Universiti Sains Malayasia (USM) will start offering the Master and Doctor of Neuroscience degrees with its first intake of eight candidates this year. Over the next five years, this is expected to reach a total of 36 thus making the USM as the first institution of higher education do so in Southeast Asia.
This was announced by the Vice-Chancellor of USM, Assoc. Dato 'Dr. Omar Osman, at the opening of Brain Awareness Week.
"We will continue to change the status of graduate students who excel in this field to the Neuroscience doctoral candidate if the candidate's excellence meets the needs of academics and researchers in the field of brain science," said Omar.
The program contains a mixture of research methods and aims to produce people who have expertise not only in academic study but also research.
"On average, to produce a degree and doctoral program it requires at least 30 experts in various disciplines to ensure that it fully meets the standards," said Omar.
Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Jafri Malin Dato 'Hj Abdullah, Head of Neuroscience USM, said the country needed a total of 18 scientists in the field of neuroscience for every 100,000 workers. At this time USM, for example, only produces medical neurologist and neuro surgeons. Neuro scientists are urgently needed to mobilize efforts and research in the field, especially to study brain diseases and health in a creative and innovative way.
"USM needs to build capacity in this field and with expertise in various fields here, it is appropriate for us to lead the way and of course we will welcome this effort," said Jafri.
Omar also urged all parties to cooperate with USM including schools. USM is in collaboration with a number of schools through the establishment of Neuroscience Club and organizing various programs that boost student success. This has made significant progress, as demonstrated in the test increase their success more than 80%.
"As such, USM agreed to add another RM2 million from the original allocation by the Ministry of Higher Education of RM2 million to RM4 million for the purpose of developing neuroscience programs as part of the Accelerated Program for Excellence (APEX)," he said.
More than 300 students and teachers from several schools around the state of Kelantan attended the event. Also present was the Director of USM's Health Campus, USM, Assoc. Dato 'Mohamad Mafauzy.