Pm's wife inaugurates second science institute programme at New York Academy of Sciences

22 September

​NEW YORK, Sept 22 2014—The Prime Minister wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the second Science Institute Programme at the New York Academy of Sciences in the Big Apple.

Rosmah, who addressed a large gathering that included Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the second Education Minister, Ms T.C. Westcott, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the New York Academy of Sciences, Prof Datuk Asma Ismail, Director-General of Higher Education of Malaysia, and Prof Datuk Azlan Ghazali, the vice chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), recalled how she nearly two years ago stood “in this very room to witness the signing of the memorandum of agreement for collaboration between the New York Academy of Sciences and the UKM to initiate the Nobelist Mindset programme”.​

“The Nobelist Mindset programme is part of the Crade to Career initiative of the human capacity building programme in the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council, commonly known as the GSIAC,” she said.​

​The GSIAC, formed in 2010 and chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak himself, comprises key ministries, corporate leaders, academics and members of the New York Academy of Sciences President’s Council.

It pursues the objective of being the sounding board to improve and optimize Malaysia’s capabilities in the field of science and innovation as the country make that quantum leap to a high income economy and achieve the aspiration of becoming a developed nation by 2020.​

“This innovative Globelist Mindset programme is designed to promote a culture of world-class science research so necessary for adding value to the economic transformation programme.​

​It will also set us on the path articulated almost 20 years ago, towards the hard feat of winning a Nobel Prize for the nation and achieving a Nobel Prize for the nation and achieving global presence and eminence,” Rosmah said.

These objectives also fitted well with the establishment of the PERMATA Pintar programme which she initiated in 2008 in collaboration with the UKM.​

​She underscored the fact that society benefited from the high level abstract thinking and capability of gifted and talented individuals to acquire and apply advanced knowledge and strategies to solve problems, as well as to adapt them to novel situations.

“Gifted individuals need the right nurturing environment for their innate ability to be transformed into specific talents. When groomed from young, their giftedness can be optimized to surpass the highest level of performance in any given field, particularly those at the frontiers of knowledge where hope for solving problems of the 21st century is greatest,” she said, adding that the PERMATA Pintar programme provided the educated environment that ensures a holistic and full development of their potentials as top performers.​

It was thus natural that the Nobelist Mindset programme was established for top-performing talents.

“High-level educators and researchers affiliated with the New York Academy of Sciences work alongside Malaysian counterparts to instruct gifted high school students from the PERMATA Pintar Programme and other Ministry of Education schools, science teachers and outstanding young scientists from Malaysian universities on what it takes to become a prize-winning scientist,” Rosmah said.

Outlining the evolutionary progress from the signing of the MOU two years ago, Rosmah highlighted the programme’s focus on career leadership, innovative thinking and communication and field specific studies for all three groups in an interrelated manner.

After two preceding workshops held in January 2013 and, later, in September 2013, a third workshop is scheduled in November this year in Malaysia, with the programme’s important feature being the motivating interaction and personal exchanges between Nobel Laureates to in Malaysia and New York.

The participants had met Dr. James Watson of the DNA fame in New York and Sir Richard Roberts, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine at the UKM.

Rosmah described Sir Richard Roberts, who is participating in a meeting at the Science Institute this week, as a “source of inspiration” for the PERMATApintar students and young scientists in Malaysia.

The 2014 Science Institute program will be attended by 20 students, five young scientists and five teachers who have been handpicked from the pool of participants from the phase 1 workshops in Malaysia.

As patron of the PERMATA Pintar, Rosmah congratulated both the Pusat PERMATA Pintar Negara, UKM and the New York Academy of Sciences for successfully organizing this second Science Institute programme in New York.

The five-day programme would introduce the participants to the ARISE research programme at New York University Polytechnic and taken to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York’s Long Island to experiment with the DNA Bar-Coding technique.

The participants would also be able to develop and strengthen their STEM skills and learning about the STEM cultures from the scientific community in New York, besides being introduced to some of the New York culture through visits to STEM-related museums.

“I must emphasize again that this is an opportunity that knocks only once on your door,” she added, reminding the participants to bring back those learning experiences to Malaysia to be shared with others and enable more people to benefit from their experiences.

Rosmah said that the PERMATA Pintar students and teachers who came back from the first programme “were so inspired by Dr Watson’s work in molecular biology and genetics that they proposed a Genome to Space project to the PERMATA Foundation, of which I am the chairperson”.

The Foundation is setting up a bar coding laboratory at Pusat PERMATA Pintar Negara at the UKM to help students, teachers and young scientists pursue more research in DNA sequencing, to develop STEM related skills and increase their interest in STEM related research. – PMO Website

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