Introduction to Scientific Malaysian

Scientific Malaysian is created as a platform to connect Malaysian scientific researchers across the world to discuss research issues in Malaysia, to promote collaboration and to establish network. Regardless of whether they are in the applied sciences (engineers, biomedical scientists) or pure sciences (biologists, chemists, physicists), anyone involved in research and development is welcome to join our community. Researchers and administrators from the industry are also encouraged to join and contribute ideas and viewpoints from the industrial perspective.

Missions and objectives
Our missions and objectives are:

  • To provide a platform for the Malaysian scientific community across the world to discuss general scientific and research issues,
  • To represent the voice of the Malaysian scientific community across the world,
  • To provide valuable collective ideas in hopes to improve scientific research and development in Malaysia,
  • To promote research collaborations or knowledge-sharing within the scientific community (both local and overseas Malaysian researchers) and/or with the industry,
  • To inspire and provide guidance for early stage Malaysian researchers

How did the project begin?
The idea for the Scientific Malaysian project came from the thought of finding ways for Malaysian scientific community currently studying/working abroad to contribute to the growth of research and development in Malaysia. In general, Malaysians abroad care about their home country despite being hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. They actively seek and discuss ways to improve our country among their Malaysian peers. However, many of these discussions are left without much being done.

The Scientific Malaysian website
Many brainstorming sessions later, the idea was conceived and the Scientific Malaysian website is developed. To harness the benefit of technology and social networking, the site is built around that of Facebook. However, being hosted independently of Facebook, there is more room for improvements. We have a more organised online discussion platform, a customisable web layout and flexibility on various other features (such as being able to automatically track research publication output from Malaysia).

Target audience and strategies to achieve our missions
We aim to attract memberships from any Malaysian involved in research and development, either in Malaysia or abroad. We do not restrict our members to those in pure sciences, as we do have members doing research in engineering as well. According to a report by The Star Malaysia1, there are about 20,000 Malaysians working as researchers, scientists or engineers abroad and an even larger number is expected to be working as researchers in Malaysia. Non-Malaysian researchers who are doing research in Malaysia or abroad are also welcome.

The Scientific Malaysian website will be the focal point of interaction between members. Below is an outline of the various features currently available on our website:

  • The “Forums” section, which provides a platform for discussion on various research issues in general or on-going researches in Malaysia. The forums can also be used for knowledge-sharing, whereby a researcher could seek advice from other researchers working in the same field.
  • The “Activity” section gives members a bird-eye-view of all the activities on our website. Members are also encouraged to share interesting research-related articles, videos or photos using the “Activity Updates” feature, which is similar to that of updating Facebook status.
  • The “Scientific Malaysian Magazine”, our scientific magazine that will serve as a platform for Malaysian scientific communities around the world to voice their opinions, share their experiences or stimulate discussions on various issues related to research.
  • The “Events and Conferences” section gives our members an update on the various workshops, seminars, conferences and talks taking place in Malaysia and abroad.
  • The “Research Highlight” section features publications by researchers in Malaysia and abroad.

Upcoming projects
In line with our aim to promote scientific collaborations among local Malaysian and overseas researchers, our upcoming “Project Collab” will serve as a directory for researchers to post about their research and to seek collaborations with researchers worldwide.

Malaysian researchers who would like to take part in this project should get in touch with us to be listed on our directory. Overseas researchers (both Malaysians and non-Malaysians) interested in research collaboration are also welcome. We also aim to approach various funding bodies both locally and internationally, who are interested in funding such collaborative research.

We are also currently planning to organise “Speaker’s Events”, consisting of various talks and seminars by established Malaysian scientists around the world. It is also within our plans to host a careers fair abroad in 2012 to promote Malaysian universities and scientific companies. We will soon announce these events on our website.

Concluding remarks – Building bridges
Scientific research and development in Malaysia is still lagging behind many countries, even among other third world countries. “Brain drain” is always an issue even for developed nations, and simply recruiting and bringing researchers back home is not the ideal solution, especially if the research environment is not mature enough. In fact, by bringing young and promising researchers home without being groomed adequately could backfire, stagnating their career growth and limiting their opportunities. We hope that the Scientific Malaysian project will act as the bridge, allowing promising overseas Malaysian researchers to continue their growth and contribute to Malaysia from wherever they are, by means of collaboration and knowledge-sharing with researchers and industries in Malaysia.
Visit our website: www.scientificmalaysian.com

Reference:

[1] C Kok and LS Tee (2010), “Stemming the tide and keeping our talent”, The Star 6 Feb 2010.


About the Author:

Andrew Chan is the founder of Scientific Malaysian. He obtained his degree in Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom and is currently pursuing a DPhil in Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford. He can be contacted at andrewchan[at]scientificmalaysian[dot]com.

Photos by:
Cecil Lee*
Michael Limenta
Steve Jurvetson*

*Images were obtained from Flickr.com under the Creative Commons license.

DOWNLOAD THE SCIENTIFIC MALAYSIAN MAGAZINE IN PDF HERE