In Sept 2007, the Ministry of Higher Education recognised the value of having senior management in the university (ie Deputy VC for Industry and Community Partnerships) to focus on and drive engagement with industry, NGOs, govt agencies and communities to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.  All of these aim to enhance and enrich the core business of the university – education, research and service.

Through this portfolio, one of the valuable platforms that drives research via public-private partnership is that of an endowed chair.  UKM’s relationship with Yayasan Sime Darby began through the creation of an endowed chair which contributes to a powerful university-industry partnership as it provides for funding which catalyses and leapfrogs the development of a critical area of knowledge.

This began in early 2010, when UKM convinced Yayasan Sime Darby of its strengths and the value of establishing a UKM-YSD endowed chair for the science of climate change.  We were eventually successful and the chair was launched in the early part of 2010.

Just after this, on the 11th February 2010, UKM together with 7 other public universities received an invitation from YSD to submit a proposal for the establishment of an endowed chair for sustainable development.   These were part of its activities to promote the conservation of the environment and the protection of ecosystems. YSD decided to cooperate with a top Malaysian university by providing financial support for the research and other relevant activities in the area of sustainable development. Several universities presented their proposals, and based on a set of evaluations, UKM was chosen with its aim to lead and direct research relevant to the palm oil industry to make Malaysia a model for sustainable development for the world.