Dr Adham: National spending on R&D still low

In Malaysia, only 15.8% of researchers are employed by industries while 79.2% are based in institutions of higher learning


MALAYSIA currently spends only about 24.5% on activities involving prototyping, pioneering and product improvements and shortcomings investment in pre-commercialisation experimental research activities.

Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (picture) said to address this, at least 50% of funds for research and development (R&D) have been allocated under the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2021-2030 for pre-commercialisation research activities.

“If we compare our GDP in the field of R&D to other developed countries, there is ample space and opportunities for us to drive a more innovative economy which is superior to other countries.

“In other highly innovative countries, they spend more than 50% of GDP to produce value-added products and services,” he said at the announcement ceremony of Top Research Scientists Malaysia (TRSM) 2021, virtually yesterday.

Dr Adham also noted that most “innovation-driven” countries have more than 40% of their researchers employed in the industrial sector.

He said in Malaysia, however, only 15.8% of researchers are employed by industries while 79.2% are based in institutions of higher learning.

“To address this gap, Mosti is studying appropriate mechanisms to increase the percentage of researchers in the industrial sector.

“One of the initiatives being undertaken by the ministry is the Researcher Industry Scientific Exchange, which enables the placement of researchers in the industrial sector to boost productivity,” he added.

TRSM is an initiative by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) to recognise scientists who are leading experts and have gained various achievements in their respective fields at the national and international levels.

Under the initiative, a total of 22 scientists from various fields of expertise were honoured for their significant contributions and outstanding achievements in the field of Malaysian science, technology, innovation and economy (MySTIE).

All TRSM recipients will be absorbed as reference members and mentors to next generation scientists which are in line with the STI national agenda.

Over the past decade, ASM has recognised a total of 134 TRSM recipients from 5,500 profiles of STI talent in Malaysia.

Commenting further, Dr Adham said MySTIE has developed a 10-10 Framework as a catalyst to realise Malaysia’s aspirations in the field of science and to become a nation which is capable of producing high-impact and competitive programmes on a global level.

He added that the framework connects the 10 key socioeconomic drivers of Malaysia with 10 international leading science and technology drivers.

As such, Dr Adham said Mosti has developed a roadmap together with ASM to maximise the use of the 10-10 MySTIE Framework.

He noted that the roadmap includes vaccine development roadmaps, robotics, nanotechnology, hydrogen economics, start-up companies, venture capital, blockchain chain and more.

“Mosti is also working to develop and implement national policies related to key technology domains such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and nuclear technology, of which ASM played a major role in the effort.

“For the record, to date, the 10-10 MySTIE Framework report has been downloaded over 5,000 times by users from 49 countries and this number is increasing over time.

“This proves that the framework also serves as a strategic guide for other countries,” he added.