The University of Malaya High Impact Research (UM HIR) is indeed honoured to have the The Honorable Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Muhyiddin Hj. Mohd Yassin officially launched the HIR Book “Touching Lives, Impacting Society”. This book is a labour of love by many, from UM Top Management to those who agreed to be interviewed, from the HIR Secretariat to the author and photographer. The HIR Committee is gratified to see the birth of this book which is a testament of the faith and trust given to UM by the Ministry of Education Malaysia.
In an attempt to transform research culture in the University of Malaya (UM) to be more competitive on the global playing field, former Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr. Ghauth Jasmon challenged UM’s staff to embark on an ambitious and innovative High Impact Research (HIR) programme back in 2010. The benchmark: each HIR project must result in ISI/WoS Tier-1 publications (in the best international academic journals) within two years.
Initiated with RM10 million from internal funds, the programme was topped up a year later to RM590 million by the Ministry of Higher Education when the government saw the potential of HIR. Academics started to be more ambitious in their approach to research and established excellent collaborations with top universities (and Nobel Laureates) worldwide. High quality papers were regularly being written and there was greater interest and enthusiasm for research within the campus. In addition, accountability was boosted by a system of external reviews and monitoring for HIR projects, with strong support from UM’s top management.
Recognising that the ultimate value of research is in how it transforms society at large, HIR embarked on an effort to document the first three years (2011-2013) of the programme. We owe it to civil society to be accountable to the vast public funds that have been set aside for this unprecedented research programme. In his speech, YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Muhyiddin said, “The government has allocated the HIR fund to UM and this big investment is expected to multiply returns. Planning and execution of activities should be done well to give the best impact and optimise all the sources available while avoiding wastage. With the setting up of sophisticated infrastructure and equipment in UM, I hope all researchers from all public and private learning institutions will benefit from the high technology facilities that have been provided in the Central Laboratory in the HIR building”.
Touching Lives, Impacting Society is only the “tip of the iceberg,” featuring a handful of the numerous UM researchers who continue to uphold the Malaysia spirit, and who consistently seek the means to impact society through research that is innovative, cutting-edge and ahead of the competition. This is their story, an ongoing narrative in a University that is, more than ever before, a thriving place of pioneering opportunity and meaningful work.
“The story of this remarkable journey has to be told and shared, so that posterity will not forget.”
Words: Evelyn Khor
Pictures: Benjamin Ong
For more information about the book, please contact Secretariat of High Impact Research at
03-7967 3231/3080 or email [email protected]