Penang, 20 Oct.– Three Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) undergraduates made USM and the nation proud when they won five main awards in the largest exhibition in the United Kingdom, "Invention, Innovation & Technology Show, The 9th British Invention Show" (http://www.britishinventionshow.com) organized by The British Inventors Society in Alexandra Palace, London from 14 – 17 October 2009.
Upon their return to Malaysia, they were given a rousing welcome by USM students, led by the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Omar Osman, and student leaders from the USM Student Representative Council.
“Most important is that our students, who are doing their first degree have succeeded in competing with researchers from around the world,” said Prof. Abdul Latiff Ahmad, Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering who escorted the students from USM to London.
The British Invention Show witnesses the participation of industry representatives, researchers and scientists from all over the world and more than 300 research products are exhibited at this Show.
Chew Kuan Khoon, 23, won the Gold Medal for the research product, “Development of new synthetic composite for injectable bone replacement material” as well as “The World Invention Award”.
Chew, who is from Bukit Mertajam, Penang is from the School of Chemical Engineering and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at the same School.
Chew explained that the research had successfully resulted in the production of a much stronger composite material to replace bone. This material was injectible and does not require surgery.
Steven Lim, 24, won the Gold Medal and the Special Jury Award from Romania for his research product, “POLYCRAC: A Novel route for the conversion of waste polymers into fuels and chemical feedstocks”.
Steven Lim, from Batu Pahat, Johor who obtained brilliant results in his first degree, is currently pursuing his Doctorate at the School of Chemical Sciences.
According to Steven, his research culminated successfully in “POLYCRAC: A Novel route for the conversion of waste polymers into fuels and chemical feedstocks”, a process that is more cost-effective in terms of time and energy.
Meanwhile, Seah Tiong Chai, 23, who is from Malacca, won a gold medal for his product, “Potential novel malaria vaccine containing blood stage specific epitopes”. He is currently working as a research assistant at the Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals, USM.
"Through this research, we succeeded in producing a vaccine to combat malaria, a disease that kills more than 1 million people especially in poor countries,” said Seah.
At the press conference, Prof. Omar Osman said that this is one of the key achievements of USM to nurture talents in the field of research and innovation. He added that this is also important in showcasing the potential of the students in order to achieve international recognition.
“This success has set a very high benchmark in our efforts to continue seeking talents that can be showcased at both national and international level and to obtain recognition for new innovations in the future,” said Prof. Omar.
“This also proves that the results of the research carried out by our students such as that exhibited at the National Research and Innovation Competition (NRIC) organized by USM since two years ago is of high quality and can compete against those of other researchers in the world,” said Prof. Abdul Latiff, who mentored the USM participants.
He added,” USM is very proud of this achievement because we were the only university that participated in this exhibition.”
The trio thanked their supervisors and USM for giving them the opportunity to showcase their research products at the international level.
“We are very pleased and fortunate because we were given an opportunity and invaluable exposure through our participation in this event,” said Steven.