SHE may be 11 years old, but Maryam Muzamir is already establishing herself as a true inventor.
SK (P) Methodist Kuantan fifth-year student Pahang recently landed not one, not two, but three achievements in her first international competition – winning praise from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the American talk show host James Corden.
The youngest winner among more than 600 participants from 70 countries, she won the award for best young inventor, the special Canadian award and a gold medal at the 6th Canadian International Invention Innovation Competition (iCAN).
In an email interview with StarEdu, Maryam said winning three awards in a prestigious competition like iCan was beyond her expectations.
Sharing his joy, his father Muzamir Hasan said that Maryam’s success proved to him that age is just a number.
“Winning at iCAN is a huge achievement as it is the largest invention competition in North America, especially when there is no specific category,” he added.
For her submission, Maryam designed her soon-to-patent invention named YAM2.0: Sustainable Livestock Feed, which involved recycling food waste from shrimp and sea snail shells into feed for livestock.
Last Thursday, Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi announced that his ministry would contribute at least RM 10,000 to the cost of filing the patent for the creation.
Malaysia’s intellectual property company (MyIPO), Nanta said, would assess the innovation to increase the likelihood of YAM 2.0 being registered under the 1983 patent law.
Citing reports that 15,000 tons of food waste are produced in Malaysia daily, Maryam said her inspiration came from trips to seafood restaurants, where she saw large numbers of shells thrown away.
Combined with the knowledge that these shells contain chitin, which is good for livestock, and that meat prices are rising due to the expensive materials used in conventional livestock feed, she set out to invent a sustainable and cheaper alternative. .
His attempt, however, encountered challenges such as determining the exact proportion of materials used to maintain nutrients and taste.
Thanks to the support of Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), where her father works as an associate professor, and the engineering company Global Lab Engineering Sdn Bhd, which helped her perform laboratory tests, she was able to overcome them after several rounds of trial and error.
Maryam explained that American sitcom The Big Bang Theory – which revolves around the lives of scientists and their careers – first sparked her fascination with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Aspiring to become a professor in STEM-related fields, Maryam said she was also inspired by Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist who advocates improving the environment by reducing food waste.
Before entering innovation competitions, Maryam had entered several science and math competitions, from which she was encouraged to develop her own inventions.
She had won gold medals in three other innovation competitions – at the Creation, Innovation, Technology and Research 2020 and 2021 exhibition organized by the UMP, and at the International Research Invention, Innovation and Exhibition 2021 organized by Universiti Teknologi Mara.
When she found out about iCAN 2021 from her father, she decided to give it a go, she said.
Muzamir said invention contests like iCAN are “good platforms for displaying knowledge and skills, and more importantly for unleashing the potential of students.” “By participating in competitions like this, it shows that the Malaysians are on a par, if not better, than competitors from other countries,” he added.
Participants in iCAN 2021 were required to submit several documents, including a poster, brochure, technical reports, cost analysis reports and presentation slides.
For the finals, which took place on August 28, the competing finalists had to prepare a video explaining their inventions.
iCAN 2021 was organized by the Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills and supported by Innovation Initiative Co-operative Inc, the International Federation of Inventors Associations and the World Invention Intellectual Property Associations.
Shinz Jo, 17, a student in Penang, participates in the BRAT program for young journalists led by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. Throughout the year-long program, participants aged 14-22 from across the country experience the lives of journalists, contributing ideas, conducting interviews and doing editorial work. To join the Star-NiE online youth community, visit facebook.com/niebrats.