IIP Placements in Malaysia
Location: Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. They have a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. They deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. They work with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.Their organization is active in over 100 countries worldwide, with more than 300 staff working from some 20 country offices. It is one of the 15 centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Bioversity’s headquarters are located just outside Rome, Italy, in Maccarese. This year, Bioversity is offering placements in their headquarters office, as well as, in their offices in Malaysia and Nepal. Bioversity staff includes specialists in agriculture, forestry, information science and technology, socioeconomics, law and policy, finance and administration. Through the IIP internship program, Bioversity offers invaluable on-the-job training under the guidance of established experts in genetic resources, communications, and policy and law practices that encourage the production of public goods. IIP interns will be assigned to research projects and will learn to work as part of a project team and will gain a broad understanding of issues in international agricultural research for development, in particular regarding sustainable conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity for food and agriculture. IIP interns will typically gain experience in carrying out desk studies, literature searching, compilation and analysis of information, database work, and writing reports, papers, and public awareness materials. One placement has been created for an International Internship Program (IIP) intern in Malaysia. Here is additional information on this IIP placement in Malaysia:
- Integrating Gender in Forestry Research (Literature Review and Communications): The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (CRP FTA) aims to enhance the management and use of forests, agroforestry and tree genetic resources across the landscape, from farms to forests. The initiative targets 46% of global forest cover, 1.3 billion hectares of closed forests, and 500 million hectares of open and fragmented forests. The research program explores five areas: smallholder production systems and markets; management and conservation of forest and tree resources; landscape management of forested areas for environmental services, biodiversity conservation and livelihoods; climate change adaptation and mitigation; and the impacts of trade and investment on forests and people. Bioversity International partners in this program with The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in collaboration with other research and development organizations.This IIP internship will contribute to the implementation of the CRP FTA Gender Strategy (http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/Books/BCIFOR1303.pdf). The Gender Strategy is a tool for guiding researchers and their partners in integrating gender in research and action. It is aimed at improving the quality and volume of gender-responsive research in the CRP FTA. The Gender Strategy views gender integration in research as a fundamental part of doing good science and approaches gender as a cross-cutting theme within the CRP FTA.The IIP intern will survey and collate documents and studies that complement activities on gender and forest management conducted in the CRP FTA. The IIP intern will also give visibility to the importance of integrating gender into forestry research, to methods for doing so, and to Bioversity’s CRP FTA gender-related research and activities. IIP candidates with interests in gender studies, rural sociology, anthropology, geography, environmental studies, international development studies, with familiarity and knowledge of gender and natural resource management issues are encouraged to apply. Skills in writing, communication and analysis would be an asset.
- Strengthening the participation of women and disadvantaged groups in community based forest management: This work is part of a collaborative project between Bioversity International and two Indian NGOs, with the purpose to develop and test innovative partnership and implementation models for Community-based Forest Management (CBFM) for reducing poverty and improving social justice among forest-dependent communities, in ways that also reduce pressure on forest ecosystems and tree populations thus improving environmental quality and contributing to reduced emissions from forest degradation. Degradation and deforestation of forest lands is a critical issue in India not only from a climate change perspective, but also from an economic development perspective. Between 275 to 350 million people in the country, many of whom are from socially marginalized groups, are forest dependent and 170,000 villages (out of total 641,000 villages in India) live in or near forests. As part of the broader project, Bioversity International is tasked with promoting the representation and participation of women and socially disadvantaged groups in Joint Forest Management Committees. This will require strengthening the social capital of women and disadvantaged groups through the consolidation of self-help groups, building on and enhancing their local ecological knowledge, strengthening their skills in forest management and public speaking, and expanding their awareness of legislation and rights related to local forest management. Emphasis on the diversity of local interests (women’s, those of disadvantaged groups) with respect to the collection and use of firewood and NTFPs will also be examined. Within this project, the IIP intern will be tasked with: performing a literature review of the role of women and disadvantaged groups in community forestry, with emphasis on Joint Forest Management Committees; compiling examples of best practices for promoting the representation and participation of women and disadvantaged groups in forest management; analyzing preliminary data, in collaboration with his/her supervisor, on gendered and socially differentiated ecological knowledge in India’s Western Ghats; and producing communications materials, such as blogs and posters, based on the three aforementioned activities.
