PETALING JAYA: More is being spent on research, but its impact on the nation leaves much to be desired.
According to a recent World Bank report, much emphasis is being placed on increasing the quantity of research and development (R&D) and innovation but not necessarily its quality or academia’s links with industry.
Published in October last year, the “Assessing the Effectiveness of Public Research Institutions: Fostering Knowledge Linkages and Transferring Technology in Malaysia” report called for improving the effectiveness of public research to benefit society.
Most funding in Malaysia is focused on applied research but this has not brought high levels of technology transfer, said the report.
The government allocated RM400mil for R&D initiatives under various ministries and agencies under Budget 2021.
High expenditure on applied research does not translate into high levels of commercialisation of research outputs or technology transfer to industry, the report read.
“Transferring knowledge and innovation can play a vital role in advancing overall productivity and competitiveness of an economy, ” it said, adding that there will be positive spillover effects on the local community.
“Few success stories exist of public research organisations and higher educational institutes producing society-centric research.
“This has raised concerns over the efficacy of the government’s efforts to inculcate a culture of producing impactful research.”
Academy of Sciences Malaysia president Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail said more funds should go into experimental development for Malaysia to be a high-tech nation by 2030.
“We must reduce the innovation chasm between academia and industry by linking technology and innovation to the economy, ” she said, adding that home-grown technologies can be used to create social enterprises.
Datuk Dr Hamzah Kassim, a former consultant to public varsities, called for greater engagement between academia and industry.
He said there are impactful projects being done but not enough is done to develop, market and promote these innovations.
Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor said the varsity is embarking on a new journey towards achieving its new vision “to be a global university impacting the world”.
Prof Mohd Hamdi, who was recently appointed Asian Universities Alliance executive president, said UM’s international counterparts are among its top priorities.