Monday, June 27, 2011

DUN (Day Five): Mitsubishi Corp Energy Group collaborates with SBC to expore algal biodiversity

Posted on June 27, 2011, Monday

KUCHING:  Mitsubishi Corp Energy Business Group, which is involved in the oil and gas industry in Bintulu, will collaborate with the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) to explore the algal biodiversity in Sarawak for biofuels as a source of renewable energy.

State Planning and Resource Management Minister II, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, said such interest from renowned research institutions and pharmaceutical companies could be attributed to the state government’s efforts to ensure proper legislation under the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre Ordinance and Regulations, processes and facilities for research and development were in place.

“Because of this, research organisations feel secure to explore and harness the potential of biodiversity in Sarawak through partnership with SBC,” he said in his winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly here today.

Recommendations by SBC’s contacts had resulted in collaborations with prominent organisations such as Novartis, National Cancer Institute of the US, world class universities and multinational companies, he said.

Over the past six years, he said, SBC’s research had picked up momentum and its scope of work had also expanded from its initial focus on pharmaceuticals, which were long-term projects, to short-term applications in healthcare, flavours and fragances as well as biotechnology industry.

SBC, which accepted 20 industrial trainees from local and foreign higher institutions of learning each year, also hosted training attachments from foreign universities, including Yale and other foreign agencies such as the Bhutan Biodiversity Centre, he said.

“The attachments serve as a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building of our own researchers as well.

“Four research officers had returned from their post-graduate studies in Scotland and South Australia,” he said.

Two more are registered with researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak campus here for doctor of philosophy programme, he said.

He said SBC had also received recognition for its traditional knowledge documentation programme by becoming a model for other countries in Asia while government and non-governmental organisations from as far as Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and India had visited and took part in its workshops. – Bernama

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