International symposium highlights research directions and job prospects in engineering and science

Prof Yow (top row, far left) with the speakers, and organising committee

UTAR Centre for Photonics and Advanced Materials Research (CPAMR) organised a two-day virtual symposium titled “International Symposium on Resilience 2021: Research Directions and Job Prospects in Engineering and Science after Covid” on 17 November 2021 via Zoom. The symposium saw about 100 participants from four continents around the world namely, North America, South America, Europe and Asia, and six countries which were Canada, Sweden, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Chile.

The international symposium aimed at promoting the adaptation efforts and resilience of research directions and job prospects in engineering and science during the Covid-19 pandemic. The symposium also aimed to stimulate discussion and potential collaboration between universities, funding agencies and the industry on academic research in engineering. Moderating the symposium were Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) Ts Dr Wong Mee Chu and CPAMR Chairperson Dr Steven Lim.

Prof Yow delivering his speech during the symposium

UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Yow Ho Kwang graced the symposium and said, “The Covid-19 pandemic introduced an unprecedented number of uncertainties across many aspects in day to day living from battling spreading of infections and health risk and social economic challenges, lessening job opportunities and increasing reliance on digitisation and processes that impact smaller businesses. With the current focus on post-pandemic business recovery, e-commerce activities, retraining of staff, redeployment of resources and reconnecting lost business contacts, how can engineering and science contribute to the post-pandemic era of future developments, business and environmental and sustainability? We need to train our graduates to be more resilient and build a resilient mindset to prepare them to navigate future challenges. This symposium serves as a platform for the industry and university to come together and brainstorm and interact for stimulative discussions for a positive way forward into the next decade. We are honoured to have the experts and academics to share their expertise and research findings with the participants. We look forward to an educational and insightful experience at the symposium.”

Dr Kuan welcoming the participants

Symposium Chairman Dr Kuan Seng How said, “The next decade ahead of us will be different than what we already know. Drastic changes are taking place in the world we live in, how we work, and how the economy is structured. The Covid-19 pandemic impacted society and the trends of low wages and high living costs have accelerated. Under these challenging times, one trait stands out amid big changes we’re going through and it is the ability to endure and thrive under challenging times. This trait is otherwise known as resilience. I hope the participants will learn from the experts to confront the new reality and the new normal that we live in today,” as he welcomed the participants.

Speaking on the first day were LKC FES Prof Dr Chong Kok Keong with his presentation titled “New working environment in the Post COVID-19 pandemic”; McGill University, Canada Dr Alessandro Navarra and Dr Elie Abou-Jaoude with their presentation titled “A new integral discourse in mining towards global transformation and people power”; Southern University of Science and Technology, China Dr Ho Chun Loong with his presentation titled “Augmentation of teaching methods in SUSTech during the COVID-19 pandemic”; Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile Dr Luis A. Cisternas with his presentation titled “Impact of COVID-19 on research and teaching in mineral processing at the University of Antofagasta, Chile” and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden Dr Yousef Ghorbani with his presentation titled “COVID-19 Pandemic significances for higher education in Sweden: Challenges and possible future opportunities”.

SEGi University Dr Shamini Janasekaran started the day-two symposium with her presentation titled “Fuzzy Logic prediction for research work to reduce laboratory experiments and its beneficial impact during pandemic” followed by King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, Thailand Dr Chantaraporn Phalakornkule with her presentation titled “Development of medical oxygen generators for high-flow oxygen delivery with IoT for remote control”; Taylor’s University Dr Jesrina Ann Xavier presented on “Aiding cancer patients through Design Thinking: A COVID-19 case study”; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Dr Lam Su Datt presented on “Post-COVID + AlphaFold —> an exciting new era for Structural Biology”; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Dr Sylvia Chieng presented on “Research in tropical diseases: What can we learn from the pandemic?” and Southern University of Science and Technology, China Dr Chen Jun presented on “COVID-19: a perspective of microbiome research”.

Clockwise from top right: Dr Alessandro Navarra, Dr Ho Chun Loong, Dr Yousef Ghorbani, Dr Chantaraporn Phalakornkule, Dr Lam Su Datt, Dr Chen Jun, Dr Sylvia Chieng, Dr Jesrina Ann Xavier, Dr Shamini Janasekaran, Dr Luis A. Cisternas, Dr Elie Abou-Jaoude and Prof Chong during their presentation

The other symposium organising committees were Ts Dr Shuit Siew Hoong, Dr Thiam Hui San, Dr Sylvia Chieng, Ir Dr Amares Singh, Ir Dr Carine Ng Tan Ching and Tan Chun Yuan.

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