UTAR academics appointed as members of YSN-ASM

The recent appointments of academics as new members of the Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM), continue to reflect UTAR’s commitment in supporting its academics to demonstrate research and scientific excellence in their respective fields.

The appointed academics were Assoc Prof ChM Ts Dr Lam Sze Mun from the Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT), Centre for Environment and Green Technology Chairperson Assoc Prof ChM Ts Dr Sin Jin Chung from FEGT, and Centre for Advanced and Sustainable Materials Research Chairperson Assoc Prof Dr Steven Lim from Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES)..

Dr Lim (far right) receiving his certificate of appointment

Dr Lim commented, “This membership emphasises my commitment to science communication and promoting science literacy. It is also in line with my strong belief in the importance of science education and its role in informed decision-making and civic engagement. I can contribute my experience and expertise to working groups within YSN-ASM related to science communication, education, and policy. Together, I can work with YSN-ASM as a leading platform for young scientists to contribute to the country’s scientific progress.”

Dr Lim’s research interests centre around devising sustainable and cost-effective methods to synthesise renewable energy (biodiesel, bioethanol and syngas) and other value-added products (bioplastic, cellulose nanofiber and triacetin) from renewable sources such as biomass. They encompass multidisciplinary fields and research areas including heterogeneous catalytic reaction, supercritical fluids, mass transfer, kinetics, thermodynamics, engine emissions, surface area characterisation, wastewater treatment, fermentation, ultrasonic reaction, microwave irradiation, process simulation and life-cycle assessment. The ultimate goal is to enable the creation of a sustainable integrated bio-refinery processing system which can transform our country’s rich agricultural resources and biomass waste into other high-value bio-products in a circular economy. 

Currently, his research team is working on developing various green synthesis methods to produce heterogeneous catalysts from low-value biomass waste such as empty fruit bunch and lignocellulosic material. The novel and environmentally friendly catalyst will be applied for the production of biodiesel through a glycerol-free pathway which at the same time can produce other more valuable by-products. This can help to complement the existing biodiesel production facility in Malaysia which will be subject to higher demand after the implementation of higher biodiesel blending in the diesel fuel mix.

Dr Lam hoping to promote the capacity building of young scientists

Dr Lam enthused, “I would like to join YSN-ASM because it can promote capacity building of young scientists and encourage us to undertake innovative and needs-based research which makes science-policy and science-practice linkages stronger. It can also collate existing research knowledge and identify research gaps and priorities in relation to the research in the key areas of national importance for action. Over time, it can identify opportunities to fund continued multi-disciplinary research by young scientists and early career researchers as well as provide technical support to promising young researchers on Research & Development (R & D) in Science and Technology (S & T) fields. Additionally, it helps to build and foster strong and dynamic networks among worldwide experts and institutions. Lastly, participation in YSN-ASM can also develop a community of high-quality young professionals that can provide support for policy-making decisions related to the S & T fields.”

Dr Lam’s robust solutions in addressing the energy confinement and environment-related problems can indirectly reduce our energy confinement on conventional fossil fuels and simultaneously minimise the environmental risk factors to the future pool. Her research contributes to a sustainable environment and is well-aligned across 4 facets of Sustainable Development Goals— SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG13 (Climate Action).

As a young scientist, Dr Lam is conveying her scientific skill and support to pursue a pathway for disseminating science and technology as well as life-long learning. Over time, she will also communicate her scientific works ranging from discoveries, applications, and impacts on society via impact making manner journal publications. Her active participation in scientific research and development is also exhibited through the research grant sponsorship by government and non-government bodies including the Ministry of Higher Education, Oil and Gas Industry, Palm Oil Industry as well as Water and Wastewater treatment industries. In collaboration with renowned scientists in China, she secured the international research grant “The Guangxi Key Laboratory of Theory and Technology for Environmental Pollution Control”. Moreover, Dr Lam is actively involved in professional bodies, serving as an Associate Fellow in the ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology, Professional Technologist at the Malaysia Board of Technologists, and Professional Chemist at the Malaysian Institute of Chemistry.

Additionally, Dr Lam is also conveying her research materials and discoveries to various stakeholders through the secondary school’s STEM project, the community programme in Kampung Baru Coldstream Village and other programmes to promote the awareness of the public for the involvement and contribution by the local young scientists. Through the participation in these programmes, on one hand, we can encourage and educate the next generation of young scientists throughout their careers, as well as enhance the knowledge and experience of the young scientists in the S & T fields. On the other hand, it can also link the information gap between the scientists and the policymakers. This will indirectly increase the involvement of the scientific contribution to various stakeholders.

Dr Sin is honoured to be a member of the YSN-ASM

Meanwhile, Dr Sin expressed, “I am honoured and excited to be one of the members of the Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM). Viewing the strengths of YSN-ASM, it provided a solid platform for outstanding young Malaysian scientists from diverse scientific backgrounds to facilitate networking and collaboration opportunities, exchange views to influence policy decisions, consolidate voices of young scientists on national and international issues, and create a pool of motivated young scientists to promote the science, technology and innovation (STI) towards sustainable development in the country. I would also like to thank UTAR for expanding my research by providing internal research funding, research publication scheme and research leave for international collaboration.”
Dr Sin’s research interests are environmental nanocatalysis, water quality monitoring, photocatalytic conversion technology and advanced oxidation process. He explained, “In today’s worldwide energy and environmental catastrophe, a realization has dawned upon the world to protect the planet. Need of the world is fresh water, fresh air and clean energy. Which method provided us with a green eco-friendly solution for these problems? With the boom in nanoscience and nanotechnology, nanomaterials are used as catalysts to provide us an innovative solution for above disused problem to create a resilient and sustainable environment.”

With respect to these issues, Dr Sin focused on novel visible light-driven catalysts development for environmental and energy applications. His newly developed catalysts provided a sustainable method for effluent treatment, bacterial inactivation and energy generation. His research aligned with SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. The impact of this research would ensure sustainable energy sources to satisfy the demand from society as well as eliminate the harmful pollutants from effluent to reduce environmental deterioration.

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