KUCHING: The Sarawak government has committed a sum of RM200 million for the construction of the Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC), a world-class biomedical research facility equipped with a BSL3 laboratory.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Sarawak government wanted to make an impact in biomedical research through the centre.
“SIDC will be embarking on an intensive research and development, and human capital development programme in the area of disease surveillance, diagnostics, therapeutic discovery and vaccine development, and data analytics.
“The programme will see close partnership between SIDC and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Imperial College London, Oxford University and Monash University (Malaysia).
“For that, the Sarawak government has agreed to commit RM8 million for SIDC to initiate various research and human development programmes that will enable the centre to be operational by December 2024,” he said.
He was speaking at the official launch of the 1st Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) Research And Development Symposium 2022 at UCSI Hotel, here today.
He said the state was creating job opportunities to encourage Sarawakian scientists abroad to return and contribute to the development of the biomedical industry in the state, so that Sarawak would be prepared to face the next pandemic and be ready to respond to other infectious disease threats, both foreign and domestic.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari who is also the chairman of SRDC, said the state government through the SRDC would work towards creating a vibrant and competitive research and development ecosystem in Sarawak by setting aside funds to benefit the Sarawak economy, create more jobs, and make the state more competitive.
“Over the last two years, we have provided research support to the universities and research agencies in Sarawak, besides facilitating their engagement with international and local networks.
“A total of RM13 million was disbursed to the many research agencies, universities to stimulate innovative research with the aim of producing talents and outcomes that can be commercialised,” he added.
SRDC general manager Dr Peter Morin Nissom said more than 200 scientists, academics and industry partners would contribute their expertise and ideas at the symposium.
“This symposium presents a platform for the Sarawak Research and Development Council’s research projects to showcase their projects and provide a forum to discuss researches that will benefit the community and the economy.