KUALA LUMPUR: The current lack of research product commercialisation by research institutions and low adoption of technology would lead to lower productivity of firms in Malaysia.
In order for firms to stay competitive, World Bank senior economist Smita Kuriakose (pic) said firms should integrate research products into their production processes which would allow them to become more proactive.
“We need an ecosystem, not just technology centres, that can effectively translate research into commercialisation, whereby the industry can adopt this research to introduce new products and technologies to gain the competitive edge.
“Research organisations value publishing papers and not value commercialisation of research, ” she said during the virtual National Electrical & Electronics (E&E) forum 2020 organised by Malaysia Productivity Corp and E&E Productivity Nexus.
According to the World Bank, the R&D expenditure in the country declined to 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 from 1.4% in 2016.
Among the speakers present in forum was also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who proposed that the E&E sector would be the country’s driver in becoming a high-tech and high-income nation.
As Malaysia finalises the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), Mustapa disclosed that several strategies of E&E development would be crafted in the plan to ensure that the industry contributes a higher percentage to the country’s gross domestic product.
Meanwhile, Smita said the government has moved towards a performance-based budgeting system, whereby research institutions are asked to produce their key performance indicators.
Another way for firms to be more productive in the country is for the industry to play a more pivotal role by investing in human resources, she added.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has taught firms to reskill and upskill their employees in the short term.
“The industry needs to look at training talents as an integral part of their business model, ” Smita said.
Moving forward, she pointed out that firms would need talent who are critical thinkers and easily adaptable to fast-paced technology.
Citing the World Bank’s report on “Assessing the Effectiveness of Public Research Institutions”, Smita pointed out that “technology centres in Malaysia are not equipped with the ‘right personnels’.”
This can deter access to research for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“These personnels are the real conduits that make sure SMEs have access to research done in research centres.
“If you don’t have the right skill mix, you will miss the opportunity to facilitate that flow of knowledge, ” she said.
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