Since its establishment more than 100 years ago, University of Malaya has fostered a strong tradition of research and development, producing numerous world-class breakthroughs in various fields of science and technology. However, most of UM’s distinctive research publications have come from individual efforts and segregated groups. As a consequence, the contributions made were uncompetitive in number and thus became diluted in their impact for the university. In order to boost the university’s image and expand its research productivity, it is imperative that newer and more effective strategies be introduced to the university.
Prior to being accorded the Research University (RU) status on October 11th 2006, the various research carried out in UM were loosely clustered according to the various disciplines in the faculties. With the RU status and its objective, there is an urgent need to redefine research clusters in a more focus manner in order to help charter the research strategic planning and mobilize the various research groups and units more efficiently.
The basis for identification of research clusters are based on the following general considerations:
- Recognised existing research group need to be sustained and strengthened.
- Pioneering research areas that are able to increase the nation’s competitiveness locally and globally need to be encouraged and supported.
- Frontier research areas and cutting-edge technology need to be explored.
- The activities within research clusters should support the nation’s aspiration.
Research clusters are not centres of excellence (CoE) but defined as “broad-based thematic areas of research” that act as umbrella to support centres of excellence (CoE). The research clusters will be instrumental in focusing the university’s research activities and will aid in galvanizing university research activities in the future.
The research clusters of University of Malaya give broad direction for developing research agenda, each embracing prominent and evolving themes in research area. Each cluster includes interdisciplinary approaches and coordinates research activities from different disciplines. The four (4) research clusters are:
- Innovative Industry & Sustainability Science
- Frontiers of the Natural World
- Health & Well-Being
- Social Advancement & Happiness