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Towards Impactful Interdisciplinary Research

The logo comprises 4 colored circles representing each individual cluster: Earth Red: Frontiers of the Natural World Yellow: Social Advancement and Happiness Blue: Health & Well-Being Green: Innovative Industry & Sustainability Science The 4 circles intertwine to form a Venn diagram indicating relations between the different Clusters and their research elements. The Red and Yellow circles are also part of the alphabets RC, representing Research Cluster. An image of a magnifying glass is embedded in the logo of the cluster to signify the aim of the cluster to foster interdisciplinary research and empower UM researchers in achieving research excellence.

First published 2019 by the Research Cluster Office, University of Malaya Designed by SRaihan All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to: Research Cluster Office Level 7, Research Management & Innovation Complex, University of Malaya 50603, Kuala Lumpur

Research Cluster Evolution

With the recent changes in nation’s economic landscape, it is undeniable that research in universities has been greatly affected. We observe shrinkage of research budget, while we are expected to meet the increasing demand from the stakeholders and taxpayers. As we aspire to address these needs, the University of Malaya Research Cluster has been restructured to four clusters.

The Research Cluster is launching the Impact-Oriented Interdisciplinary Research Grant Programme (IIRG) to enhance the impact of UM research in meeting the nation’s expectations. Researchers should create projects with impact beyond academia, by consciously incorporating elements of impact into their project at all stages. This requires effective engagement between researchers with stakeholders and research beneficiaries right from the stage of project ideation. Hence, the value of interaction among researchers from various disciplines cannot be underestimated, to develop impactful research projects that address real world issues relevant to the society and industry. It is at these interfaces between different disciplines that creativity and innovation thrive. In alignment with UM’s aspiration to be the preferred partner in research and champions in leading interdisciplinary research, Research Cluster will focus on research areas with promising performances and experts-ready with critical mass (Niche) and emerging areas (Thrust). These Niche and Thrust areas were selected based on the analysis of data on UM’s past research output, expressed research interest of different faculties and research centres, deliberations in a series of meetings/workshops, national needs and international trends.


To be a platform for UM researchers in achieving research excellence for the betterment of the society

To foster impactful interdisciplinary research in niche and thrust areas


Our Aims Researcher's Empowerment To empower researchers to attain world class research attributes

Interdisciplinary Research To create an effective ecosystem for interdisciplinary research

Synergistic Partnership To create synergistic relationships with national and international partners

Research Communication To convey the success of research and researchers to wider community

Our Roles Strengthen niche and thrust areas. Think tank for strategising research direction and policies. Foster impact-oriented interdisciplinary research. Establish collaborative research with national and international academic institutions, public and private agencies, and industries. Empower UM researchers in achieving research excellence.

WHO IS WHO Top Management

Vice Chancellor Datuk Ir. (Dr.) Abdul Rahim Hj. Hashim

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Prof. Dr. Noorsaadah Abd. Rahman

Associate Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Prof. Dr. Shaliza Ibrahim

Research Cluster Innovative Industry & Sustainability Science

Health & Well-Being

Prof. Dr. A.S. Md. Abdul Haseeb

Prof. Dr. Noor Hayaty Abu Kasim

Frontiers of The Natural World

Social Advancement & Happiness

Deans Assoc. Prof. Dr. Saiful Anuar Karsani

Prof. Dr. Ainin Sulaiman

Deputy Deans Prof. Dr. Normaniza Osman

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivy Assoc. Prof. Dr. Puteri Shafinaz Chung Akmar Abdul Rahman

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hanafi Hussin

Research Officers Nor Hidayah Ismail

Nuratiqah Mohd Norpi

Azrin Md. Kasim

Haryana Rozana

Administrative Assistants Suryani Othman

Abdul Halim Ismail


Siti Nurfairuz Ab Rahman

Social Advancement & Happiness Research Cluster The present situations in life and society are considered an improvement compared to the past and it is envisaged that future situations will be better than those of present times. This social progression allows the advancement of a group of individuals or institutions to move upwards in terms of income, wealth, and education. The impact of this social advancement is expected to create a more inclusive, civilised and happy society. The Social Advancement and Happiness (SAH) Research Cluster, in the next three years (2019 to 2021) will focus on interdisciplinary research themes particularly culture heritage and civilization, behavioural studies, smart societies and education for the future. Culture Heritage and Civilization • Expressing the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including - customs (traditions), practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values such as cuisine, clothing, forms of shelter, traditional skills and technologies, religious ceremonies, performing arts, language, storytelling etc. • Preserving cultural heritage including - movable cultural heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts) - immovable cultural heritage (monuments, archaeological sites, heritage buildings) Behavioral Studies • Exploring the activities and interactions among human beings to create policy that can bring about change through desirable behaviors • Analysing human motivations, activities, psychological processes and interactions (small groups, families, communities, and whole societies). • Assessing impact of a particular behavior on income, wealth, productivity and happiness Smart Society • Creating new technology (applications) to realise the ideas of “smart thing” and “smart me” • Providing solutions to manage societies using technology and human elements Education for the Future • Creating innovative content for teaching and learning • Developing new and innovative technology to deliver content • Creating applications to enhance teaching and learning

