Be Game-Changers – Not Followers, UKM Researchers Urged
By Saiful Bahri Kamatuddin
Pix Ikhwan Hashim
BANGI, 15 April 2015 – Malaysia must create markets that do not exist today in order to leap ahead to become an advanced nation by the year 2050.
Fellow of the Academy of Science Malaysia Datuk Dr. Mazlan Othman said the country needs to find new niche economic areas where its industries can lead and better still – be the game changers.
Giving her keynote address at the 15th Postgraduate Colloquium of the National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) Science and Technology Faculty here today titled ‘Malaysia In 2050: The R&D Strategy Roadmap To Get Us There’ Dr Mazlan, the former UKM lecturer said one way to achieve all of these is to forecast what the world will be in the future.
Dr Mazlan said the academy’s Mega Science Agenda: Malaysia 2050 is trying to envision that future and identified science, technology and innovation research and development opportunities and interventions.
The academy is also preparing industrial sectored road maps to the year 2050.
Among the issues that needed more action were urbanisation, debt, the environment, sustainability and Ageing.
“Malaysians have to be game-changers and not followers if they are to make a lasting impact in Research and Development. The secret of being a game-changer is one must anticipate something new and drive the market.
“See something new, not be market-driven. You have to anticipate the future; that’s where your advantage will be,” Dr Mazlan declared.
She urged scientists to look beyond 2020 because it will be too late for them to make an impact if they had not already anticipated much earlier what would happen then.
“We need to forecast the state of the world in 2050; As far as you are concerned, 2020 is gone and we can see that now. Research planning now is for beyond 2020,” she explained.
In order to prepare for 2050, we must already have some projects in the works now.
She and other researchers agreed that by 2050, some of the services available would be flying cars, space tourism, hypersonic travel, neurotechnology, artificial eyes and 3D and 4D printing.
Also present at the opening of the two-day colloquium was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Partnerships), Prof. Dr. Imran Ho Abdullah, FST Faculty Dean Prof Dr Sharim Hj Ahmad and Deputy Dean (Postgraduate and International Relations) Prof Dr Mohd Salmi Md Noorani.
Dr Mazlan is an astrophysicist and a pioneering figure in the field of space science in Malaysia. She is the current director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna, Austria. She obtained her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Otago, New Zealand, in 1981, and was the first woman to do so since the university was founded.