Malaysia's oldest university is looking to intensify its collaboration with Singapore universities in scientific research, with an eye on raising its profile in the world's top-tier academic journals.
Such joint efforts would build on the long-standing ties Universiti Malaya (UM) has with Singapore's oldest university, the National University of Singapore (NUS), both of which share a common past that goes all the way back to 1905.
These plans were presented to President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday, the second day of his state visit to Malaysia, where he also witnessed Malaysians and Singaporeans working hand in hand in education, business and culture.
The UM's greater collaboration with Singapore researchers hinges on a Malaysian government-funded scheme called High Impact Research (HIR), which aims to propel UM into the world's top 100 universities by 2015.
Today, some 10 per cent of the HIR's 192 projects involve Singapore institutions such as NUS, the Genome Institute of Singapore and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, in areas like cancer and HIV/Aids.
The plan is to raise it to 20 per cent, said the HIR's consultant, Emeritus Professor Lam Sai Kit, during the visit by Dr Tan, who is also the chancellor of NUS.
The President's UM visit comes a day after he highlighted the close relations between NUS and UM as an example of how Singapore and Malaysia should continually nurture their historical ties. He made the point at a state banquet on Wednesday, the start of his three-day state visit.
Picking up on the theme yesterday, UM vice-chancellor Ghauth Jasmon said Dr Tan's visit signifies the nations' close ties and hoped it would herald even closer links between UM and universities in Singapore.