Drive nation with STEAM

|     Azlan Othman     |

IN AN era where economies are increasingly shifting from resource-based to knowledge-based, quality of education is of prime importance. As one of the leading engineering, science and technology universities in the country, Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) has a major role to play in producing highly skilled graduates in the domains of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

This was stated by Minister of Education Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman at the official launching of the Crown Prince CIPTA Award 2019 competition at The Empire Hotel & Country Club yesterday.

“STEM graduates can drive the economic growth of a nation. At the moment, we need more student feeders with not only STEM expertise but also STEAM background to enter higher education institutions. The alphabet ‘A’ in STEAM stands for art. Incorporating art into STEM can strengthen learning and problem-solving capabilities and encourage students to think outside the box.

“It is also equally important to emphasise the need for creating a conducive environment to encourage and support the development of an idea to the point where it becomes an innovative product.

“This is where the Quadruple Helix model, the model mentioned by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in the titah delivered during the UTB Convocation 2017, should be explored and further developed,” the minister said.

“The Quadruple Helix approach, which involves interactions and strategic alliance between academia, industry, government and the community or users, can potentially stimulate innovation-based industries that can contribute to economic diversification,” he added.

“I call upon all the relevant stakeholders to work together to enhance and empower the innovation ecosystem so that our aspiration for a knowledge-based economy can be realised. In the context of CIPTA, a system of support can be created so that any idea that has commercialisation potential can be IP-protected and developed further to the point that it can be marketed.

“Continuous collaborative effort is also needed for this process to be successful. I am confident that this effort can be a catalyst for nurturing a culture of innovation in our society and make the CIPTA Award competition more attractive and impactful,” the minister noted.

Minister of Education Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman speaking during the official launching of the Crown Prince CIPTA Award 2019 competition yesterday
Minister of Education Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman at the launch of the Crown Prince CIPTA Award 2019 competition at The Empire Hotel & Country Club. – PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN

CIPTA 2019 is the eighth instalment of the biennial competition organised by UTB in partnership with Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd as the sponsor.

Also present at yesterday’s launching ceremony were Dr Haji Azman bin Ahmad, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Patrice Girard, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd who is also the Co-Chairperson of the CIPTA 2019 Executive Committee.

Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman, the Vice-Chancellor of UTB and Chairperson of the CIPTA 2019 Executive Committee in her speech said, “As an institution of higher learning, UTB has to continuously re-evaluate its strategies in order to remain relevant to the current needs.

“The fourth industrial revolution will definitely present a point of intense discussion as we embark on a new strategic plan for 2019-2023.

“One direction UTB will be heading is in the offer of new programmes and research in emerging technologies.

“Realising the impact of big data in the world today, UTB, through its School of Computing and Informatics, has recently offered a new course, Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Computing with Data Analytics. Students and staff of the university have also embarked on studying wide-ranging fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing and materials science, to name a few.

“The new industrial revolution will be about amplification and fusion of these technologies. Insya Allah, UTB is ready for the next phase of its journey,” Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah added.

The event also saw a multimedia presentation and exhibition of inventions by several previous winners of CIPTA.

The acronym CIPTA stands for Creative, Innovative Product and Technological Advancement, and it is also a Malay word meaning to create or to invent.

The aim of the competition is to encourage and develop a culture for creation, invention and innovation in Brunei Darussalam.

The theme for this year’s CIPTA Award is ‘Industry 4.0: Convergence of Innovation’, denoting the ongoing fourth industrial revolution or ‘Industry 4.0’ which is a fusion of digital, physical and biological paradigms, ie building on the digital technologies of the third industrial revolution.

The theme supports one of the strategies of Brunei Vision 2035 which is to develop a smart society and improve the quality of life of its citizens.

It aims to create the way forward for Brunei and other Asean member countries to achieve sustainable growth that is based on human capital, new technology and smart innovation.

The event also saw a technical briefing session conducted by Dr Aida Maryam binti Haji Basri from the CIPTA 2019 Technical Committee.

It was attended by prospective CIPTA participants, teachers, staff and students from various education institutions.

The briefing provided detailed explanation on the categories of competition, rules and regulations, assessment process and judging criteria.

The competition has three main categories, namely Local Categories, Smart Junior Competition and Asean Categories.

The Local Categories comprise three categories: Category 1 – Creating new product, process or technology; Category 2 – Modifying existing product, process or technology; and Category 3 for young inventors – Creating new or modifying existing product, process or technology by young inventors.

Smart Junior Competition is open to lower secondary school students within the 12-14 age group, while the Asean Categories comprise two categories: New Invention and Innovation Category; and Young Inventor Category.

Each entry will be judged based on their novelty and creativity; deployment of end product; social, economic and sustainable design considerations; and the project report and presentation.

Assessment of submitted projects will be conducted in two stages starting with the preliminary assessment. Only qualified entries will be allowed to proceed to the final assessment.

For winners of Category 1 and Category 2, the first prize will be B$6,000 cash, trophy and certificate; second prize will be B$4,000 cash, trophy and certificate; and third prize will be B$2,000 cash, a trophy and certificate. Two consolation prizes of B$500 cash and certificates will also be given.

In Category 3, first prize winner will get B$3,000 cash, trophy and certificate; second prize will be B$2,000, trophy and certificate; and third prize will be B$1,000 cash, trophy and certificate. Two consolation prizes of B$250 cash and certificates will also be given.

Meanwhile, winners in the Smart Junior Competition will receive B$1,000 cash and certificate as first prize; B$800 cash and certificate as second prize; and B$500 cash and certificate as third prize. There will also be two consolation prizes of B$200 cash and certificates.

In the Asean Categories, the winners of the New Invention and Innovation Category (Best Invention and Best Innovation) will receive B$6,000 cash and trophy while the winner of the Young Inventor Category will walk away with B$3,000 cash and trophy.

There is also a Special Award called the Crown Prince CIPTA Award and winners of the Local Categories (Category 1 and Category 2) and Asean New Invention and Innovation Category are eligible to compete for this award which carries a grand prize of B$8,000 and trophy.

The competition encompasses all areas of science, technology and engineering and is open to all schools, technical and tertiary academic institutions, government and private organisations and the general public.

With the official launching of CIPTA Award 2019, applications to all the categories are now open. The deadline for participating in the competition is October 31, 2018. More information can be obtained from www.utb.edu.bn/cipta.