Health & Well-Being Research Cluster

Health & Well-Being Research Cluster aims to foster interdisciplinary research programmes that initiate ground-breaking, innovative and sustainable solutions towards better health and well-being of Malaysian and global citizens. While breakthroughs in biomedical sciences has been driving the advances in healthcare, it is crucial to incorporate other disciplines in creating effective translation of our research towards a wholesome individual and society. We embrace various expertise and stakeholders with differing perspectives to focus innovation in making a meaningful and lasting impact, on selected focus areas in 2019-2021: Active Ageing: • Developing and maintaining functional, emotional and social abilities that enables a meaningful journey of life. • Developing the environments (home, community and society) that support active ageing using recent technology advances. Cancer: • Driving cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment with precision medicine. • Developing community that embrace cancer survivorship with dignity. Lifestyle Diseases: • Improving quality of life through precision healthcare and behavioural changes in relation to non-communicable diseases. • Overcoming diseases associated with urbanisation and way of life. Innovative Healthcare: • Driving innovations in regenerative medicine, bioprinting, and personalised medicine. • Exploring nanomedicine for drug delivery, theranostics, nano biosensors and nanobots. • Transforming healthcare using artificial intelligence in keeping healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and decision-making. Mental Well-being: • Improving treatment outcome for patients with mental illnesses. • Conquering addictive disorders for substance of abuse. • Thriving as individual and community in a digital world.

Frontiers of the Natural World Research Cluster University of Malaya (UM) has traditionally been strong in fundamental research. The Frontiers of the Natural World Research Cluster, or Frontiers in short, strives to ensure continued positive development of the area. Fundamental or basic research is often defined as research fuelled by curiosity that attempts to gain “new” knowledge and insights that are not always directly applicable or immediately useful. However, we aim to take it one step further. We want to develop a culture whereby we are not only focused on gaining new knowledge, but from the outset have an idea or intent for where the knowledge generated can, and will be applied. We would also like to incorporate a culture where interdisciplinary research is the norm. Niche – Nature Inspired Research: Driving Drug Discovery Malaysia is a megadiverse country (top 20), with a potentially near limitless source of exploitable natural compounds/products. Over the past 5 years, publications from UM in drug discovery, particularly focusing on natural products, averaged at ~350 articles per year, covering a wide variety of research fields. Clearly, the process of drug discovery amalgamates research from multiple fields to achieve its goals. We have the critical mass in terms of equipment and research expertise to excel in this field. As a niche area, we hope to push drug discovery in UM and progress from only identifying bioactive compounds to elucidating the molecular mechanisms of how these compounds work, develop improved delivery systems and identify new potential drug targets. Thrust – Curiosity Driven Fundamental Research We will continue to push fundamental research within UM. Researchers are encouraged to explore new frontiers in their respective fields. However, we want you to draw inspiration from the natural world and propose how these new discoveries will benefit humanity. It is no longer sufficient to only seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge. We must propose who the benefactors will be and how will the output of our research benefit the nation. In other words, we must consider not only the academic impact of fundamental research, but also consider and aim to provide substantial societal impact in the future.

Innovative Industry & Sustainability Science Research Cluster Innovative Industry and Sustainability Science (IISS) Research Clusters supports research efforts leading to innovative and sustainable solutions to problems relevant to industry and society. IISS intends to achieve cohesion and interactions among fragmented research activities in key areas in order to enhance the prospects of solving challenging problems, which are often interdisciplinary in nature. IISS is committed to build collaborative linkages between UM researchers and industrial partners. Impact Oriented Interdisciplinary Research in the following niche and thrust areas are promoted. NICHE AREAS: Energy Energy is a key area where UM researchers have shown great strength in terms of research productivity. Researchers in different faculties and research centres are contributing to diverse topics including biofuel, solar energy, energy management, energy efficiency, battery etc. Researchers are encouraged to propose research by integrating different disciplines. IISS aims to bring energy researchers on a common platform to address important energy challenges in a collaborative manner. Materials Materials have been another significant strength of UM researchers in different faculties and research centres. Materials underpin innovation in almost all other areas of technologies. Materials research at UM includes wide ranging materials such as functional materials and sensors, structural materials, electronic materials, biomaterials, energy materials etc. IISS intends to bring researchers with different materials background to work on innovative material solutions to industrial problems. THRUST AREAS: Industrial 4.0 Industry 4.0, combining physical and cyber systems, has the potential to change our lives in unprecedented ways. UM researchers have been working on different elements of I4.0 in isolated ways. IISS will bring together researchers from computer science and information technology, engineering, business and economics to work on innovative projects. Water & Environment: Research on developing strategies and technologies for quality, prediction, prevention and protection of water resources and environment are of particular interest. Investigations on the effects of global warming/climate change on the environment and the effects of anthropogenic activities on climate change will also be highlighted. Sustainable Living: Research on promoting and adopting a lifestyle that aims to reduce the use of natural resources by developing new technologies such as green technologies or renewable energy are increasing among the UM researchers. It aims to foster interdisciplinary research to meet the challenges and promote solutions of sustainable development for the society.


