TOMSY2022: Building Synergy between Academia, Industry, and Government

Written by: Azida Abdullah

How to measure the success of a scientific conference? If based on the crowd, it would be hard to dispute the success of the 3rd Tropical Ocean and Marine Sciences International Symposium (TOMSY2022) held at UMT Conference Centre (UMTCC) from 6-7 November 2022 and organized by INOS. Drawing more than a hundred this year, participants have watched this biannual scientific event, which began in 2018, grow with the participation of industry partners and marine science communities, such as Hydrokinetik Technologies Sdn. Bhd., Marine Coastal and Delta Sustainability for Southeast Asia (MARE), Institute of Oceanography and Maritime Studies (INOCEM) of IIUM, and UNIKL Lumut. 

As the leading university in marine science in Malaysia, collaboration with local industries serves as a great platform to enhance UMT’s presence in becoming more relevant in marine-related industry. This aligns with UMT’s niche area to boost scientific research by applying advanced technology to fulfil industrial needs. 

The MARE project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, aims to provide support to academicians in Asian higher education institutions (HEIs) to design and implement new and improvised syllabus of courses related to the marine environment and sustainability. The project highlights the issue as the marine ecosystem and sustainability have become an environmental governance challenge in the Asian partner countries.

The 3rd TOMSY2022 serves as a platform to share knowledge in marine scientific research with the theme “Ocean Research for a Sustainable Future’, which is relevant to the global agenda of achieving a sustainable and healthy ocean, as advocated by SDG14 and the UN Ocean Decade. TOMSY2022 has provided a high-impact research discourse that can be further translated or transformed into scientific-based management measures to achieve the global goal of a healthy ocean for a healthy planet.

The event began with a keynote speech by Prof. Dr Biswajeet Pradhan, the Director of the Centre for Advanced Modelling and Geospatial Information Systems (CAMGIS) of the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Prof Pradhan highlighted on the rapidly attention-gaining machine learning and spatial intelligence application. Due to their promising results, less time are comparatively spent on getting reliable data than the more laborious manual monitoring.

The conference was followed by the plenary talk by Dr Salvatore Aricò from UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector, which discussed the challenges in bridging science to policy implementation. He deliberated on  how the scientific community and policymakers may collaborate to facilitate science-based advice for implementing the SDGs.  

While the other two plenary speakers are Prof. Shing Yip (Joe) Lee from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with his talk entitled; ‘Mangrove Microphytobenthos – A Neglected Driver of Estuarine Trophodynamics’, and Prof. Dr Wan Izatul Asma Binti Wan Talaat, the Head of Centre for Ocean Governance of INOS, entitled; ‘The Role of Ocean Governance in Translating Science into Policies ~ Accelerating the National Delivery to the Ocean Decade’.

On behalf of the organizing committee, we would like to thank all participants for joining us. We hope they experienced a deep dive into marine research topics while creating good synergy between the academia, industry and government.