– UMBI as HICoE
The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) introduced the concept of Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICOE) in addition to the existing programme of recognizing 4 (now 5) Research Universities namely UKM, UM, USM and UPM. In 2008, more than 150 institutes submitted their ‘entries’ and documentation to the MOHE. A stringent screening process shortlisted the list to 30 institutes and teams of auditors performed a comprehensive assessment visit on each of the candidate institutes. UMBI was audited a team of 6 panel members on the 2nd of June 2008. On the 30th of October 2009, the steering committee finally approved only 6 institutes from all over the country to be given the status of a HICOE. UMBI created history by being the only institute from UKM to be recognized as a HiCOE.
The certificate for the HICOE status was officially awarded by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak at a special ceremony held at the Dewan Perdana, Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) on the 1st of April 2010.
For the HICOE programme, UMBI proposed to conduct research on cancer biomarkers focusing on gliomas (brain cancer) and colorectal cancer. MOHE pledged to give RM3 million each year for 3 years. For this research programme (still ongoing), we have 13 MSc students and 4 PhD students working on 17 different projects. We have already published a paper in Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Q1 and IF 5.7) and another in PLOS One (Q1 and IF 4.3). We have also submitted a 19-gene panel called ColoPREDICT, which is able to predict poor prognosis and good prognosis patients with colorectal cancers, for patent registration.
UKM and UMBI are very proud of the recognition as a HICOE. We hope it will provide the impetus for us to raise our performance and show the quality research output as a regional centre of excellence.