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Newton Prize 2017 for Malaysia awarded to University of Cambridge and University of Malaya

last modified Mar 29, 2018 03:19 PM
Newton Prize 2017 for Malaysia awarded to University of Cambridge and University of Malaya

Jim Al-Khalili introducing Professor Lisa Hall (click on the image to see larger version)

The Newton Fund was established in 2014 with the aim of promoting the economic development and social welfare of the 18 partner countries by using science and innovation. It is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) under Section 1 of the International Development Act 2002. Each year, from 2017 to 2021, a minimum of five Newton funded projects will be awarded the Newton Prize, which is worth up to £200,000, to further develop the research.

The first and only prize winner in Malaysia for 2017 was awarded to the ground-breaking project, titled ‘Integrating Algal Biophotovoltaics for Bioelectricity   Production with Agro-industrial Wastewater Remediation using Tropical Algae’. 

Biophotovoltaic Devices
This project is a collaboration between Professor Phang Siew Moi’s team at the Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya and Dr Adrian Fisher and Dr Kamran Yunus at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge.  The project successfully developed an integrated microbial fuel cell prototype using tropical algae from wastewater. This new innovation represents a blueprint that aims to meet the demands for sustainable energy and cleaner wastewater in rural areas such as Sabah and Sarawak.

The Newton Prize winner was announced on Tuesday 28 November 2017 in Malaysia. The British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Vicki Treadell and Malaysia’s Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid presented the award to Professor Phang Siew Moi, who also accepted the award on behalf of her UK collaborators.

A Newton Prize reception, hosted by Rt Hon Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, was held in London on 4 December 2017.  The Minister was joined by the Chair of the Newton Prize Committee, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan (President of the Royal Society and Nobel Laureate) and Jim Al-Khalili OBE, scientist and BBC broadcaster.  Professor Lisa Hall attended the reception on behalf of the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology.

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