UNIVERSITI Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) was established by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) in 1997 in response to a clarion call by the government to open a private university to support nation-building.
Since then, UNITEN has been at the forefront of energy research, leveraging TNB’s solid industry experience — from power generation to transmission and distribution.
UNITEN is fully-owned by TNB, the largest power company in Southeast Asia, and is committed to cutting-edge research as it gears towards becoming a globally-competitive university in the field.
Vice-Chancellor Datuk Professor Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha said UNITEN’s strength and capacity have soared to great heights due to the visionary plans of TNB, past university leaders and current administration.
Over the years, the university has progressed by leaps and bounds, with emphasis on building infrastructure and state of the art facilities in the first decade of its establishment.
UNITEN has produced 26,000 graduates from its diploma, degree and post-graduate programmes. Some have become industry leaders and experts in their fields. Their employability rate is always between 95 and 97 per cent after six months upon completion of studies.
In pursuit of excellence, Kamal said UNITEN has undertaken three key strategic plans since 2007, which are UNITEN10, W15E and BOLD2025. Its Strategic Direction 2010-2025 includes becoming a leading Malaysian university by 2010, a research-led university by 2015, and a leading global energy university by 2025.
BOLD2025 — driven for success
As UNITEN values its stakeholders, their feedback were considered when the BOLD2025 plan, which stands for “Building Opportunities, Living Dreams 2025”, was launched in September last year.
“We have identified three goals, which are research excellence, teaching and learning excellence, and financial sustainability”.
Kamal said with good plans in place, UNITEN will be able to achieve the Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HiCOE) status in energy security.
“Education encompasses vast knowledge. If you are interested in energy domain, we are the university of choice,” he said.
UNITEN’s research covers a wide spectrum — from energy economics, market and regulatory policy; to green, sustainable and renewable energy; energy storage; smart grid technologies and future power networks; cyber security; big data analytics and infrastructure.
The university’s 2016-2020 Research Roadmap is designed to meet the needs of TNB and the nation, in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education), the National R&D Framework and the National Key Result Areas of the Government Transformation Programme.
In line with the National Education Philosophy, research projects are also backed by a culture of excellence in teaching and learning.
UNITEN has implemented a blended learning approach, which combines technology and face-to-face learning. Students will have access to online resources for research, and modern academic facilities are designed to maximise their interaction with lecturers using problem-based learning and project settings.
To facilitate this, the campus Internet speed will be upgraded to 10Gbps, which will make it one of the fastest in the country.
Kamal said students should explore ideas, concepts and theories to train themselves to become
problem-solvers and industry-ready graduates.
Funding and commercialisation
Between 2010 and last year, UNITEN had received about RM120 million in grants from various sources, including government agencies. TNB, being the parent company, is the biggest contributor from the private sector.
The BOLD2025 research excellence goal has also driven UNITEN towards commercialising its projects.
“We have filed patents for intellectual properties, and have patented technologies like the ‘Automatic Rack-In & Rack-Out System (RIRO)’ and production of water hyacinth charcoal from plants that grow in TNB dams,” said Kamal.
The university is a staunch supporter of a green environment. It is embarking on a Smart Campus project within its grounds through consolidated efforts with TNB.
The focus is to reduce its carbon footprint, generate power for its own use and improve campus life by integrating the latest technologies into the students’ lifestyle.
Kamal said integrated mobile apps will be created to provide class schedules, display academic standings and keep attendance. An E-wallet that provides safe and convenient business transactions will be introduced.
A smart mobility system will enable students to track the campus’ shuttle buses and get to class on time, while those who drive can obtain information on parking spaces for their vehicles. Buildings will be incorporated with a smart energy management system to utilise power efficiently, and it will be generated using renewable sources, such as solar PV and biomass. Energy dashboards will provide students with interactive information on real-time consumption.
A new building is in the pipeline using these technologies, which will house research labs, exhibition spaces and state-of-the-art seminar rooms. This proposed modern building will feature automatic security access, heat control, ventilation, air-conditioning and lighting.
20 proud years
UNITEN is proud of its achievements since 1997. Today, as it celebrates its 20th birthday, it is commemorating the historic moment with the opening of a new student centre.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching is scheduled to officiate the event.
This facility is devoted solely for student recreation and fellowship. It features a two-storey
open area that will house the Student Representative Council’s office and the UNITEN Entrepreneurship Centre, which aims to promote student development by enhancing their academic success and encouraging the participation of various communities in campus activities.
Other events include the launch of a coffee table book, future leaders’ seminar, the UNITEN International Advisory Council Meeting and other international conferences.
Kamal is confident in the quality of education that UNITEN provides to local and international students.
With efforts under BOLD2025, he is positive that UNITEN can achieve the targeted QS rankings and other future objectives.
“With a vibrant campus, energetic staff and talented students, the sky is our limit,” he said.