UKM-YSD Chair for Sustainability

 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia





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.


The name of endowed chair is UKM – YSD Chair for Sustainable Development – Zero Waste Technology. UKM was selected based on the comprehensiveness of the proposal presented – an integration of future and available technologies and the current as well as future requirement of palm oil industry. 


Agreement on the endowment chair between UKM and YSD was signed on December 21, 2010. The value of the endowment for the Chair is RM15 million. An endowed chair is managed as an endowment (donation) to provide for Sustainable Funding for a long period of time in the future.  The endowment money will be invested

and returns from the investment will be used to finance the Chair holder (a renowned expert),

supporting staffs and researchers.

Mission of The Chair

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The research will be conducted collaboratively, not only among UKM and Sime Darby researchers, but with researches from local research institutes and universities such as the Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), University of Nottingham Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) and international institutions such as the Wageningen UR, in the Netherlands, an institute well known for research in converting biomass to valuable products. This collaboration creates a consortium of Malaysian intellectuals with global outlooks.

Roles of UKM and Sime Darby

Both UKM and Sime Darby work collaboratively as a team where;

UKM provides intellectual and theoretical inputs in the relevant areas of research; national and international networks of researchers and research funds, fundemental research infrastructure and inflow of students and researhers for capacity building.

Sime Darby, through Yayasan Sime Darby and Sime Darby Plantations provides funds for the Chair and R&D activities, direction of research relevant to the industry, industrial R&D experience and networks, infrastructure and expertise for commercialization.

Impacts and Benefits


The renowned expert holding the Chair will be appointed for a 2-3 year term with the main function of catalyzing and leapfrogging researches related to the mission of the Chair. The chair holder will also be responsible to solicit external research funds, assist and encourage publication while protecting intellectual properties and to foster R&D collaboration and commercialisation.

Dr.P.A.M Pieternal Claassen

First Chair Holder (2012 – 2014)

Prof Shu-Yii Wu

Second Chair Holder ( 2015 – 2011`)