The inaugural UK-Malaysia Education Institutional Partnership Award 2022 is a new award category supported by the British Council in partnership with the British Malaysia Chamber of Commerce as part of prestigious Business Excellence Awards this year.  This outstanding award was conceptualised to honour a UK higher or further education institution that has partnered with Malaysian organisation(s) to deliver significant impact in the last 5 years, by contributing exceptional results value-creation to the education sector in Malaysia, capitalising on the best of UK and Malaysia expertise through a seamless partnership.

This year was especially significant as the Business Excellence Awards returned after a 2-year hiatus to offer a heightened standard of recognition and honour the very best of UK and Malaysian companies, particularly those who have excelled in and contributed to the progress of the business landscape between the UK and Malaysia despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

We are delighted to announce that Lancaster University was named the winner of the inaugural UK-Malaysia Education Institutional Partnership Award 2022. Lancaster University bagged this award for their partnership with Sunway University in establishing the Future Cities Research Institute (FCRI) as well as for their multidimensional partnerships in creating jobs and encouraging knowledge transfer, which benefits both Malaysia and the UK over a longer-term. 

FCRI brings together expertise from across the disciplines of both universities, connecting with stakeholders in Malaysia, South-East Asia and across the globe. The institute has four broad themes:

  • Digital Cities – exploring new ways to exploit technology in the cities of tomorrow
  • Sustainable Cities – how to improve the lives of those living in cities and reduce the impact from urbanisation.
  • Liveable Cities – preventing disease and enhancing urban health, with a particular focus on healthy ageing.
  • Resilient Cities – making cities more resilient, agile and adaptable to climate change, natural disasters and other global challenges, e.g., pandemics.

This partnership is an excellent showcase of the UK’s priorities on climate change and contributions towards the sustainable development goals. Through strategic institutional collaborations like this, UK and Malaysia are able to contribute research excellence and expertise that can improve the lives of people in both countries in areas such as health, aging and wellbeing, environmental resilience and adaptation.  During the robust evaluation process, the Lancaster-Sunway collaboration emerged as a strong, comprehensive and holistic partnership that has long-term impact and possibilities for continued UK and Malaysia cooperation in higher education.  

Along with Lancaster University, there were 4 other UK universities shortlisted for this award with their on-going impactful collaborations with local partners in Malaysia:

  1. University of Strathclyde’s unique partnership with One Team Network funded by Newton-Ungku Omar Fund is a good example of a quadruple helix collaboration between university, industry, government and community showcasing the impacts of bridging commercial outcomes and social benefits in Malaysia and the SEA region. It aims to provide proactive solutions to Dengue outbreaks in Malaysia, focussing on Dengue-related research and products in the country.  
  2. City University of London’s partnership with University of Malaya collaborated on the new, innovative and practically-applicable solutions to the problems of landslip monitoring– a problem where climate change has made heavy rainfall incidents much more likely to occur in areas which had previously only experienced the effects of such downpours as 'once in a lifetime’ events.
  3. University of Surrey, in partnership with University Putra Malaysia established a project titled The Animal Neighbours Project (ANP) in 2019 to embark on collaborative educational and research activities as part of the UK Global Challenge scheme. ANP aims to reduce negative interaction between humans and wildlife in Malaysia which contributes to the UN SDG’s 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and 15(Life on land) through a multi-stakeholder perspective.
  4. De Montfort University, Leicester and Asia Pacific University (APU) based in Kuala Lumpur (KL), first entered into a TNE partnership in December 2017 where it supported the intention to develop a strategic framework for phased collaboration in a range of key areas including teaching, mobility, research, and corporate social responsibility.

The awards are a fantastic opportunity for British higher and further education institutions to celebrate and share their great success stories and partnership journey in Malaysia, and we look forward to celebrating more UK-Malaysia higher education partnerships that have sustainability and mutual benefit in future.