24 August, Kuala Lumpur – The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) held its inaugural international research conference titled “Funding Research on a Changing Landscape” on 24th and 25th August 2016. This conference was organised as a joint collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA). The conference highlighted prominent research funding opportunities and featured critical topics dedicated to explore new opportunities and support from the various funding bodies.
Dato’ Azman Mahmud, CEO of MIDA said, “The theme for this conference is very relevant and timely in the face of today’s market demands, emerging technologies and rising competition. As research creates the basis for innovations, we need to ensure an effective balance in funding all areas of innovation. We seek to avoid a situation whereby the best researchers withdraw from doing research in Malaysia due to limited financial means.”
“Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the focus is on translating ideas or inventions into goods or services. As such, MIDA is stepping up our efforts to drive stronger R&D linkages between the industry, and tertiary & research institutions.Our focus is not just about absolute value of investments, but the expansion of the ecosystem as well. By strengthening the innovation ecosystem, we will develop a conducive environment to foster trust among all stakeholders. This will lead towards an improved national innovation ecosystem that enables Malaysia to bring creative outputs to the market and share resources,” added Dato’ Azman.
MIDA offers R&D incentive programmes that can be enjoyed by manufacturers with in-house R&D facility or research service providers. As to date, MIDA has approved 167 R&D projects with total investments of RM2.27 billion. These comprise of 72 Contract R&D, 54 In-House R&D, 26 approved R&D companies and 15 R&D Status companies. These R&D projects have brought innovative technologies to the industries in Malaysia. Notable projects include the service on tele-radiology in tele-medicine for the healthcare sector, formulation of active pharmaceutical ingredient for generic pharmaceutical, and the development of integrated nano-layered stretch films for industrial packaging materials.
The two-day conference is set to provide a stimulating international forum for exploring funding opportunities related to research in the widest sense and from a range of different perspectives. The conference also offers a diverse range of speakers.
- With a theme of “Government Grant Opportunities”,
the first session on the first day of the conference featured a panel on the
governmental grants and supports that are available for universities and
companies to conduct research and development (R&D) and subsequently,
commercialisation. The panel consisted of Professor Dr Raha binti Abdul
Rahim, Director of the Higher Education Excellence Planning, Ministry of
Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia, and Puan Nordina binti Idris, Secretary
of Fund Division, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI),
Malaysia. The first day of the conference continued with the second session
titled “Grants in Collaboration with Industry” where the panel delved into
grants and supports that are available from the respective funding
organisations to promote industry-driven research collaboration. The panel consisted of Ms. Lim Bee Vian, Executive
Director, Services Development (RESC & R&D and Business Services) MIDA,
Dr Viraj Perera, CEO of PlaTCOM Ventures Sdn Bhd, Mr Jaffri Ibrahim,
CEO of Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST), Mr
Razman Shah Rajab, CEO of Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC), and Ms
Pak Mei Yuet, Head of Technology Ecosystem of Malaysia Digital Economy
Corporation (MDEC). The next session focused on “Internationally Funded and
Collaborative Grants” where it featured a panel on the funding schemes and
objectives, as well as introducing the availability and eligibility for
applications. The panel consisted of Ms Ida Semurni, Programme Director of
Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), Ms Karen
Welsh, Counsellor (Education and Science) at Australian High Commission,
and Professor Claire O’Malley, Vice-Provost of Research and Knowledge
Exchange at UNMC. The first day of the conference concluded with a feature
presentation titled “Engaging with Business: Sharing of Best Practices” by Dr
Angelina Yee, Head of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at UNMC.
- The second and final day of the conference will be starting off with a session titled “Post-Research Opportunities” to introduce funding schemes from the respective funding organisations and subsequently, the eligibility for applications. The panel consist of Mr Junaidi Said, CEO of Human Life Advancement Foundation (HLAF), Mr Azman Hood, Vice President of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, and Mr Mohammad Hazani Hj. Hassan, Director of Technology Ventures Division for Malaysia Technology Development Corporation (MTDC). The next session titled “R&D Needs and Challenges in Business Sectors” will feature the focused industries of chamber’s members in general and sharing of the R&D needs of companies in both domestic and internal perspectives. The panel consisted of Mr David Ng, Deputy Chairman of British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC), and Mr Roberto Benetello, Chairman of EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI). The final day of the conference will continue with a session titled “Funds and Supports for Entrepreneurial Ventures” to introduce the funds and supports available for new start-ups and the selection criteria for applications. The panel consisted of Puan Norita Ja’afar, Chief Operating Officer of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Mr Raiyo Nariman, Managing Director and Partner of Mercatus Venture Sdn Bhd, and Dr Rosalind Tan, Partner and Vice President at Expara Pte Ltd. The final session of the conference titled “Managing Research: Sharing of Best Practices”, features key presentations by Professor Graham Kendall, Provost and CEO of UNMC, and Dr Suhaila Sanip, Director of Education and Research Services, University of Southampton (Malaysia). The panelists will share on the research management of their respective international universities and the key factors in deciding the research focuses at institutional level.
In her closing speech, Ms Deepa Kumari Veerasingam, Head of Graduate School at UNMC, said, Universities should be looking beyond government support. Low success rates for grant proposals should not deter faculty members with active research programs from requesting support from foundations, donors, state agencies, and private business as these agencies have become increasingly important in the funding game. The conference was a timely opportunity to highlight a range of funding opportunities to enable individuals and groups to pursue world-class research.
The University if Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) opened in September 2000 to become the first branch campus of a British university in Malaysia and one of the first in the world – earning the distinction of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2001 and the Queen’s Award for Industry (International Trade) 2006. A friendly atmosphere, world-class teaching and extensive facilities make it a popular choice for Malaysian and international students, as well as exchange students from Nottingham; students represent around 70 different nationalities. All teaching is in English and the campus forms a full and integral part of The University of Nottingham.