- Support the implementation of FAO’s Global Plan of Action on Forest Genetic Resources
Genetic diversity is the mainstay of biological stability and evolution, yet it is the least known aspect of biodiversity. Genetic diversity enables tree species to adapt to changing environments, forms the basis for present and future selection and breeding programmes and contributes food sources for humans and animals, including at times when annual crops fail. Yet, information on genetic diversity is available on less than 1% of the estimated 80,000-100,000 tree species on Earth, as shown in the first report on the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources, published by FAO in June 2014. Based on the findings of The State of World’s Forest Genetic Resources, FAO has agreed on a Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources, which was adopted by the FAO Conference at its 38th session in June 2013. The Global Plan of Action was informed by 86 Country Reports and several Regional Synthesis Workshops in an extensive consultative process. The Global Plan of Action has 27 Strategic Priorities, grouped into four areas: (1) improving the availability of, and access to, information on FGR, (2) conservation of FGR (in situ and ex situ), (3) sustainable use, development and management of FGR, and (4) policies, institutions and capacity-building. In recognition of the unique ecological and socio-economic value of Asia’s Forest Genetic Resources and the urgency to conserve them, the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN, www.apforgen.org) has in September 2014 established three regional Working Groups to support the implementation of the Global Plan of Action in the region: mobilizing political and financial support for the implementation of the Global Plan of Action;conservation strategies for regionally important and endangered species; and seed programmes to facilitate restoration, climate change adaptation and livelihoods. The IIP intern’s responsibility will be to support the Working Groups of APFORGEN in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, including: reviewing existing information on the current status of conservation and use of Forest Genetic Resources in the region, e.g. on topics related to the conservation of endangered Dalbergia and Shorea spp. And on national tree seed programmes to support forest restoration; assisting the Working Groups in designing surveys and analyzing and interpreting their results; contributing to writing reports, presentations, research publications and communication materials and assisting in organizing a side event about the Global Plan of Action during the next meeting of the Asia Pacific Forestry Commission, the region’s largest and most inclusive inter-governmental organization addressing forests and forestry issues and challenges.
- Analysis of the sustainability of traditional fruit harvesting practices in Western Ghats and Madhya Pradesh, India: This work is part of a collaborative project between Bioversity International and two Indian NGOs, with the purpose to develop and test innovative partnership and implementation models for Community-based Forest Management (CBFM) for reducing poverty and improving social justice among forest-dependent communities, in ways that also reduce pressure on forest ecosystems and tree populations thus improving environmental quality and contributing to reduced emissions from forest degradation. As part of the broader project, Bioversity International will develop participatory monitoring and decision-making tools for determining sustainable levels of non-timber forest products, particularly for species for which reproductive organs (fruit, seed) are harvested. As an example, tons of seed of Garcinia spp. along with the highly valued fruits are harvested annually from forests by communities in Uttara Kannada and elsewhere in Western Ghats. Securing sustainable seed harvest levels is important both for the genetic health of tree populations and for sustaining fruit harvests over time for livelihood benefits. The Module on sustainable harvesting practices consists of participatory identification and mapping of the key NTFP species and populations; identification, documentation and assessment of gendered, traditional knowledge on species and varieties, skills, as well as formal and informal (customary or traditional) forest management practices; assessment of current NTFP availability, harvesting levels for home use and sales and subsequent regeneration capacity to determine sustainable harvest levels based on local practices and knowledge by analyzing population size, population structure, reproduction, regeneration and vigour of progeny of at least 3 populations for the main NTFP species or varieties at each project site, at varying population sizes and/or harvest levels; options to improve the ecological sustainability of current management and harvesting practices are identified by comparing local and traditional knowledge with modern scientific knowledge (this includes supporting tree regeneration, domestication and population restoration where applicable); and a monitoring system and toolkit is developed with and for the local communities for monitoring viability of populations of NTFP and determining sustainability of harvest levels, including practical indicators and target values. The IIP intern’s responsibilities include: assisting in data analysis of current NTFP harvesting practices (surveys and focus group discussions) and interpretation of the results; assisting in data analysis of the sustainability of fruit harvests (ecological field research on tree population sizes, fruit production, regeneration etc.) and interpretation of the results and contributing to writing reports, presentations and research publications on the results.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
