Five young Malaysians will receive the prestigious Merdeka Award Grant for 2019 to pursue attachments for their research.
The recipients are Dr Mohd Azri Ab Rani, 35, Juliana Ooi Sue May, 34, Dr Yanny Marliana Baba Ismail, 33, Feng Ying Xing, 29 and Chrishen R. Gomez, 25.
The Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah who is also the Royal Patron of the Merdeka Award Trust presented the Grant certificates to the recipients at an announcement ceremony last week.
Recipient Dr Mohd Azri Ab Rani, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, plans to continue his research which focuses on batteries for the future at Oxford University
“My research intends to make the chemicals and related applications both environmentally and economically sustainable. I also intend to focus on producing batteries that are low cost as well as reduce accidents caused by conventional solvents in existing batteries,” he added.
Pursuing a social enterprise project in reproductive and social health, Juliana Ooi, aims to produce a tool kit to assist young parents in educating their children on social health.
“The use of this tool kit is to help young parents engage in active parenting to help their children learn survival and life skills especially in terms of reproductive and social health,” said Ooi who plans to do her attachment at the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong and also Switzerland
A lecturer at the School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dr Yanny Marliana will be pursuing her attachment at Nottingham Trent University, UK.
“My research concentrates on smart material that will speed up bone healing. People suffering from bone fracture will be able to quickly recover using the smart material that is fabricated in-house,” she added.
For Feng Ying Xing, a post-doctoral at the Centre for Intelligent Signal and Imaging Research (CISIR), Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, he plans to do his attachment with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.
“I aim to predict cognitive performance at work and the influence workload and stress level from fNIRs (a non-invasive imaging method) haemodynamic measurements and physiological body signals. With the results of my research, I want to develop a deep-learning model that could improve cognitive performance.”
Project research manager at the Borneo Carnivore Programme, Chrishen R. Gomez aims to undertake a conservative genetics research fellowship for the development of long-term genetics of the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) at Brown University, USA.
“This research involves using genetic tools to study threats and the conservation status of the least studied animals on the planet. The use of molecular data is only in its infancy for conservation research in Malaysia,’’ he said.
To date, a total of 14 young Malaysians have been selected for the Grant with 11 of them having completed their international attachments. Three recipients who received the Grant in 2018 will be pursuing their attachments later this year.