UKM Abuzz over KITA’s Funding From World’s Biggest Aerospace Company
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Izwan Azman
BANGI, 3 April 2015 – The National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) has become a beneficiary of one of the world’s largest Aerospace corporations, Airbus.
KITA Principal Fellow Prof Dato’ Dr Teo Kok Seong said following a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed recently UKM’s researchers have received funding for testing a virtual reality training system for the aerospace industry from the psychological and anthropological perspective.
Speaking at a presentation of new ideas and innovations from researchers here on March 26, he attributed the success for getting the endowment to long-time KITA Director Distinguished Prof Dato’ Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin’s efforts in promoting UKM’s research in anthropology and psychology among European companies.
The success, he explained, showed that KITA’s venture into international research and the setting up of a laboratory of Anthropology cum Technology, or Anthropotechnology, has yielded dividends.
However, he declined to say how much the endowment was worth.
Prof Teo described Anthropotechnology as two percepts: technology is always culturally-conditioned, and every production unit is a socio-technical system.
KITA is conducting Anthropotechnology research through Antropotek, a new breed of consultancy to help companies to improve products’ design and Human Resources strategies, using insight rooted in social science.
He stated that the key concept of Anthropotechnology is either adjusting the technology to adapt to its users, or the users have to change to suit the technology.
Prospective customers can expect Antropotek to design new products and services, and Human resources management.
For products and services design, a typical job would be a pre-design survey where Antropotek incorporates the concept of localized diversity into the design and functionalities of the product or service, in order to increase its marketability to the targeted customer base.
For Human Resources management, Antropotek focuses on job suitability and performance at work.
Prof Teo said Antropotek does not intervene on technical skills, but works on the set values, personality profile and individuals’ socialisation paths for the workforce to bridge gaps between corporate objectives and individuals’ expectations.
As for KITA, Prof Teo said all research findings by its members are frequently shared through seminars and publications.
“We are ever willing to work with friends of similar interests from any parts of the globe for the benefit of our civilization. We welcome suggestion, mutual research, networking and collaboration for the development of intellectual discourse and social cohesion purposes,” he explained.
There were five speakers at the Ideas discussion, with presentations ranging from how to get along at work, to ways of cutting cost in dental treatment.
Among them was the Tun Fatimah Hashim’s Women’s Leadership Centre Director, Assoc Prof Dr Madeline Berma, who spoke about the restructuring of her organisation.