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Oxford researcher meets with the Higher Education Youth Association (HEYA) in the context of promoting knowledge exchange

From left to right: Ms Ying Ying Lim; Ms Shiamala Thambirajah; Mr Ching Sheng Lim; Dr Eleni Iacovidou; Dr Kok Siew Ng; Mr Tze Howe Ooi; Mr Fan Jie Chen; Mr Wei Kiat Tan.

Dr Kok Siew Ng and Dr Eleni Iacovidou in collaboration with the Founder and President of the Higher Education Youth Association (HEYA), Mr Tze Howe Ooi, organised a knowledge exchange session for the young professionals, held at Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

HEYA is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Malaysia focusing on the transformation of youth to elite. HEYA provides training in order to help young graduates enhance their abilities and critical thinking skills to excel in leadership via professional capacity building, global governance awareness and participatory fieldwork. The knowledge exchange session, formed by a group of eight, focused on exchanging ideas on environmental sustainability and ways of improving the quality of research and teaching in higher education in Malaysia.

Dr Ng says, “The discussion was highly interactive and we have managed to generate several key takeaways. We are also looking forward to collaborating with HEYA in the areas of education and sustainability.” Mr Ooi found the outcomes of the discussion to be very constructive. He explained that the conversation and insights provided by Dr Ng and Dr Iacovidou made them realise even more the importance of integrating sustainability within the education system. He suggested that sustainability should be an important element to be added to the draft policies they are preparing for the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia.    


The SYNERGORS project (“A systems approach to synergistic utilisation of secondary organic streams”), funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is led by Dr Kok Siew Ng from the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. This project aims to develop new systems approaches and decision-making tools for promoting resource recovery from secondary organic waste streams including fossil- (e.g. used plastics) and biomass-derived waste (e.g. food waste, residual biomass).

SYNERGORS will provide significant insights into various options for organic waste reduction and utilisation, and propose viable business models to attract stakeholders in the commercial sectors to invest in these areas. Furthermore, the research will address various socio-environmental challenges faced by human and living communities, the rising global demands in energy and commodities, and lessening burdens on the landfill, water and atmosphere.

It is envisaged that the outcomes from this project (e.g. decision-making tool and roadmap) can be adopted in the UK and other developing countries in improving the policies and practices in relation to organic waste management. The objectives of the project are well aligned with the UK Industrial Strategy in enhancing resource efficiency while achieving a sustainable industrial growth and a more resilient economy. The project has received support from a number of UK and international organisations (academia, industry and government), providing multidisciplinary expertise to address the global challenges in waste management.


Dr Ng would like to express his gratitude to the NERC (now part of UKRI) for their invaluable support for this initiative. The British Council is also acknowledged as initial collaboration between the UK and Malaysia was first established through Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop. The current fellowship project funded by NERC has enabled further collaboration to be sustained for the next few years.

Dr Ng would also like to thank Professor Ir. Dr. Denny KS Ng (Associate Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia), Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Wan Azlina bt. Wan Abdul Karim Ghani (Director of Sustainable Process Engineering Research Centre - SPERC, UPM) and Mr Tze Howe Ooi (President of Higher Education Youth Association - HEYA) for arranging the meetings and visits in Malaysia.

Further information

Please contact Dr Kok Siew Ng ( if you are interested in learning more about the project.