In order to achieve our aims, the activities and program organized by Research Cluster are based on the following:

• Researchers Training & Workshop A series of training sessions, workshops, seminars and dialogues will be conducted throughout the year to develop world-class research attributes. • Scenario Planning A series of focus group discussions will be conducted to evaluate the landscape of interdisciplinary research at UM, and to further understand the perception of interdisciplinary research among UM researchers. • Industrial Engagement This initiative aims to encourage interactions and knowledge sharing between UM and industry that will lead to the alignment of UM research with industrial needs and demand. • National Funding & International Funding This initiative focuses on the identification and application of potential national and international grants. We will provide a platform to facilitate researchers in the application process. • Research Visibility We aim to showcase UM researches by highlighting their outstanding research outputs and societal impact. Ultimately, this will increase UM researcher visibility.

For further information on any of the program, kindly email Research Cluster Office; with respective title. Eg: Research Empowerment - Inquiry

2019 Tentative Activities Calendar Meeting with Microsoft AI


Launching on Research Cluster Interdisciplinary Program

Meeting with MITIAPEC 2020

Meeting with MPC & MPRC

Workshop Invitation for MOE Grants (FRGS)*

Pre-proposal : Meeting on Niche / Thrust Area with UM researchers

Workshop with Stakeholders

Preparation for Top-drawer Proposal

Becoming a good grant proposal reviewer (focus on FRGS)


Submission of Impact Oriented Interdisciplinary Research Program

Workshop for APEC 2020- Preparation for Top drawer Proposal for July 2019 Cycle 2

Workshop on Scenario Planning Series 1


Pitching Session for Impact Oriented Interdisciplinary Research Program

Grant Award Ceremony

Submission of Revised Proposal - Impact Oriented Interdisciplinary Research Program

Workshop on Scenario Planning Series 3

Workshop on Scenario Planning Series 2

Preparation for Top-drawer Proposal

April Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder


Visibility Symposium Series 1

Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder


Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder

Collaborative Symposium with Research Centre

Preparation for Top- drawer Proposal

*Co-organized Activities with PPGP

Training & workshop

Industrial Engagement

Programme Development

International Funding

Scenario Planning

Post Graduate Diploma-Research Communication

National Funding

1 Jan 21 Jan 1 February 5 February 6 February

Research Visibility

Public Holidays 1 May New Year’s Day 20 May Thaipusam 22 May Federal Territory Day 5 June Chinese New Year 6 June Chinese New Year Holiday

Labour Day Wesak Day Holiday Nuzul Al-Quran Hari Raya Aidilfitri Hari Raya Aidilfitri Holiday

Visit our website for updates of the above programs.

2019 Tentative Activities Calendar Preparation for Top drawer Proposal


Visibility Symposium Series 2

Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder

31 : Workshop / Discussion on Data Analysis

Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder

August Collaborative Symposium with Research Centre

Preparation for Top-drawer Proposal

Preparation for Top-drawer Proposal

September Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder

Visibility Symposium Series 3

October Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder

Collaborative Symposium with Research Centre

November Preparation for Top- drawer Proposal

Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder


Meeting with Industry / Potential Stakeholder

Launching on UM Scenario Planning (Published & Dissemination)

Visibility Symposium Series 4

Training & workshop

Industrial Engagement

Programme Development

International Funding

Scenario Planning

National Funding

Research Visibility

Post Graduate Diploma-Research Communication

Public Holidays 12 Aug 31 Aug 2 Sept 16 Sept

Hari Raya Haji Holiday Merdeka Day Awal Muharram Malaysia's Day

27 Oct 28 Oct 9 Nov 25 Dec

Visit our website for updates of the above programs.

Deepavali Deepavali Holiday Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Christmas Day

Contact us


Level 7, Research Management & Innovation Complex (RMIC), University of Malaya

Copyright 2019 Research Cluster Office

Profile for mindiseverything

(2019) Research Cluster : Towards Impactful Interdisciplinary Research  

(2019) Research Cluster : Towards Impactful Interdisciplinary Research