| Lyna Mohamad |
AS PART of Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) effort to become a research institution, the university’s latest facility, the Pixela Laboratory, will provide full access for students and academic staff to carry out research to develop and demonstrate technologies for planned projects.
The establishment of the new lab, which was officially launched yesterday by the Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, aims to train graduate students in the field of photo-catalytic coating.
The facility is located at the Science and Technology building and is a collaboration between UBD, the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) and major Japanese manufacturer, Pixela Corporation.
It is hoped that these labs can lead to the commercialisation of research in the Sultanate and attract potential investors. The lab is also aimed at building up the university’s profile and reputation.
Offering research facilities under the Brunei Research Incentive Scheme (BRISc), UBD, BEDB and Pixela aim to attract and encourage both local and foreign companies to conduct research and development activities with a long-term plan to establish their businesses in the country, in the pursuit of a knowledge-based economy.
BRISc covers up to 70 per cent of research and development funding for manpower, training equipment, materials and consultancy.
Foreign and local companies are encouraged to collaborate with local research agencies to enhance domestic scientific capabilities through the exchange of knowledge, experience and technology transfer.
Another research facility in UBD called Centre for Advanced Material and Energy Sciences (CAMES) focuses on energy conversion and functional materials for energy applications.
The facility has been involved in a number of projects including an effort to develop a method to produce electrical power using pigments from tropical mistletoe.
The ceremony yesterday began with a welcoming remark by Director of CAMES, Dr Lim Chee Ming, who pointed out that the project has now moved to the next phase where Brunei-designed products will be undergoing field testing. One such site is the roofing of the Ash-Shaliheen Mosque.
BRISc, he added, has provided academia the bridge to cross the chasm between applied research and developmental research and the partnership with the local higher learning institutions is a vital factor in ensuring technology transfer.
“UBD CAMES has placed emphasis in engaging Bruneian students in its projects, and this UBD Pixela is one such example where we have six Bruneians involved.
Representing Pixela Corporation, Dr Kuwabata, who is also a professor at Osaka University, in his speech pointed out that Pixela Corporation and Pialex Technologies are aiming to enhance photo-catalytic coating technology.
“This is to be carried out through research collaboration and to develop its overseas market with Brunei Darussalam,” he said and added that Brunei is geographically located at the centre of Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“Considering these as advantages, we are hoping that we will build sales and business networks with neighbouring countries that are based in Brunei,” he said.
He also highlighted that Brunei Darussalam is a good country to pursue this avenue of research due to its tropical rainforest climate with high temperature, humidity and sunshine.
Pixela has already applied for a US patent in October 2014 and are planning to acquire more intellectual properties through this research collaboration and to create more “made in Brunei” products, and through this research collaboration, will try to create new industries and employment opportunities in Brunei.
Following his speech, a video presentation on BRISc projects was shown by Dr Kitamura. Later, the Deputy Minister at the PMO, researchers and guests at the event toured the facilities at the new lab.