By S. Sivaselvam
Pics by Saliman Leman
LANGKAWI, June 22, 2011 – UKM has already begun implementing the Higher Education Ministry’s Action Plan on Developing Innovative Human Capital for technical and higher education that was only recently launched.
In lauding this, the Director-General of Higher Education in the ministry, Professor Dato’ Dr Rujhan Mustafa, credited the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin for UKM taking the first step, which involves curriculum development and carving pathways to bring research to the marketplace.
“UKM’s initiatives towards providing quality education to produce innovative and entrepreneurial human resource, creating successful pathways from R&D to innovation and commercialisation, and engaging with communities is highly commendable and in line with Malaysia’s New Economic Model.
“These efforts are also complementary with the various initiatives that the ministry is embarking upon under the 10th Malaysia Plan in innovative human capital development.”
In closing the four-day Workshop here on Capacity Building for Academic Entrepreneurship and Innovation for UKM Deans and University Leaders under the joint collaboration of UKM and Stevens Institute of Technology of the US last evening, he felt that the outcome of the workshop can be a model for other universities in Malaysia to follow.
Dato’ Rujhan expressed the ministry’s full support for the UKM-Stevens collaboration, saying he was pleased to learn that the successful pilot project between the two had already resulted in UKM progressively bringing technologies to the commercialisation stage through the establishment of UKM start-up companies.
He said universities in Malaysia have a challenging path ahead towards R&D commercialisation, and in developing academic programmes that enable graduates to be employed, self-employed and generating employment for the community.
The national target in 2009 was to generate RM35 million from R&D commercialisation, and RM20.85 million was achieved.
In 2010, the target was RM40 million of which RM28.5 million was achieved, while for 2011, RM25 million is the target, “and we hope that this can be achieved, and perhaps even exceeded.”
“On average, universities in Malaysia have a 5 percent success rate in commercialising their R&D, and I would like to see this increased multifold with better awareness, effective R&D commercialisation infrastructure, and capacity building programmes such as that which UKM has with Stevens,” he added.
Congratulating UKM and Stevens for pioneering such an effective collaborative effort, which is in tandem, and in harmony, with the national higher education strategic plan in creating innovative human capital, Dato’ Rujhan said: “We provided funding for last year’s programme and will continue to support this excellent initiative with Stevens,” he added.
About 50 faculty deans, directors of institutes and university leaders attended the workshop, where they assessed academic entrepreneurship and its process, and drew up strategic plans on how best to implement the initiative.