13 October 2014 (Monday) – Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) researcher, Dr Sik Huei Shing, who is one of the two key researchers who had successfully developed the High Temperature Drying (HTD) system, a chemical-free wood treatment technology, has been picked to receive the IUFRO Outstanding Doctoral Research Award.
She has received the award at a ceremony to be held on 10 October in conjunction with the XXIV International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) World Congress in Salt Lake City, United States of America.
Sik joined FRIM as a contract research officer in 2001 upon graduating from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) with a Bachelor of Forestry Science degree in Wood Technology.
Working as a junior researcher, she pursued her Master’s degree on the application of HTD treatment on rubberwood lumber as a non-toxic treatment to replace the use of borates as a main preservative for the wood treatment.
Sik’s doctoral research work focused on developing a two-in-one method for rubberwood processing, eliminating the preservatives as well as accelerating the processing cycle time by over 75%. In addition, the quality of the HTD-treated lumber has been found to be generally good and has better dimensional stability compared to lumber treated using conventional methods.
IUFRO describes the extension of her doctoral research work from the development of a commercial size prototype HTD treatment system in the FRIM campus to a commercial production unit in collaboration with a local company as “a commendable effort and a proud achievement of the institution in encouraging the wood-based industries to be a part of the green community besides helping them to gain a competitive edge in the global market”.
FRIM has obtained the patent for the HTD technology from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March 2013; from Malaysia in October 2013; and from Singapore in August 2014. It has also filed for patent in five other countries, namely Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India.
The HTD technology has won numerous awards including:
- National Innovation Awards 2013 (Product Category) – Malaysia;
- Green Invention Order of Merit Award 2013 – World Inventor Award Festival – Korea; and
- Forestry Order of Merit Award 2013 – World Inventor Award Festival – Korea.
In addition, Sik had also received the FRIM Best PhD Thesis Award in 2011; and awarded the FRIM Excellent Service in 2013.
Apart from this, another FRIM researcher, Dr Lee Chai Ting, clinched the best poster award for Division 2: Physiology and Genetics at the IUFRO World Congress. The poster was on “Discovery of genic microsatellite markers from transcriptome sequences of Eurycoma longifolia root“.
Prior to this, several other FRIM researchers had also received similar recognition from IUFRO for their scientific works. They include the FRIM Director General, Dato’ Dr Abd. Latif Mohmod, who received the Scientific Achievement Award in 1995; Dr Lee Su See, the Scientific Achievement Award (2000); Dr Rahim Sudin, the Outstanding Doctoral Research Award (2000); Dr Nor Azah Mohamad Ali, the Scientific Achievement Award (2010); and Dr Tnah Lee Hong, the Student Award for Excellence in Forestry Science (2010).
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