iCube launches Bukit Pagon book

National 3 minutes, 33 seconds


THE International Consortium of Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment (iCUBE) launched its Bukit Pagon coffee table book, iCUBE report and iCUBE exhibition at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB HIS) yesterday.

The 171-page publication is a joint initiative by Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, and carries the title Unveiling Bukit Pagon: the first iCUBE Biodiversity Expedition.

It showcases the biodiversity and ecosystem of Bukit Pagon as observed by researchers during their Bukit Pagon expedition held in 2012.

In a press statement, UBD said a total of 21 researchers, comprising ten foreign researchers from iCUBE member universities (University of Auckland, Monash University, King’s College London, Korea University) as well as two invited institutions from the United States of America (Yale University and Old Dominion University) and 11 UBD researchers took part in a one-week scientific expedition to Bukit Pagon on July 2 to 9, 2012.

The expedition gathered baseline data on flora and fauna at the Bukit Pagon forest and its surrounding areas.

The book launching was held on the sidelines of a two-day closed door meeting for the iCUBE 3rd Governing Board Meeting that began Friday.

The meeting discussed iCUBE key initiatives from 2014-2016, existing and future bilateral or multilateral cooperation under iCUBE in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, environment and in social sciences as well as policy aspects.

The meeting also deliberated new iCUBE initiatives such as the first iCUBE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform that was launched yesterday.

The platform is the first of its kind to offer MOOC modules extensively in the fields of biodiversity and environmental studies.

Meanwhile, the iCUBE report contains iCUBE events and collaborations from the last five years since its establishment in 2011.

The report aimed to further disseminate and share the findings of the iCUBE activities.

A total of 134 researchers and students have collaborated under iCUBE initiatives in the past four and a half years.

With the close rapport and support between iCUBE partner universities, iCUBE anticipates more collaboration to take place in the next five years, said UBD in a press statement.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Dr Hj Abdul Manaf Hj Mestussin, in his speech at the book launching ceremony, said as iCUBE enters its fifth year, the consortium can be proud of its achievement in research and teaching in the core areas of biodiversity and environment in a time of great global upheaval and change.

“Knowledge and understanding of the key issues and challenges in biodiversity conservation are crucial to enable informed decisions to be made and to benefit from nature’s wealth,” he said.

He said he was confident that the governing board meeting will pave the way for more cross-institutional collaboration which will enhance people’s ability to study and protect the environment for the next generation.

He added, “UBD considers biodiversity and environment conservation a very important research thrust and it continues to prioritise research on biodiversity and the environment, and to actively seek out collaborative partnerships with like-minded institutions abroad”.

The permanent secretary also spoke about the successful implementation of the Dual Degree Programme between UBD and Korea University as the first of such programme offered under the iCUBE initiative.

“Some of our own students are currently in Korea University pursuing postgraduate studies under the auspices of iCUBE. I have no doubt that other members of iCUBE too will create such collaborative programmes to further strengthen links among the iCUBE partner universities,” he said.

Dr Hj Abdul Manaf believed that multidisciplinary fundamental work, conducted in the broad areas of biodiversity and environment among the partners in iCUBE, will lay a solid foundation for future innovations, linking industry partners and entrepreneurial skills among the young generation.

Set up in 2011, iCUBE aims to promote collaborative research, disseminate knowledge and promote awareness and understanding on issues and problems related to biodiversity and the environment.

It comprises a group of eight research universities who are committed to research and education on biodiversity, climate change and the environment.

The universities are King’s College London, Korea University, Monash University, National University of Singapore, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, University of Auckland, University of Bonn and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


The Brunei Times