Royal consent for Centre of Innovative Engineering
Siti Hajar

THE country’s engineering landscape is set to reach new heights with the establishment of the Centre of Innovative Engineering (CIE) which was announced by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the Institut Teknologi Brunei’s (ITB) convocation ceremony yesterday.

In a titah delivered in front of hundreds of students and their guardians at the International Convention Centre, the monarch briefly explained that the centre will join the ranks of other research bodies catering to the delivery of quality engineering innovations.

“It is my hope that the CIE will manifest into becoming a centre of excellence and a point of reference for collaboration among national as well as international agencies.”

The establishment of the centre, spear-headed by ITB, will bode well for the higher education institution, which has a vision towards becoming a Top 10 Technology and Engineering University in the Asian region by 2018. However, despite this ambitious effort, His Majesty reminded that cooperation from ITB’s entire population will be pertinent in realising this dream.

“This is an undertaking that is not impossible to achieve if all of ITB’s stakeholders work towards this aim,” said the monarch.

As a prestigious national university that has contributed to the development of human resources in the field of technology and engineering, His Majesty called on ITB to improve in terms of providing education to its wards and urged its students to contribute to national development.

“Increasing human resource capacity in engineering and technology can help in shouldering the country’s agenda in Science, Technology, Economics and Mathematics (STEM), which can further encourage the development of innovation.”

In ensuring that ITB students are provided with a holistic experience as part of their educational journey by infusing the teachings of the Malay Islamic Monarchy concept, His Majesty called on ITB to consider providing exposure to its students to other higher education institutions whilst at the same time introducing them to the international arena, which His Majesty believes can overcome issues of intellectual property rights, funding, technology transfers and content.

As the quality of students strongly reflects the strength of an education institution’s teaching staff, His Majesty reminded ITB to improve the quality of its academic staff in line with renowned universities and as per the criteria set forth by the recent implementation of the Academic Service Scheme, which stresses on qualified academicians.

Towards achieving excellence with specific emphasis on learning and research, especially in a more competitive world, His Majesty said ITB should establish healthy relationships with relevant strategic agencies and move forward in shaping strategic and in-depth ties that cover academics, industries and governments.

“In a triple helix relationship, it is not impossible for us to witness close, integrated cooperation with multi-national companies in ITB and work together with industries in taking this opportunity by offering programmes in Emerging Science.”

What can be considered as an initial step in the direction of being among global players, especially in innovation, His Majesty commended ITB’s recent initiative in opening up the Crown Prince CIPTA Award to other Asean member countries, which the monarch hoped could further elevate innovation within the region whilst realising Asean Community 2015 aspirations.

It was suggested that “perhaps ITB could come up with a model whereby Asean nations can practise Open Innovation”.

The Centre for Transport Research (CFTR) that focuses on research into land, sea and air transport based on engineering and technology also received a notable mention in His Majesty’s titah, as the ruler spoke about collaborative work carried out between the centre and the Ministry of Communications.

“It is my hope that such work can be further expanded to include other agencies that are reputable in research in line with the country’s vision to push ITB into the international arena,” His Majesty said.

In ending the titah, His Majesty extended his appreciation to ITB’s staff for their contribution in harnessing young minds and talent. The monarch while congratulating ITB’s newest graduates reminded them that their successes should be wisely utilised towards advancing the country’s economy through a knowledge-based environment. - Borneo Bulletin (24 October 2014)