USM sets sights on further research in Antarctica

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) aims to help Malaysia become a major contributor to global knowledge and scientific research in the world's fifth largest continent (and the coldest in the world) Antarctica.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at USM, Assoc. Asma Ismail, said the Antarctic research will help scientists understand key processes which influence the Earth's environment and climate.

He said research and monitoring in more detail on the continent will allow scientists to obtain various information, including early warning systems related to significant changes in the earth.

"Gaps [in our knowledge] still exist that require closer collaboration between developed and developing countries.

"The polar research team at USM will directly serve as a platform to offer opportunities for cooperation and the formation of new networks, both nationally and globally on the issue of the Antarctic,'' he said.

He was speaking after the launch of the book Polar @ USM, simultaneously with the formation of a special cluster that will coordinate efforts to increase research and development among polar researchers.

The ceremony was held simultaneously with a themed workshop centered around Polar Research Opportunities and Directions, which was organized by the University's Centre for Global Sustainability (CGSS) in collaboration with the School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Coastal Marine Studies.

Also present at the event were keynote speakers, the Vice-Chancellor of Al-Bukhary International University, Assoc. Tan Sri Dato 'Dzulkifli Abdul Razak and the Chairman of the Antarctic Research, Academy of Sciences Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Salleh Mohd Nor.

Meanwhile, Director of CGSS, Assoc. Prof Dr. Norizan Md. Nor, said the university hopes to establish its own research station in Antarctica to enable Malaysian scientists to conduct polar research in a more systematic and effective manner.

"It's better if a country has its own research station in Antarctica because it will provide many benefits, especially in developing a special paltform for the development of better knowledge,'' he said.

Commenting on the establishment of the Polar @ USM he said USM scientists are now striving to promote and enhance the findings of related studies to broaden the understanding of the poles on the continent.

"Polar @ USM will also support research efforts to improve science policy,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the book containing Polar @ USM research includes information such as background, a series of expeditions, networking and so on.

Polar research in the university dates back over nine years ago and so far, USM has given rise to ten scientists who have participated in at least five expeditions to the polar regions, and enhanced cooperation and research networks at national and international levels.

Published: 01 Mar 2012

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