Brunei, Korea Welcome First Dual Graduate Degree Students
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A joint initiative between Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Korea University through their partnership in the International Consortium of Universities for the Studies of Biodiversity and the Environment (iCUBE) was recently realised with it’s first pair of Dual Graduate Degree students.

Under the initiative, Korea University candidate Yujin Roh and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) candidate Adrian Suhaili had the opportunity to study in one another's countries.

A Masters candidate at the College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yujin arrived in UBD late August, spending one semester at the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre (KBFSC) to undertake research on carbon stock and flux of coarse woody debris in intact tropical Dipterocarp forests. Her research is supervised by academics from the Faculty of Science, Dr Faizah Metali and Dr Rahayu Sukmaria Sukri.

A major in Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering in her undergraduate studies in Korea University, she believed that the degree in Biodiversity will complement her knowledge in ecosystem ecology and broaden her knowledge and experience in her studies.

Coarse woody debris in forests play important roles in carbon and nutrient cycles. Particularly, coarse woody debris in tropical forests are potentially a significant component of the stocks and fluxes of carbon cycles, she explained. However, the stocks and fluxes of coarse woody debris in Asian tropical forests are relatively unknown. Hence, Yujin hopes to provide data to predict and model the changes of carbon in tropical forests in Brunei under climate change.

“In terms of biodiversity studies, a family of dipterocarps is species-rich and abundant, and composes subcanopy and canopy in Asian tropical forests,” Yujin added on in excitement. “Understanding biodiversity of Dipterocarp forests is important to understand carbon cycles in Asian tropical forests.”

In addition to completing her research for the dual degree, Yujin also hopes to gain a cultural experience, learn the history, language and get to know the people of Brunei better.

Adrian Suhaili from UBD returned from Korea University recently, being the first UBD student enrolled in the dual degree graduate programme in Biodiversity Studies.

Mentored by Professor Yowhan Son, from the Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Adrian described his experience as "excellent." He said that the biggest advantage of the programme was being able to learn the different methods and techniques used in both universities. In addition to access to readily available databases and journals in the library, he also learned about different types of ecosystems following a workshop on mid-latitude ecotone and a seminar on the Hidukush Himalayan Region.

The two-year programme requires students to spend two semesters in their home university and the third semester at their host university undertaking research-based work. They then return to their home university to complete their fourth and final semester.

iCUBE comprises eight top-tiered universities from around the world such as Bonn University (Germany), National University of Singapore and University of Auckland (New Zealand), with a common goal to address issues and problems related to biodiversity and the environment for research and education.

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