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Meet the University’s first Visiting Professor from Malaysia

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Published on 17 June 2020

 Dr Bala Shanmugam
Dr Bala Shanmugam

Dr Bala Shanmugam from SEGi university in Mayalsia has been announced as the Faculty of Technology’s latest visiting professor.

Here we meet Dr Bala and find out how the University of Sunderland is set to benefit from his vast experience.


Nice to meet you, Dr Bala. Can you tell us about your various titles and where you hold them?

Yes, I’m currently a Professor at the Research and Innovation Management Centre at SEGi University, Malaysia, as well as Director at the Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence, and Chair of the Islamic Centre for Emerging Technology


And a little about you?

 I am from Taiping in Malaysia and am 65 years old.


Tell us a little about what you are currently working on

My work currently involves supervising PhD candidates while at the same time undertaking research in the areas of Islamic Finance and Fintech.

Over the years I have had worked in different parts of the world in varying vocations and capacities. As an academic, I have taught in Ireland, Australia, India, Middle East, Myanmar, and Malaysia. I have also undertaken projects for UNDP and the World Bank, as well as sitting on the Boards of various Banks. 


So how did you get involved with the University of Sunderland?

In October 2019, SEGi University organised an International Conference.

Some of the invited distinguished speakers at this Conference were ProfessorJohn Macintyre and Professor Alistair Irons from the University of Sunderland.

 As I was the Chairperson for the Conference, I got to know more about the University. 


Now you are part of the university family, what will you be doing? 

I will be helping to coordinate collaborative research, encourage SEGi staff to consider the University of Sunderland for their Doctoral pursuits, and to participate in joint grant proposals as well, as to commercialise our research output. 


What are some of the biggest challenges you are facing in your role? 

We are working on an AI solution known as Artificial Shariah Intelligence to facilitate the smooth flow of Islamic Finance Transactions.

The market for this alternate form of finance tends to be fairly traditional and so the level of acceptance for our product may be limited, at least initially. This I foresee as our biggest challenge. 


And where do you see yourself in five years?

Well, I will be 70 in five years, so I don’t think I shall be an active academic but may act as a mentor to junior staff undertaking research and also perhaps accept advisory roles.


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