The Merdeka Award aims to promote the pursuit of excellence, and while its main aim is to recognise and celebrate those who have made significant and lasting contributions to Malaysia and Malaysians, it also, through its activities, aims to promote thought leadership and innovation, foster a culture of excellence and encourage a world-view. The Grant for International Attachment is one of several ways it is doing this.
The attachment aims to help the recipient build on his or her expertise by undergoing a learning experience in an institution or organisation of international repute, and improving the Grantee’s body of work and achievements. We believe that to achieve this, the recipient must first have a strong foundation in their area of study, and a plan to pursue this area of study in the long-term. The Grant therefore is most likely to benefit those in this age group.
Recipients will be identified through a stringent 3-step process.
First, the Merdeka Award Secretariat will evaluate all applications and develop a longlist of possible candidates in each of the categories. The Secretariat will then research each candidate on the longlist to ensure they meet the requirements of the Grant.
The longlist will then be handed over to a Selection Committee appointed by the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees. This Selection Committee is made up of representatives of the founding partners as well as any sponsors that the programme has. The Selection Committee will review the longlist and identify a shortlist of candidates, who will then be invited to an interview with the Committee.
Following the interviews, the Selection Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who will make the final selection.
The Merdeka Award will try to arrange for the recipient to go to an appropriate institution in their field of expertise. This will also be dependent on the availability and acceptance of the recipient by the host institution.
The value of the Grant varies, depending on the proposed institution of study and the related costs that come with it. There is no fixed amount. However, the Merdeka Award operates as a trust and its funds need to be expended responsibly and for the maximum benefit of Malaysia and Malaysians. The value of the Grant must therefore be within reasonable limits as defined by the Merdeka Award Secretariat.
The Grant application process requires would-be recipients to submit a proposed budget for their attachment, which will be evaluated by the Merdeka Award Secretariat. Once the budget, which covers all reasonable costs required for the execution of the attachment, has been allocated, it will be the responsibility of the recipient to manage their funds while on attachment. Any shortfalls will have to be covered by the recipient.
No, there is no employment bond linked to the Grant. However, the recipient will be required to attend a number of speaking and publicity engagements designed to share the Grant recipient’s experiences and learnings with other young Malaysians. The terms of this arrangement are outlined in the Terms of Engagement agreement that the Merdeka Award Grant recipient will be required to sign with the Merdeka Award Secretariat.
Under the Terms of Engagement, the Merdeka Award Grant recipient will be required to execute the following, under the supervision of the Merdeka Award Secretariat:
Make a minimum of 3x weekly postings on his / her experiences on the Merdeka Award Facebook & Twitter accounts, over the course of the preparation for the attachment, the attachment itself and for a period of 3 months upon his / her return to Malaysia.
Reach out to and engage with Malaysians and non-Malaysian students in similar or related areas of study, to build the recipient’s network of contacts and colleagues around the world
Conduct a minimum of 6x speaking engagements upon his / her return to Malaysia, over the course of one year
To make himself / herself available to the Merdeka Award Secretariat for interviews and other publicity initiatives for a period of one year after his / her return.
No, the recipient will have to adhere to the start and end dates of the attachment as arranged between the Merdeka Award and the host institution, and arrange to return to Malaysia within a specified period of the attachment ending, as outlined in the Terms of Engagement.