Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) aims to develop itself into a world class graduate training centre through its transition and efforts to become a research-intensive university in Brunei Darussalam.

At the 27th Convocation last Wednesday, a total of 20 PhD and 379 Masters candidates were conferred their certificates by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalatn, the Chancellor of UBD.

The graduate students at this year’s convocation make up 36 per cent of this year’s graduates. This figure puts up almost on par with the top universities in the world: Harvard University’s graduate students make up 40 per cent of the total student population while National University of Singapore has 39 per cent.

In becoming a research-intensive university, UBD emphasises the importance of undertaking research projects that are relevant with the needs of society and economical concerns of the country.

Research efforts at UBD are centred on five research thrusts: Biodiversity, Energy Studies, Food Security/Agro technology, Asian Studies, and Islamic Banking and Finance.

The university encourages its students to be involved in research efforts, and creates opportunities for them to collaborate and network with renowned scientists. While expanding and enhancing the quality of graduate programmes in UBD, the Graduate Research Scholarship (GRS) is also offered to outstanding students with the aim of facilitating and promoting research degrees in order to develop into a research-intensive university.

Since the beginning of its journey to become a research university in 2009, UBD has made achievements in research such as the invention of an improved system for analysing Halal content of food, finding solution for early detection of cancer biomarkers, and the invention of energy saving technologies.

As of this year, UBD has filed 33 patents for its research, 20 of which has sought for international protection. UBD now has six granted patents in total – four local patents and two international patents, one in Singapore and the other in USA.

UBD has set up research facilities and built its research networks to build a research-conducive environment for its academic staff and students. In collaboration with International Business Machine (IBM) Corporation, UBD established the UBD|IBM Centre that has become a technological hub for Regional Climate Modelling and Impacts on Rainforests, Renewable Energy, Crops and Flooding.

In addition, the university established the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies and Institute of Asian Studies that specialise in Islamic studies and Asian studies respectively. Being strategically located an Islamic country with modern values in Southeast Asia, UBD provides significant contribution in research in Islamic Studies in the Contemporary World, as well as Asian Studies.

There is also strong research network through collaborations with internationally renowned scientists, such as Professor Victor King in Asian Studies, Professor Tariq Ramadan in Islamic Studies and Professor Deborah Hughes-Hallet in Mathematics, through the university’s Eminent Visiting Professor and Visiting Appointment (EVPVA) Scheme.

UBD has worked together with premier universities around the world including Princeton University (USA), New York Botanical Gardens, Czech Academy of Sciences, Vienna University (Austria), and James Cook University (Australia). Such collaborations allow for knowledge transfer and use of facilities in partner universities.

UBD’s Research Office frequently organises research discussions among all faculties and research institutes within the university to encourage interdisciplinary research, build new ideas for research, and discuss strategies for building intellectual property and commercialisation opportunities for their studies.

Since the boost in its research efforts, UBD has seen significant increase in research publications, including those of students’. Some of UBD’s researches have been published in renowned research journals such as Nature Communications, which has an impact factor of 10.742; and Current Biology with five-year impact factor of 10.134.