Location: Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) was established in 1997 when PETRONAS was invited by the Malaysian government to set up a university. UTP offers a wide range of engineering and technology programs at undergraduate and postgraduate levels complemented with a strong focus on Research and Development. The programs are designed with high industry relevance to provide a dynamic learning environment. The Civil Engineering Department involves the application of engineering principles and applied sciences to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of capital projects in a typical asset life cycle. This includes buildings, roads, bridges, dams, airports, water and wastewater treatment plants, oil and gas production facilities, special purpose structures and any engineered structures for the comfort of mankind. Research projects of the department include focuses in computer aided design, surveying, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, pavement and materials engineering, construction and project management, steel and concrete design, water and wastewater engineering. IIP interns will work on a research project on rice husk ash. Four placements have been established for International Internship Program (IIP) interns. Here is some background information on the projects:
- Rice husk ash project: About 600 million tons of rice is produced each year throughout the world, which generates about 120 million tons of rice husk. Disposal of the rice husk has become a big problem and usually rice husk is burnt in open air or stacked on farmland, releasing large amounts of hazardous substances, occupying land resources, and polluting the environment. The utilization of rice husk ash as a pozzolanic material in cement and concrete provides several advantages such as improved strength and durability, reduced materials cost due to cement savings and environmental benefits related to the disposal of waste materials and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. It has been demonstrated that in order to produce reactive rice husk ash, specific temperature and duration of burning has to be maintained. Controlled burning can produce amorphous rice husk ash with high silica content and this can significantly enhance the properties of concrete. Recent studies have shown that RHA, rich in silica (about 85% to 90%), can be utilized in construction materials by controlling the burning temperature. Replacing the cement by RHA burned under controlled temperature, the compressive strength of the concrete increased. The concrete with RHA also lowers initial surface absorption, lowers the permeability, and increase the resistance of concrete to chloride ion penetration in comparison to conventional concrete. One of the controlled burning methods is using a microwave incinerator. Microwave Incinerator Rice Husk Ash (MIRHA) is obtained by burning rice husk in UTPMI--a microwave incinerator at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, with a controlled temperature. The UTPMI used for the burning process produce good quality MIRHA. Concrete and cement industry can contribute to sustainable development by adopting MIRHA as cement replacement material to save natural resources, energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and protect the environment. Through this IIP placement, the IIP intern will learn how to evaluate the microstructure of cementitious materials using equipment such as: ESEM, FE-SEM, XRD, X-ray tomography etc., and will gain the knowledge of the basic principles of mix-designing various types of concrete as well as knowledge of the production process of concrete and how to evaluate the properties of concrete such as compressive, flexural and tensile strengths, workability, including rheology and microstructure. Interested IIP candidates should possess a systematic understanding and advanced knowledge of various cement replacement materials, their effects on concrete properties, and their suitability for concrete production.
- Fly ash/palm oil fuel ash project: Steel coating requires anti-corrosion property to expand the lifespan of the equipment especially for pipes or instruments that are used in abrasive environment. Severe corrosion can be observed in equipments made from steel alloy that is operated in very abrasive environment. Operating under high pressure or/and high temperature (a temperature about 35% of the absolute melting range of a given metal or alloy) for a period of time and exposing the equipment to chemical attack, will degrade the effectiveness of the coating. Looking at a greener alternative of coating material, geopolymer material seems to be promising to be used as steel coating. Geopolymer, which is an inorganic polymer, is prepared by alkaline activation of an aluminosilicate source such as fly ash, metakaolin, slag or agriculture waste such as palm oil fuel ash/rice husk ash etc.; that can form amorphous to semi-crystalline three-dimensional silica-aluminate material. Geopolymer possess excellent mechanical properties, impressive fire resistance and high resistance to chemical attack. The proposed work will provide the intern with more information and hands-on laboratory work in the development of green coating materials for steel substrate using waste materials which are in abundance worldwide. Through this placement the IIP intern will need to conduct a brief literature review on coating material (with emphasis on geopolymer-based coating material) for metal substrate to gain better understanding of the project; will learn how to prepare specific material (in this case geopolymer-based coating material) using fly ash/palm oil fuel ash or fly ash/metakaolin as the basic raw materials; will conduct various experiments will be to obtain reasonable geopolymer product for the application on steel substrate, evaluate the coating properties of geopolymer products, as well as, the chemical, physical and micro-structural properties of the raw materials, geopolymer product and the coating properties using equipments such as FESEM, XRD, XRF, FTIR, and other related analytical tools. This IIP intern will gain the knowledge of the basic principles and hands-on material preparation, synthesis, characterization and properties of coating material and coating application. IIP candidates with interests in material development and chemical engineering are encouraged to apply. Technical skills in material processing and characterization would be an asset.
