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University of Nottingham Malaysia marks 21st anniversary by awarding full scholarships to six trailblazing young people determined to address national and global challenges

University of Nottingham Malaysia scholars cite poverty, education and healthcare issues as key motivators


Normal never changed the world. For six young Malaysians, this statement has never been truer. In their own extraordinary ways, from environmental engineering to biomedical sciences, the six recipients of the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) 21st Anniversary Scholarship all aspire to change the world. Aptly themed, ‘Normal Never Changed the World’, the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship seeks to ignite passion in our future leaders who otherwise may not have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

“UNM believes in the unlimited potential of young Malaysians to make a difference and we want to ensure that every opportunity is available to these young people. By waiving 100 percent of the tuition fees, the recipients of the 21st Anniversary Scholarship will feel a huge weight being lifted off their shoulders. More importantly, it will allow them the peace of mind to fully immerse themselves into achieving their goals,” said Professor Sarah Metcalfe, Interim Provost and CEO of UNM.

The full undergraduate scholarships were open to students who required financial assistance to study at the university for courses that would commence after the September 2021 intake. The university will waive 100 percent of the scholars’ tuition fees throughout the duration of the degree programme.

The six recipients of the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship include Biomedical Sciences scholar Chong E-Jayn; Economics and International Economics scholar, Ezekiel Alex George; Economics and International Economics scholar, Nur Sameera binti Shaik Ismail; Chemical Engineering with Environmental Engineering scholar, Ong Hao Zhe; Education scholar, Vanessa De Run Check; and Mechatronic Engineering scholar, Yap Yong Jin.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship recipients. We see vast potential in each of you, and we know you will make a difference in the world,” Professor Sarah Metcalfe added.

Unleased to address global issues through economic lens

The cost of higher education may prohibit many Malaysians from furthering their studies; because of this scholarship such as these function as a lifeline for some students.

Recipient of the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship, Nur Sameera Binti Shaik Ismail, shared, “This scholarship means the world to me. Fundamentally, it represents possibility. I initially believed that my financial circumstances would bar me from receiving a good education, but this scholarship changed that. Receiving this scholarship has meant that achieving my ambitious aspirations are no longer far-fetched notions, but within reach. It has also reignited my belief that the world is full of possibilities and that I can do or be anything.”

The 20-year-old has a keen fascination with economics. She adds that economics wields the power to address the many issues we face today. In pursuing a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Economics and International Economics, she hopes to understand how the world works and explore the ways to make it better.

Aspiring environmentalist taking bigger steps in combating climate change

“On a random evening in 2019, I decided to read the newspaper. It was when I first came across Greta Thunberg, a young lady who amplified the voice of decades-old environmentalism,” the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship recipient, Ong Hao Zhe shared. 

“Thunberg’s stories and the climate movement she had inspired, pushed me beyond ‘no plastic bags’ and ‘turning off the light when not in use’ into a world of anthropogenic climate change and interconnected global crises,” he added.

Although Ong believes that any profession can help mitigate climate disasters, he found his calling in science. More specifically, Ong will be pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering with Environmental Engineering (CEE) at UNM.

“From sourcing the raw materials to managing waste, making our supply chain sustainable is what this course allows me to do. That is just the tip of the iceberg with CEE. Essentially, it is to better equip myself to make this world more livable through actions, not just words,” said Ong. 

In addition to the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship, there are nine other scholarships and two education funds available to students at UNM. Professor Metcalfe added that the university has awarded scholarships worth about RM140 million since its inception.

“We want to continue empowering students to pursue their aspirations and give them all the support they need to reach their full potential and achieve their biggest dreams,” Professor Metcalfe shared.

“UNM is happy to continue empowering and supporting students to achieve their biggest, most courageous dreams, because the world demands extraordinary change. Only extraordinary individuals can change the world. I believe the recipients of the UNM 21st Anniversary Scholarship are exactly that - extraordinary individuals,” Professor Metcalfe concluded.

For 21 years, the University of Nottingham Malaysia has nurtured ambitious people to make a difference in the world. With a world class curriculum and distinctive research excellence, the university will continue to foster a conducive environment for students to realise their full potential.  UNM is looking forward to bringing more changes for the next 21 years. 


For media enquiries please contact: Josephine Dionisappu, PR and Communications Manager University of Nottingham Malaysia at  

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted on 19th November 2021

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