The International Science, Technology, and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the Auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) is a UNESCO Category 2 Centre the Malaysian Government has hosted since 2008. The Centre acts as an international platform offering sustainable programmes and services and augmenting sustainable development for South-South Cooperation. The Centre’s hosting is based on a six-year Agreement between the Malaysian Government represented by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and UNESCO. Its current Agreement is from February 2022 until January 2028.

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Academician Professor Datuk Dr Halimaton Hamdan pursued her bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees in chemistry at Indiana University and Marshall University in the US. She received her PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Cambridge UK in 1989, where she was in the pioneer batch of women and also the first Asian woman to be admitted to Peterhouse, the oldest college at the university. Professor Halimaton started her career as an academic at the Department of Chemistry, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), in 1981 and became UTM’s first woman Professor at 40.

She has contributed tremendously to the national development of SET, especially in nanotechnology. She was instrumental in establishing, promoting, and implementing the National Nanotechnology Initiatives Programme. She was the Founding Director of the National Nanotechnology Directorate, MOSTI. She had worked tirelessly to strengthen the role of scientists in research, development, and commercialisation and, at the same time, contributed to humanity through her many roles.

Professor Datuk Dr Halimaton is a respected figure internationally for her many achievements and contributions. One of her most significant research achievements is having been granted international patents for improvement in silica aerogel from Japan, Australia, Europe and the US within 5 years. She was instrumental in the establishment of Malaysia for Innovative Nanotechnology (NanoMITe) Global Research Consortium (MRUN and MIT and Harvard University USA) and is currently the Chairman of the Consortium.

She is currently a Professor at the Faculty of Technology and Informatics Razak (FTIR), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. She is previously the Chairman of the Malaysia Institute for Innovative Nanotechnology (NanoMITe) Global Research Consortium and, in her second term as the Chair of the Governing Board of the International Science, Technology & Innovation Centre (ISTIC) for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO.