Limited research jobs stemming further studies
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI’s small job market in the research field is limiting the number of biodiversity students from furthering their studies at postgraduate level in Brunei.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, a Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) associate professor, Dr Ferry Slik, said that factors such as the ease of getting a study stipend, research funding availability and better prospects abroad also contribute to the low number of postgraduate students.
“Every year we have a large group of students that study the forests of Brunei for their (undergraduate) degrees but very few continue into MSc and subsequently, PhD studies,” he said.
“The problem here may be that Brunei is a small country and just does not have that many jobs available in this field of research so many of these biodiversity experts end up in jobs unrelated to their actual specialisation.”
Dr Slik said that Brunei certainly does not lack experts in the field of biodiversity and that the knowledge in biodiversity can be used for more than just scientific purposes.
“I do not think Brunei lacks (local expertise) as every year many biology students graduate in Bruneian biodiversity at UBD,” he said.
He stressed that graduates in the field are crucial in realising a green and smart future for the sultanate.
“I think it is important for students to realise that studying biology and the local environment is not only useful to become a biologist but essential in developing a green and smart future where there are many possibilities for developing entrepreneurial ideas that make use of knowledge of the natural world,” he said.
He said that people with a background in biology are also central to the efforts of driving innovation in technologies that alleviates the global environmental crisis.
Dr Slik and a fellow UBD colleague, Senior Assistant Professor Dr Rahayu Sukmaria Hj Sukri, recently took part in a joint research between UBD and a team from the Seoul National University (SNU) to study the diversity in the soil covers of Brunei’s forests for the first time.
The findings of the study showed that the array of microbes and bacteria in the soil of white sand and peat forests were just as diverse as the microbes and bacteria in the soil of rainforests which has a wide array of different types of plants.
The Brunei Times