Prof. Omar Osman, the acting Vice-Chancellor of USM said that the university has the necessary expertise in helping the industry and collaboration such as this is an indication that innovations that go beyond our expectations can be beneficial to both parties.
”We welcome university-industry collaboration especially in projects involving students because we want our students to be given the opportunity to show their skills in their respective fields,” he said at a press conference after announcing the success of a team of USM engineering students in the Perodua Eco-Challenge recently.
At the PERODUA Eco-Challenge that was held on 20 June 2009, a group of students from the School of Mechanical Engineering, USM won first place in the Automatic Transmission Category and took home a cash prize of RM 30 000. The Perodua MyVI that they had modified beat the other contestants by recording a mileage of 23.5 km per liter of petrol. Twelve other institutions of higher learning had also participated in the Challenge.
The modified engine showed savings of more than 80 percent in oil consumption compared to previous performance with the same load. The students were mentored by lecturers Prof. Horizon Gitano-Briggs and Abdul Yamin bin Saad.
Besides this, the team also won first place in the Engine Design and Presentation Category and took home a cash prize of RM 10 000. The prizes were awarded by the Managing Director of PERODUA, Datuk Syed Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar.
According to Prof. Omar, the success of these students is proof that students are also serious about sustainability issues and their research can contribute to society if the industry also plays its role.
”I urge the industry to organise more competitions or championships especially at international level for students in institutions of higher learning. This will provide Malaysia with the opportunity to promote the skills and capabilities of the students to the society.