3rd Governing Board Meeting15 November 2023 2023-11-15 11:53
3rd Governing Board Meeting
After five years of active collaboration, the International Consortium of Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment (CUBE) brought about new developments and outcomes from joint research and academic exchanges.
The third CUBE Governing Meeting was hosted by UBD on 13th to 15 May at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS).
At the meeting, the CUBE member universities reported on the Consortium’s milestones since its establishment in 2011, and made proposals for new initiatives in the coming years. The Meeting also saw the launching of the first CUBE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), the first of its kind to offer online modules in biodiversity and environmental studies.
This year’s Meeting also proposed potential collaborations under CUBE in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, and the environment and in the social science and policy aspects.
Among the main items on the agenda were the planning of an expedition to Bukit Teraja to study its diverse flora and fauna, joint workshops and energy projects in a biodiversity perspective.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the launching of ¡CUBE books, which featured the Consortium’s activities and research outcomes over the last five years. During the opening ceremony, Datin Hjh Anita Binurul Zahrina Abd Aziz Chairperson of CUBE and Vice-Chancellor of UBD officially launched a book titled, “Unveiling Bukit Pagon: the first CUBE Biodiversity Expedition” The book features descriptions of flora and fauna specimens observed during the Expedition in 2012. The 171-page publication is a joint initiative by Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism,
The one-week scientific expedition to Bukit Pagon was participated by 11 UBD researchers and 10 foreign researchers from CUBE member universities and two invited institutions (Yale University and Old Dominion University from U.S.A.). The expedition gathered baseline data on flora and fauna at the Bukit Pagon forest and its surrounding areas.
The CUBE Report Understanding Biodiversity and the Environment for a Sustainable Future” details ICUBE events and collaborations since 2011. A total of 134 researchers and students have collaborated under the CUBE initiatives in the past four-and-a-half years. With the close rapport and support between CUBE partner universities, iCUBE anticipates more collaboration will take place in the next 5 years.
At the launching, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Dr Hj Abdul Manaf Hj Metussin said that CUBE plays an important role to disseminate knowledge and understanding of the environment through research in a time when the environment faces global threat from overexploitation and climate 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 added, “UBD consids 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”.
Members of the Scientific Committee also delivered presentations on milestones achieved by CUBE from 2011 to 2016, which included the successes of the Gastropod Thermal Biology and Climate Change in Tropics Workshop, the Bukit Teraja Reconnaissance Trip, and UBD-Korea Social Science Workshop Collaboration.
The iCUBE Governing Board Meeting is held biennially, participated by leaders from member universities to address general policy directions, strategic planning of activities for research and education among its member universities. The GBM is represented by presidents, vice-chancellors, rectors and principals of the CUBE participating universities.
Members of the CUBE consist of University of North Carolina (UNC), Korea University (KU), University of Auckland (UA), University of Bonn (UB). Monash University (MU), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
Since its establishment in 2011, CUBE aims to promote collaborative research, disseminate knowledge and promote awareness and understanding on issues and problems related to biodiversity and the environment. A number of fruitful outcomes have resulted from collaborations among iCUBE universities such as a dual degree in biodiversity studies between UBD and Korea University, which received its first student last year.