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Alumni News: PNB Group Innovation Challenge 2017

last modified Nov 17, 2017 10:38 AM
Dr. Su Shiung Lam
Alumni News: PNB Group Innovation Challenge 2017

The CCM Polymers Team. From Left: Dr. Khew (the ‘Head Coach’), Syaidatul Atiqah Sazalee, Zunaidah Zahudi, Swan Yia Choy (the key ‘Presenter’), and Dr. Lam (the ‘Associate Coach’).

Winner of PNB Group Innovation Challenge 2017:  the University@Industry Collaboration between CCM Polymers and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Su Shiung Lam (Universiti Malaysia Terengganu) under the CEO@FACULTY 2.0 Programme sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia

Dr Mei Ching Khew (Chief Executive Officer of CCM Polymers) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Su Shiung Lam (an alumnus of this Department) have recently led an industrial research team from CCM Polymers (one of the main subsidiary companies of the Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad (CCM)) to be one of the winners of the PNB Group Innovation Challenge 2017 - an annual Innovation Competition judged by CEOs of 10 companies within the PNB group. Pemodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), or the National Equity Corporation, is a premier investment organisation in Malaysia with a diversified portfolio ranging from asset management, unit trusts, institutional property trusts to property management. The competition took place on 1 Nov 2017 and focused on Idea Pitching for the first time.

An award of RM 12,000 was given to each of the 6 Winners selected from the 26 innovations shortlisted for the final round of competition. In addition, the senior management of CCM has promised to further honour this achievement with an internal research grant (a sum of RM100,000 is proposed) to conceptualise and develop the innovative idea leading to commercialisation. This research grant will be used as a start-up R&D fund to develop a potentially 'disruptive' technology/product for the polymer industry via a long-term collaboration between CCM Polymers and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT). The collaboration involves a 3-year commitment between CCM Polymers and UMT for joint R&D and commercialisation through matching grants.

Dr. Lam, an Associate Professor of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, is currently attached as a ‘CEO@Faculty 2.0 Fellow’ to both the Managing Director of CCM (Mr Leonard Ariff) and the CEO of CCM Polymers (Dr. Khew) under a programme called ‘CEO Faculty 2.0’ – a major initiative by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia to enhance exposure of university lecturers to industry in order to promote university-industry collaboration. The CEO Faculty 2.0 programme has been implemented with the slogan of ‘Coached by the PROs’ that involves a 6-month placement of the young academician with CEOs of Multinational Corporation (MNC) and Government-linked Company (GLC) plus leadership training by the Malaysia Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT).

Lam said, "The research idea was introduced to me by Mr Ariff (MD of CCM) during the first week of my placement in which he took me on a business trip to South Korea to meet and seek guidance from a South Korean professor who had successfully transformed his research into ‘commercialization’. The trip to South Korea was indeed an eye opener to me and particularly exposed me to the overview and practical insights of how commercialisation should be approached by university from the industry angle".

Lam added, "After coming back from South Korea, I was assigned to Dr Khew of CCM Polymers who became my second mentor. Dr. Khew and I then started to work out the plan, structure, and strategy for our project. Our initial strategy was to test the idea by competing in the PNB Group Innovation Challenge 2017. The winning of the competition was the result of idea brainstorming, planning, literature searches, data collection, discussions, refinement, rehearsal, evaluation, further refinements and improvements after feedback from all the heads of department of the company. As a result of this win and my active involvement in this project from the beginning, this project now becomes one of the long-term commitments to CCM Polymers that I have discussed and made to Dr. Khew."

The experience described above indicates that the CEO Faculty 2.0 programme has successfully provided a platform for establishing a long-term university-industry collaboration that results in the strengthening of the linkage between university and industry via joint R&D and subsequent commercialisation of the resultant products.

Su Shiung Lam (also known as ‘Can Lam’) completed his PhD in this department under the supervision of Professor Howard Chase. Professor Chase was previously Head of this department and is now an Emeritus Professor.

Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad (CCM) has a remarkable corporate presence in Malaysia that has grown significantly over 50 years. Listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia (the Malaysian Stock Exchange), CCM is committed to provide sustainable solutions based on innovative sciences to the healthcare and manufacturing sectors with a vision to further enhancing quality of life for all. The core business activities include pharmaceuticals and healthcare products, chemical products, and polymer coatings.


Group photo of Associate Professor Dr. Su Shiung Lam as CEO@Faculty 2.0 Fellow from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (2nd from left), Dr. Mei Ching Khew as CEO of CCM Polymers (3rd from left), CCM Polymers Team as the Winning team, Mr. Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar as Group Managing Director of CCM Berhad (Middle), and the Senior Management of CCM.