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 100 academic staff distributed among the School of Engineering and Science and the School of Business. Amongst those who teach at under- and postgraduate levels, more than 40% 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 research-active 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.
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.
Last but not least, the Curtin Sarawak Research Fund (CSRF) is an in-house seed fund that aims at encouraging staff to initiate R&D activities.
Main fields of research
The main fields of research at Curtin Sarawak currently include:
- Optimisation and Process Control
- Higher Education and Pedagogy
- Petroleum and Alternative Energies
- Entrepreneurship and Management
- Materials and Structures
- Signal Processing
- Environment and Natural Resources
- Cultural and Linguistic Studies