NEW YORK: Malaysia stands poised to expand the role of technology as a tool for economic development, thanks to the Governments commitment towards promoting research and development.
R&D Magazine, in its Global R&D Report, said the Malaysian Governments efforts in promoting R&D enterprises had resulted in increases in R&D intensity, growing from 0.4% of the countrys GDP in 1998 to 0.7% in 2002.
In 2005, this had increased to 3.19% and for next year, it would rise to 3.38%, it said.
Government policies included special tax exemption for expanding industrial support of R&D, expanded permission for collaboration with foreign R&D supporting institutions and the development of strong research infrastructure.
The R&D enterprise of Malaysia is, by comparison with other countries, broadly underdeveloped, but spurred by both internal and external events, government efforts at promoting R&D have resulted in quite measurable increases in R&D intensity, it said.
Funding for R&D came from industry (51.5%), government (32.1%), academia (4.9%) and funds from abroad (11.5%).
There were 7,411 researchers involved in R&D and another 1,437 technicians.
In 2004, there were 91 patents registered while this year, the number went up to 120, with 160 for 2006.
Malaysia was among six Asian countries that were among 33 countries reviewed in the report.
The report identified three distinct groups when characterising trends in R&D countries well established in R&D, countries whose R&D history is growing slowly from a more conservative or confined system of economic diversity; and those experiencing major growth in investment.
According to a Battelle-R&D Magazine report, worldwide R&D funding was expected to reach an all-time high of US$1tril in 2006, an increase driven in part by rapid growth in Asia that was expected to continue for five to ten years more.
A major source of the increase in R&D funding in that part of the world was outsourcing from other nations, most significantly the United States.
This report sheds further light on the continuing trend toward greater globalisation of R&D, said Dr Jules Duga, senior research scientist at Battelle.
Battelle is a global science and technology enterprise that develops and commercialises technology and manages laboratories for customers.