Joint study to take biodiversity research to next level

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KUCHING: Local researchers will be working with Japanese experts to, among other things, explore the intellectual use of biodiversity under a five-year joint project in the state.

Satreps-Pubs will be a platform for Sarawakian researchers to develop and enhance their research capability with the aid of these experts using high tech equipment, said Forest Department Sarawak director Datuk Hamden Mohammad.

He said the total cost for the five-year implementation of the project which will run until 2026 is expected to be around RM17 million.

It will cover a wide variety of fields of study and is an opportunity for capacity building especially for young researchers in the state, he added.

“This can be achieved through attachment or training either in Japan or locally; transferring of technology; or continuing their studies for masters and PhD in universities locally or in Japan,” he said in his speech read by his deputy, Jack Liam at the opening of the Satreps-Pubs Workshop at a hotel, here on Tuesday (Nov 16).

Satreps stands for Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development.

It is a collaboration between the Sarawak government and three Japanese agencies, namely the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jics) and Kyoto University.

Hamden said the main purpose of the project was to strengthen the function of protected areas, including the intellectual use of biodiversity as a result of collaboration across research, government and private sectors in the management of protected areas in Sarawak.

Under the project, he said state-of-the-art equipment would also be procured for research and development purposes.

“Among the pieces of equipment are two units of next-generation sequencers and one 3-D scanner. These will be delivered to Sarawak soon.

“We are also in the process of procuring four units of microscopes, four units of deep freezers and one computer to be attached with the 3-D scanner,” he explained.

He added that the project would also aid the state in developing basic infrastructure for scientific research.

“Apart from that, this project will also help to train local researchers through a transfer of technology and knowledge of DNA sequencing analysis, manage our biological specimens through enhancement of databases, upgrade protected area management systems using advanced scientific data and recommend policies for management of protected areas in Sarawak,” said Hamden.

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