Prof. Dr Vikneswaran Nair, President of DISTED College, was awarded the inaugural Asian Tourism Research Conference (ATRC) RACE (Research, Academic Excellence & Community Engagement) Award of Excellence during the 2nd Asian Tourism Research Conference (ATRC) 2021 organised by the Far Eastern University, Manilla. Philippines, in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi University, India.


The ATRC RACE Award of Excellence is an award given to an exceptional tourism and hospitality educator for his/her significant scientific and outstanding contributions in the areas of research, academic involvement, and community engagement in Asia.


Let’s hear from Prof. Dr Vikneswaran on the reason the Award was given to him:


“After more than two decades in higher education, I have contributed immensely through my scholarly journey in all areas categorized in this award. I have been an active scholar, despite my senior management role. I have maintained a high personal commitment to my discipline with my research, consultancy, keynote presentations, professional bodies, and publication works. I have received recognitions/accolades for my significant contributions to my field and profession at the national and international levels.


As the founding director of the Centre for Research & Development (CRD) of Taylor’s University, Malaysia, I provided the leadership and mentorship in research and enterprise; developing, facilitating, and implementing a strategic research and enterprise direction and framework for the School and the University, including effective stewardship of its resources which is critical in a private university. As the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of The Bahamas, I pioneered introducing The Bahama’s first Doctoral programme.


One of my leading roles at Taylor’s University and University of The Bahamas is to facilitate the growth in research by developing the School and the University’s research agenda, which includes the mentoring mechanism for early researchers and students. I introduced a series of workshops like the New Academic Staff Induction programme, emphasizing research and publications in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary programmes of study in both these institutions.


I played a leading role in developing most of the academic policies and procedures related to research and graduate programme for Taylor’s University and the University of The Bahamas. All policies created were in line with international academic standards. I have successfully managed the internal and external funding application as chair of the Research and Scholarly Development Committee (RSDC) and chair of the Grants Committee. Targeted events are organised to maintain the existing external sponsors and potential new sponsors both nationally and internationally.


In my experience in Malaysia and The Bahamas, I have played a critical role in identifying opportunities for contract research, consultancy services and establishing links with all national and international bodies to promote innovative public-private partnerships (PPP) through my effective interpersonal negotiation and networking skills. As a result, both the institutions successfully had a healthy alternative income via these external services rendered by the academics to the community at large. I provided the leadership in research and enterprise, developing, facilitating, and implementing a strategic research and enterprise direction and framework for the School and the University, including effective stewardship of its resources with clear accountability and monitoring, which is critical in a private university. Technical papers were presented to the management and adopted accordingly.


This Award will motivate me further to contribute immensely to higher education, especially now, as the world moves into a new normal, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”