The Water and Waste Water Treatment Engineering Research Consortium (WATER) held a virtual periodic meeting, headed by Prof. Ts. Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman, Director of Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC), School of Chemical and Energy Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). The meeting was attended by 24 stakeholders, including WATER Consortium members, scholars, and the JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net. A report of achievements and financial issues encountered over the past six months was reviewed, and an explanation of the proposed actions provided for the remaining period to February 2022, including a contingency plan.
The WATER Consortium successfully recruited six international Master’s students from Indonesia. Although one student later withdrew from the course due to health problems, WATER managed to fill the vacated slot with a domestic PhD student.
In addition, the WATER Consortium proposed an increase in the total budget with additional expected outputs; for example, the publication of 10 to 15 more international papers compared to the original number planned, more presentations on water treatment at the international virtual conference, industrial visits, etc. Within an increase in the total budget, a rise in the management fee has been requested from 15 to 30% to deal with unexpected expenses such as state quarantine, COVID-19 test kits, and proof of vaccination. The WATER Consortium could handle both activities and financial management by postponing mobility activities to avoid the problems resulting from COVID-19. The AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat is processing the request for a budget increase, and official approval should be announced soon.
The JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net provided positive feedback to the WATER Consortium. The budget and the operation timeline of operation were reviewed during the meeting. The technical and financial issues occurring during the first half of the Japanese fiscal year 2021 were thoroughly discussed, including the significant activities and events and the most important achievements of the Consortium during the period under review.