Muhyiddin launches low carbon research centre at Imperial

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is on a three-day working visit to the United Kingdom from Monday, visited the Imperial College London, a public research university here, Wednesday to help launch Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) low carbon transport research centre at Imperial.

The Centre for Low Carbon Transport, a collaboration between the College and UTM, one of Malaysia’s leading unversities, will bring together some of UTM and Imperial’s world-class researchers as they develop the next generation of low carbon transport technologies.

Muhyiddin, who is also the Malaysian Education Minister, had earlier witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on research collaboration between the Imprerial College and UTM.

Imperial College was represented by its Provost Prof James Stirling while UTM by its Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Wahid Omar. The Deputy Prime Minister was given a briefing by College officials as well as toured its facilities and laboratory.

In his speech, Stirling said the researchers would work on a range of areas to make cars more efficient, which would include reducing the size of engines to improve efficiency without sacrificing performance.

He said teams would look at ways of optimising technologies for advanced hybrid and electric vehicles to improve their range.

“They will also develop new concept for energy storage and waste energy recovery technologies to make cars lighter, so that they use less fuel and are more sustainble,” he said.

The new centre will strengthen collaborations between UTM academics and will enable some of Malaysia’s very best PhD and postdoctoral students to undertake research at Imperial, he added.

Also present at the signing ceremony were Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Datuk Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, and Prof Ricardo Martinez-Botas from the College’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Stirling said both the UK and Malaysia were committed to using science and innovation to help build low carbon economies, and the new Centre would bolster those efforts.

He said the agreement would bring together some of the world’s best researchers in the field of low carbon transport, as they sought to develop potentially transformational technologies and improve the research base in that crucial area.

Meanwhile, Wahid said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Imperial College and UTM was signed in London in 2011 witnessed by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Muhyiddin, who made this working visit to attend the 11th Education World Forum which was held in London from Jan 20-22, had also attended several other programmes during the visit including meetings with Malaysian students, London UMNO Club members, as well as members of the International Independent Review Panel, Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, Prof Michael Fullan and Dr Andreas Schleicher.

Earlier, Muhyiddin was given a briefing on the results of the initial study done by Cambridge English Language Assessment on the Preliminary Report on ‘The Baseline Project: Measuring the English Language Standard and Establishing an evidence-based baseline for Malaysian Schools’ by its group’s assistant director (Assessments & Operations) Martin Robinson and Dr Hanan Khalifa, the head of Research & International Development.

During a press conference with the Malaysian Press later, both experts had said that the research was very comprehensive and involved a survey done on 31,000 students from 943 classrooms in 426 schools and was carried out over the past few months.

Its final report is expected to be submitted to the Malaysian government in March next year.

According to Muhyiddin, Malaysia was the only country carrying out such a comprehensive study on the level of English proficiency of its school students.

Muhyiddin had left for home Wednesday night.

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