- Offshore Structures: There are about ten thousand offshore platforms located in various water depths ranging from 30m to 2,500m all over the world. The majority of these are fixed platforms located in water depths up to about 20m. For deeper regions, floating platforms are installed connected by mooring lines to the seabed. These structures are planned, designed, fabricated, transported, installed, operated, maintained, and decommissioned by civil engineers. This training will give the student insight into all aspects related to the analysis and design of offshore platforms. The trainee will get an exposure to model tests being conducted in very costly and sophisticated wave tanks fitted with the latest instrumentation such as optical motion capture system. Also, the trainee will get some exposure to using very costly commercial software used in the oil and gas industry. IIP intern responsibilities will include: attending the course "Offshore Structures," conducting an assignment for generating random waves and determining wave forces on members of jacket platforms; modeling tests in offshore laboratory on floating platforms subjected to waves and current and using commercial software for design of jacket platforms. IIP candidates with interests in the theory of structures or fluid mechanics are encouraged to apply.
- Ionic Liquids Project: Most of the heavy metals that occur in the environment are toxic and persistent. The occurrence of the heavy metals in the environment would therefore be particular dangerous even though it may only be a trace amount. The recent European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) sets high Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) for priority substances in surface water regulating the annual averages and maximum allowable concentration in surface water. Most of the heavy metals and their compounds belong to the list of priority substances due to their level of toxicity, bioaccumulation and other constraints. There are many approaches developed for the metal extraction from liquid effluents. This includes dissolving an organic solvent such as kerosene, toluene, or using an extraction agent. However, the extraction process could not be regarded as green technology as they would cause detrimental effect to the environment and the human body. Furthermore, some other drawbacks include cost and disposal problems associated with the resin, decrease of removal efficiency when multiple metals are present. Study was conducted by using ionic liquids for selective liquid/liquid extraction of heavy metals. Ionic liquids are generally defined as molten salts, consisting entirely of anions and organic cations, and and exist in liquid form at temperatures below 100°C. Integrating imidazolium cations with functionalized groups act as metalligating moieties. The scope of this work will cover the synthesis of ionic liquids and apply them in separation of heavy metals from waste water. Characterization and instrumentation work using analytical equipment such as NMR, HPLC, FTIR and AAS will be included in this work. IIP intern responsibilities will include synthesizing a range of imidazolium ionic liquids using the quaternisation reactions; characterizing the ionic liquids using NMR, HPLC and FTIR instruments. The IIP intern will gain basic knowledge in designing separation parameters for the removal of metals from waste water and learn the ionic liquids properties in relations to its design of cations and anions. IIP candidates with interests in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering are encouraged to apply. A basic knowledge in chemistry practicals is essential.
- Glycerol project: A growing environmental concern, a rapid increase of oil price and political fallout arising from the escalating fossil fuel based-energy demand constitute the primary impetus behind the search for renewable sources of energy and chemicals. In recent findings, the biomass (oxygenated hydrocarbon) transformations over supported transition metals are touted as promising routes towards sustainable production of fuel precursors. Fuels derived from biomass are considered CO2-neutral since they provide a closed carbon cycle, therefore, eliminating greenhouse gas (CO2) emission to atmosphere. One of the key solutions is employing glycerol as a reactant in dry reforming process to produce syngas (mixture H2, CO and CO2). Thus, we propose to investigate the use of chemically treated limestone based catalyst for glycerol reforming using CO2. Furthermore, this process will address the environmental-degradation issue associated with greenhouse gas (CO2) emission. More importantly, dry reforming of glycerol remains elusive and its potential has yet been explored. During glycerol steam reforming, carbon laydown was substantial, hence affecting its longevity performance. This IIP intern will be expected to synthesize the catalysts that would be used in syngas production. The IIP intern will learn to evaluate the characteristics of the catalysts using XRD, SEM and other related instruments. Finally, the IIP intern will run a few experiments related to syngas production.IIP candidates with interests in chemical engineering or chemistry are encouraged to apply.
