Today I visited the campus of the Technology University, Malaysia (University Teknologi Malaysia – UTM) in Johor Bahru. This university has another campus in Kuala Lumpur, next to the Petronas Towers.
UTM is one of only five research universities among the 20 universities in Malaysia. The university has seen extraordinary growth and improvement in international rankings and aspires to rank among the 50 top universities in the world by 2020. The research institutions are evaluated annually and have a clear policy on their productivity and support for research groups. This policy was recently implemented and its success in the last couple of years is evident, with some of its areas of study leading the field in Malaysia. The research institutions have strong ties with some of the best universities in the world and work in conjunction with their government to study lines of research with a national interest. For example, a study is currently underway to develop an institution for tropical deseases, as part of the joint effort of various research groups.
It was an interesting day which allowed me the opportunity to work together with Professor Sabberi and his group on a joint project “Gene knockout identification for metabolite production improvement”, and to meet with the Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, along with members of his team, with whom we will work together to establish research projects in different areas of mutual interest between the University of Salamanca and UTM.
Although the 3,500 doctoral students are still a minority in this University, many are foreign students who pay for their own studies. The University aims to increase the number of graduate students to 50% of the student body. To this end, they will make significant investments in strengthening its graduate programmes and its research structure in particular.