In 1998, Curtin University of Technology was invited by the Sarawak Government to open an offshore campus in Miri, the largest town in northern Sarawak. From the very beginning, Curtin made it clear that its Sarawak Campus would become a comprehensive university campus. In particular, Prof. Paul Rossiter, Curtin's Deputy Vice Chancellor of R&D stated: 'If Curtin Sarawak is to become a University and not just a teaching institution it will be essential that it establishes a leading research presence in at least a limited number of fields. Today, Curtin Sarawak Campus has an R&D portfolio that reflects the mission of the campus, by focusing on programs of research that are relevant to Sarawak and Malaysia.
By providing an environment that encourages
investigation, Curtin Sarawak has been successful in attracting world-class
researchers. Curtin Sarawak currently counts around 130 academic staff
distributed among the School of Engineering and Science, the School of
Business as well as Foundation Studies. A total of 111 academic are teaching
at under- and postgraduate levels, of which more than 52% are PhD-holders.
All staff have access to financial support for conference attendance as well as seed funding for new research projects. For junior staff, the opportunities to acquire skills necessary to the performance of R&D are presented in the form of staff study support as well as continuous staff development activities, such as seminars and workshops.
Through a combination of selective hiring criteria and staff development activities, the number of researchers at Curtin Sarawak Campus has steadily increased over the past years. To date, over 80% of all academic staff teaching at the degree level are involved in some form of research and this number is expected to increase further in the near future.
Detailed information on the academic qualifications of Curtin Sarawak's staff can be obtained through the respective Schools.
In August 2003, Curtin Sarawak became the first international university
in Malaysia to be entitled to access the prestigious IRPA grants
("Intensification for Research in Priority Areas") of
the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment. The Malaysian
Government has allocated a total of RM1,000,000,000 to IRPA, for
the period ranging from 2001-2005.
In December 2004, researchers at Curtin Sarawak were awarded their first IRPA grant.
In addition to sources of funding from the Federal Government, Curtin Sarawak has also access to funds from the Sarawak State Government as well as from various industrial partners.
Curtin Sarawak also provides internal funds to encourage staff to initiate R&D activities. The grants available are the Curtin Sarawak Research Fund (CSRF), the Curtin Sarawak Collaborative Research Fund (CSCRF) and the Curtin Sarawak Research Clusters Fund (CSRCF)
Main fields of research
The main fields of research at Curtin Sarawak currently include:
- Soft Soil Centre
- SECOM - Center for Sustainable Energy and Communication
- Palm Oil Research
- Parallel computing and GIS applications
- Geopolymer Concrete Research
- Entrepreneurship in Sarawak
- Cultural Approaches to Teaching and Learning
- Media Studies