- Engineering Cementitious Composite Material project: Increasing pressure on bridge designers to eliminate existing expansion joints on bridge decks in order to reduce maintenance and long-term rehabilitation cost led to an innovative solution by replacing these joints using concrete link slab. A concrete link slab is relatively thin reinforced concrete slab that typically connects simply supported deck spans. However, concrete link slabs do not possess the large tensile strain capacity and micro-cracking behavior and therefore mustbe heavily reinforced to keep crack widths within the concrete link slabs below acceptable serviceability limits allowed by the AASHTO bridge design code. This high reinforcement ration within concrete link slabs unnecessarily stiffens the link slabs. In addition, it was found that these slabs are sensitive to poor construction practices. The unique capability of engineering cementitious composite (ECC) material to deform up to 4% strain in uniaxial tension while maintaining low crack widths allows the ECC link slab to accommodate the deformations imposed by the adjacent decks (i.e. due to thermal expansion and contraction). However, the ability of these slabs to withstand the rigors of repeated deflection caused by cycling loading of the bridge structure is stil unclear. Therefore, the main objective of this proposed research work is to develop a fatigue models for ECC link slabs. Investigate experimentally and theoretically (using 3D nonlinear finite element method) the load capacity and fatigue performance of ECC link slabs, along with the development of cracking on the tensile face of the ECC link slab. The expected outcome of this research is the development fatigue model of ECC link slabs that will encourage the authorities on using them to replace the current joint system. This research works will also establish a necessary data and aid on the design and analysis of ECC link slabs. The IIP intern will contribute to this research. IIP candidates with interests in concrete engineering are encouraged to apply. Technical knowledge in structural behavior would be an asset.
- High Performance Cloud Computing project: High Performance Cloud computing is a set of infrastructure that is able to provide services that is able to compute jobs that are data intensive (processing big data) and computationally intensive.
Sub-Project 1: Towards reliable, maintainable and high performance cloud computing: A high performance cloud services must be reliable and maintainable to provide high quality services to its continuing expanding sets of users and increasing number of complicated services. Performance is also crucial when considering the various parallel high computation and data intensive jobs that are running on limited amount of physical resources. As such, design of the services and cloud infrastructure are very crucial to ensure that the services are reliable, maintainable and have acceptable performance. The quality of the services and infrastructure must also be verified. Formal methods for verification have the advantage where it provides better assurance on the quality of the computer systems. However, formal methods have always had the problem with scalability where these methods are difficult and not applicable to verify large and complex systems; a cloud-based system is a complex computer system. The research work will focus on enabling formal verification of cloud computing services for performance, reliability and maintainability.
Sub-Project 2: Advanced Computational and Simulation Study of Lithium Batteries over the Cloud: The focus of this research is the development of a high performance cloud computing platform for the computational and simulation studies of lithium batteries. The system is expected to as fast and as accurate as possible compared to a conventional computing platform. High performance cloud offers many advantages compared to HPC clusters: Computational tasks are no longer bound to a fixed number processors and job waiting queues, as resources are now made scalable. Resources can be made available on demand when an increasing number of jobs were required to be processed; thus I/O and compute intensive simulation tasks will not experience any waiting time or job queue.
Processing in the clouds is not bound to a location as it is with HPC clusters. Cloud users are able to submit their computational jobs via the network (Internet or intranet) to the clouds, which may consist of many other HPC clusters located at different geographical locations to give the computational power needed. Therefore, this offers ubiquitous access to the simulation and modelling.
Sub-Project 3: 3D Cloud Interface for Distributed Interactive Genetic Algorithm: Interactive Genetic Algorithm (IGA) allows users to influence the outcome of a Genetic Algorithm (GA) search through visualization and interaction. Thus far IGA has been applied for relatively simple form of GA problems. More complex form of GA, such as highly distributed, parallel population GA, would need a more complex interface, and such interface has to be systematically investigated so as not to require too much user effort and so as to be accessible via a cloud-based interface. The use of systematic Human-Computer Interaction methods together with 3D user interfaces and immersive visualization will be investigated as part of the research.
Sub-Project 4: GPU-ization and GPU Virtualization over the Cloud: The use of GPU nowadays has extended from gaming and graphics to non-graphical applications such as numerical computing and data sorting. While much work has been done on single-GPU programming for a variety of applications, a systematic approach to application development for multiple, heterogeneous GPU is still lacking. Further, little work has been done on making GPU applications be cloud-accessible. The main focus in this research is hence two-fold: develop a methodology for converting non-GPU applications to GPU versions, and studying the cloud-accessibility of the applications via GPU virtualization. Applications to be considered include the following: 1. finite-element simulation 2. neural network. 3. ray tracing.
IIP candidates for this project should have interests in computer science and experience/ skills in C++ and Java programming, scripting for Linux operating system, working in Linux environment, design of computer system using modeling languages such as UML, and verification of computer systems preferably using formal techniques. Two placements have been established for International Internship Program (IIP) interns.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of the previous IIP intern): Reading and researching scientific literature to acquire knowledge on a particular study. Calculating different ratios of materials for concrete mixes. Batching and casting concrete and/or cement mixtures in various sized molds.