Monday, January 26, 2015

On to a New Year With Renewed Hope

HAPPY New Year to all our readers! We hope that everyone had wonderful holidays and are back energised and inspired to kick start 2015. It is almost four years since we started publishing The Petri Dish amid skepticism whether or not a science newspaper can be sustained in Malaysia. The main reason behind its success is every one of you who have been giving us positive feedback and encouragement. The Petri Dish has grown in readership from 6,000 when we started in Feb 2011 to 18,000 today. It is subscribed by all the key biotechnology institutions in Malaysia and is available to cabinet members, chief ministers and to the general public. To start 2015 afresh, we have given a creative facelift to The Petri Dish. Hope you enjoy the new look. We are not stopping here. Wait for yet another announcement soon in our attempt to get the public interested in science and its phenomena. We are introducing a new section called “Biotech in Focus” which is reproduced with permission from University of Hawaii. Prof Ania who produces this is a good friend of mine and I am impressed on how she simplifies GM technology and dissects topics related to GM crops and agriculture. We hope this will help shed some light on the highly controversial issues surrounding GM crops. We take this opportunity to thank all our readers, subscribers and columnists for your support and trust we can continue to count on you to transform The Petri Dish into a mainstream media. It is also our hope and dream that more scientists will come forward to talk about their research and bring it to the wider world beyond scientific journals and conferences. Join us in this exciting world of science communication and enriching scientific knowledge of the public.

By Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan

Spreading the Science-bug For the Making of a Science-literate Society

AS the year comes to an end, it is time for some reflection and stock taking. As for many, 2014 was an extremely busy and fruitful year for us at The Petri Dish. We became the official media for BiotechCorp to disseminate information on the Bioeconomy Transformation Programme. Through BiotechCorp, The Petri Dish now has readers at the corridors of power, reaching out to all cabinet members and chief ministers.

In order to promote public sector research and bring it out of the ivory towers, we introduced Research  Digest. We hope public universities and research institutes will continue to support by providing content for this section. It is time for home-grown research to be glorified.

This year, we covered a number of prominent events and provided on-site reports. BIO San Diego in the USA, BIO-IAP in New York, Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP7) in South Korea and BioMalaysia 2014 in Kuala Lumpur were some of the events covered.
I can promise that 2015 is not going to be short of any breakthroughs for The Petri Dish. As a start we are increasing the number of pages from 16 to 20. The extra pages will complement the current Coffee Break section to include more easy-reading content for the general public and students. Our aim is to bring science closer to the society to create science literacy and  science culture among our society.

We are also exploring various avenues to place The Petri Dish in public space, besides Starbucks. Expect more announcements on this soon. In short, we expect 2015 to be an equally exciting year and we invite everyone to join us in our mission to spread the science-bug towards creating science literate society and promote bio-based economy and knowledge.
Happy New Year and Happy  Holidays!