UMS leveraging on tie-ups with JSPS to bring in more researchers, funding


KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has embarked on the core-to-core mission of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) with the view to bringing in more environmental researchers and funding into Sabah.

UMS Science and Natural Resources Faculty Associate Prof Dr Phua Mui How, who is also the Kelvin Tan Aik Pen Forestry Chair, said that collaborations with JSPS core institutions in countries like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand had provided such opportunities over the last 10 years.

“Using this network, we can get other fundings, like, for example, a funding for research in Long Pasia, Kalabakan and Crocker Range with University of Tokyo Forests Prof Naoto Kamata. We are bringing them to different research sites in Sabah,” explained Phua, at the launch of the JSPS International Workshop on Long Term Monitoring and Data Analysis of Forest Resources and Environment at UMS yesterday.

“So, to actually make this happen, it is not only about the workshop. Workshop is one of the activities. It is a platform for us to share,” said the event organising chairman, adding that the independent association receives around JPY10 million annually for three years starting in 2016.

The programme started in Hokkaido with a symposium in October 2016 and another activity is lined up soon in Korea this year. JSPS is also expected to hold another programme in Taiwan for 2018.

“UMS is proud to represent Malaysia as one of the five core institutions in this Asian collaboration effort under the core-to-core programme,” he said.

UMS vice chancellor, Prof Datuk Mohd Harun Abdullah, whose speech was delivered by Science and Natural Resources Faculty dean, Prof Dr Baba Musta, said: “UMS is keen to sign a Memorandum of Understanding and a Memorandum of Agreement with the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo. With these MOU and MOA, l hope the academic exchange between UMS and The University of Tokyo, in general, and research collaborations at the selected areas, in specific, will be intensified.”

The one-day workshop, hosted by UMS, was held with core institutions from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand to hold research sites in different climatic and vegetation zones in Asia.

It also aimed to promote the development of long-term research field stations for stable and continuous monitoring, and to establish a multilateral research cooperation network between the core institutions.