advanced Manufacturing and Computing Technology, Raha believes it is important to support the industrial ecosystem and strengthen research activities in the field of Engineering or Computer Technology, especially Artificial Intelligence.
“In realising this strategy, mastery of technology is paramount through the implementation of inter and transdisciplinary research and the culture of research development. With its expertise and capabilities, UTeM can generate future-ready and relevant workforce,” she said.
The new initiative also has a comprehensive impact on the quadruple helix complementing the A-I-S (Academia-Industry-Society) ecosystem and create a more conducive environment for technology scholars.
“The term technology scholars is new in today’s digital age, where these scholars use technology to solve complex problems in the industry and society,” Raha said.
She said technology scholars assimilated with the industries and society to understand their problems. They not only create new knowledge but most importantly, through technology know-how, will enhance inventions to provide solutions.
Whilst knowledge will still be disseminated through publications and lectures,focus will be more on services, consultation, getting industrial IPs and providing solutions to industries and society. Various strategies are being developed around technology-oriented services and to change the design of existing programmes to produce industry-ready talent, engineers and technologists.
“We need to revisit the focus of research and innovation by focusing more on effective ways to enhance inventions and creations that will impact the industry and society, in line with UTeM’s slogan, ‘Always a Pioneer, Always Ahead’," said Raha.
She said all university staff had their own capabilities and advantages.
She said technology scholars would empower UTeM as it met the needs of the ever-changing world.
“Organisations and countries will benefit from marketable products and solutions provided by our researchers and staff. We are working with many industry players, and collaborating with applied and technical institutions from abroad, to support the assimilation process among our students and academics.”
Among the challenges faced by UTeM is how to impress upon students the importance of providing solutions.
“Future students must be highly skilled, innovative and relevant to the needs of the industry and society. They must also be emotionally and spiritually intelligent, as employers want them to have more problemsolving skills, multilateral skills and holistic thinking,” said Raha.
In order to execute this opportunity, UTeM must act quickly and decisively.
“UTeM will identify programmes that are best suited for our purpose and remove those that are not. UTeM has to reflect on why and for whom it is generating the students and how best to deliver the programmes.”
UTeM aspires for its students to be compelling technologists and workforce.
“Our academia must be scholars who are stimulating go-getters and inventors. Our support staff must be well trained and robust,” said Raha.
“UTeM must stand tall as a technical university where technologies, graduates and services from this university will advance industries and societies, and the nation will benefit from the products and solutions provided by our researchers. That is our responsibility.”