UBD must pursue path of research and innovation
Azaraimy HH

HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik has called on Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) to create an environment conducive to the incubation of new ideas and technologies, whilst also maintaining close interaction and cooperation with the private sector as well as potential investors and start-up companies.

HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik said this was crucial in bringing together the relevant stakeholders in order to create the proper synergy between scientists and innovators, and investors and entrepreneurs that together would further facilitate sustainable levels of research and development in our country.

HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik delivered a sabda during the opening of the 2013 Brunei Dialogue yesterday, where HRH graced the ceremony as the personal representative of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The 2013 Brunei Dialogue was organised by UBD in collaboration with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and the Alexandria Trust, which brought together distinguished leaders from 22 universities and 16 countries across the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East to Brunei Darussalam.

The theme of the inaugural workshop was “Transforming Universities on the Road to Research Excellence”.

HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik said this theme was particularly relevant to Brunei Darussalam as the country pursues goals set out in the nation’s Vision 2035 or Wawasan 2035, which will require intensive economic growth, driven by the diversification of the country’s economy away from its current reliance on oil and gas.

“This is where I believe that our institutes of higher education, led by UBD, will have a critical role to play in equipping our nation and our people, with the advanced capacity and skills to compete globally, through innovation in knowledge based economy.

“The 21st Century economy is now defined not just by the ability to manufacture products that can cater to the sophisticated, technology-driven demand of today’s consumers.

“This globalised demand can only be sustained by countries that have invested significantly and wisely in education, creativity and innovation.

“There must also be sufficient support to allow innovators to translate their ideas at the design stage into viable commercial products for the market,” said HRH.

In this regard, the Government of His Majesty has consistently committed itself to providing the best in terms of education for its people, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik said.

“I believe that this investment in education will be crucial especially for our universities, as they become the focus for research and development.

“In this short term, we should capitalise on attaining a competitive advantage in research and innovation in areas of strength like the energy sector.

“We should also look in the longer term to areas like our rich biodiversity and the potential for research into rainforest derived products for the medical and pharmaceutical industry,” HRH said.

The process of investment into research and development is very much long term and may take many years to realise successful results, HRH added.

“In this regard, long-term strategies must be crafted that will help transform institutes like Universiti Brunei Darussalam, from being purely teaching institutes into universities that both teach and focus upon intensive primary and applied research.

“And as we strive to build up our capacity for research and development, we must not lose sight of the wider obligations of our universities, to instil in their graduates a sense of social responsibility and a duty to give back to society to raise the quality of life of our people,” HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik said.

“I therefore see the Brunei Dialogue as a significant interactive platform that will allow our university leaders to learn from and share each other’s experiences and best practices and further develop new networks of collaboration between universities across the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East,” HRH added.

ABOVE & BELOW: HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik is briefed on the artworks on display - Borneo Bulletin (4 June 2013)