• Awareness & Appreciation Programme

    Public Education & Tours

    SBC has recognised the importance of public awareness and appreciation towards related biotechnology applications and initiatives.


    The objectives of SBC’s Biodiversity-Biotechnology Awareness and Appreciation Programme are to:

    • provide opportunities for the general public to participate in the Centre’s Awareness and Appreciation programme and enhance appreciation for the State’s rich biodiversity and her biotechnology initiatives
    • organize seminars and forums that focus on biodiversity-biotechnology topics, targeted at policy makers, key government officials, members of the academia, researchers and scientists, industry representatives and the media
    • collate and disseminate accurate and factual information on biodiversity-biotechnology to the general public via the media, publications and interactive sessions such as exhibitions, seminars, forums, public lectures and dialogue sessions

    Under the programme, SBC provides the platform and opportunities for the general public and specific target groups (e.g. scientists, researchers, policy makers, business/industry players, investors) to share experience and ideas, and to discuss trends, directions and issues relating to biodiversity, bioprospecting and R&D through seminars, workshops, conferences, forums, public lectures, dialogue sessions and exhibitions.

    University of Puget Sound, Washington

    SBC also provides opportunities for members of the public, particularly students from schools and higher institutions of learning to learn about the State’s rich biodiversity, the value of Traditional Knowledge of the indigenous communities, biotechnology applications in bioprospecting and career prospects in related fields through Appreciation Visits to SBC, talks at schools/institutions and organizations and career talks in schools.

  • Biodiversity Garden

    The Biodiversity Garden Programme supports SBC’s  Traditional Knowledge Documentation Programme, R&D Programme and Awareness and Appreciation Programme.

    IMG 1299

    This programme contributes towards enhanced awareness and appreciation towards the State’s indigenous plants among all levels of society, creating a better understanding towards the uses of these plants, providing sufficient raw material for research on plants that may have potential in areas of product development, commercialization or drug discovery.

    The Biodiversity Garden also provides a site for ex-situ conservation of useful indigenous plants collected under the Traditional Knowledge Documentation Programme.

    Emphasis is put on the collection, propagation and planting of Sarawak’s indigenous flora, particularly useful plants that are used by the indigenous communities in the State.

  • R&D Bioprospecting

    Sarawak is well-endowed with a diverse wealth of biological resources i.e. biodiversity, that potentially have unique applications in healthcare, agriculture, and industries. Bioprospecting of the biodiversity to discover potential and useful applications very much depends on implementing a highly robust R&D programme involving various scientific tools including biotechnology.


    Biotechnology makes use of knowledge of the biological system to generate useful bio-products and applications for our everyday life such as medicines, food and the environment. Biotechnology and the development of bio-industries has also been earmarked as an engine of growth for the State and country.

    SBC’s R&D Programme focuses on making discoveries in biological resources that would lead to the development of herbal therapies, nutraceuticals, cosmaceuticals for health-care and pharmaceutical drugs for countering diseases such as cancer and infectious agents. The programme also aims to discover chemicals and enzymes from our biological resources that would be useful over a broad range of applications as industrial related products such as essential oils, bio-pesticides and commercial dyes.

    The objectives of this programme are to:

    • continously develop a unique library of natural products from useful plants and microbes
    • screen for anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-bacteria, anti-inflammatory and anti-protease compounds from SBC's natural products library
    • isolate and sequence genes from useful microbes that have medicinal and industrial applications
    • develop plant tissue culture capabilities for mass propagation and genetic transformation
    • develop analytical skills for structural determination of bioactive compounds
    • train and develop the State’s human resources in the field of biotechnology
    • attract scientific collaboration and investments from biotech/pharmaceutical companies
    • assist in the development of the bioindustry in the State by providing potential bio-products for commercialization 

    Well-equipped and specialized laboratories

    The R&D Programme is supported 7 well-equipped and specialized laboratories and staffed with trained scientists who work in a conducive environment intended for innovative research.

    SBC's research facilities also provide the State with the means to bioprospect its biodiversity through R&D and share the benefits made from the discoveries with the people. The discoveries will consequently provide a pipeline of bio-products for the bioindustry to jump-start and generate future economical returns and revenues for the State.

  • Traditional Knowledge (TK) Documentation

    Sarawak has more than 28 ethnic groups which can be broadly categorized into the following groups: Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau, and Malay. Each of these ethnic groups has inherited a rich array of traditional knowledge from their ancestors, much of which has not been documented.  This knowledge includes centuries of practice on how to grow food and to survive in their environment. Such utilization and management of natural resources by indigenous people, perfected over a period of time is known as traditional knowledge.

    Plant collection during the Traditional Knowledge workshop

    While many of the older generation in these communities still retain traditional knowledge, there is a concern about the loss of knowledge as a result of changing lifestyles, priorities, the availability of modern amenities and the diminishing dependence of indigenous communities on natural resources. This has made it increasingly important that Traditional Knowledge is documented by the respective indigenous communities and retained as heritage so that it will not be lost.

    With the rush for natural products development and bioprospecting from the world’s natural resources, it has become even more important to document Traditional Knowledge to ensure that the indigenous communities who have practiced such knowledge over the centuries are duly acknowledged should their knowledge be used in the development of natural products or bioprospecting.

    Indigenous elder describing plant to SBC officer

    The main objective of the Traditional Knowledge Documentation Programme carried out by the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre is to facilitate the local indigenous communities in the State in preserving their Traditional Knowledge through proper recording or documenting techniques.  Such efforts are carried out through capacity building workshops that provide the local communities with necessary skills such as documentation techniques, propagation, and management of useful indigenous plants.

    The project also encourages local indigenous communities to cultivate useful indigenous plants for their own uses, as landscape for their surroundings and for awareness and appreciation purposes.

    Summary of Plants Collected by Communities

    Community No. of Plants Documented
    Bidayuh (10 Sites) 1,183
    Iban (27 Sites) 1,467
    Kelabit (4 Sites) 500
    Lun Bawang (7 Sites) 640
    Penan (8 Sites) 1,112
    Kayan (4 Sites) 251
    Kenyah (5 Sites) 303
    Melanau (6 Sites) 252
    Selako (1 Site) 112
    Kedayan (Mixed with Iban & Lun Bawang - 1 Site) 85
    Tabun (1 Site) 51
    Bisaya (2 Sites) 30
    Punan (1 Site) 39
    Malay (9 Sites) 198
    Beketan (1 Site) 35
    Sa'ban (1 Site) 79
    Sekapan (1 Site) 33
    Tanjong (1 Site) 24
    Tagal (1 Site) 20
    Berawan (1 Site) 22
    Total 6,430
    No. of Plant Species (Identified) 1,713