January 11, 2022, by Mei Kee Lee

PhD student secured 2021 Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment

School of Pharmacy PhD student, Jessica Ooi, received the prestigious 2021 Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment on 26th November 2021.

The Merdeka Award Trust (MAT) is established by PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell in 2007. The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment is one of the programmes introduced by MAT in 2011. The grant aims to nurture promising young Malaysians and support them in their journey of excellence by funding the recipients’ attachment in an institution or organisation of international repute in selected disciplines (education, arts, sports, community/social work, environment, health, science and technology).

Jessica Ooi, who is one of the five award recipients, will be able to engage in short-term collaborative projects/programmes of up to three months, at an internationally-recognised host institution in science and technology? discipline. Her research revolves around the development of a portable, inexpensive and simple to use device to rapidly detect ovarian cancer cells using microRNA technology.

The application procedures were:

  1. Submit application form, research proposal, budget (for 3 institutions of my choice, but final decision up to the Merdeka Award Trust), 2 reference letters, essay on how the project reflects the Merdeka spirit, CV and Certificates
  2. 24 shortlisted to attend a full-day workshop on how to pitch.
  3. 5-min Pitch and Interview with Selection Committee (done virtually due to lockdown at that time).
  4. 12 finalists then had to submit a 5-minute video for the Board of Trustees explaining the proposal in detail and why we deserve the grant.

Jessica’s tips for fellow peers are:

  1. Be clear about your project aim and discuss this with your supervisor to make sure it aligns with your current work.
  2. Seek out attachment host early on – Explain current project clearly, the attachment project learning aims and ask for their opinion. After discussing the plan and obtaining  permission to be a visiting student, only then I finalised the proposal and budget for submission.
  3. Review your proposal, project aims and benefits of it before the interview. Relate your work with real-life examples and avoid jargon.
Posted in AchievementMPharm