KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Every day, millions of ideas are generated the world over.
However, the process of bringing those ideas to fruition is a challenge that not many can rise up to; even more so to have a product at the end that is sellable to the open market.
With this in mind, the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI), was recently launched under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.
It is meant to drive higher “return on ideas” in research and development to the commercialisation space.
MRANTI is the combination of Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
Its primary focus will be to accelerate commercialisation of technology by nurturing strong partnerships and strategic collaborations between the industries and academia, which will in turn bridge the gap to bring about impactful research through patented inventions, and ready-to-use technologies.
“The synergy brings together the best of both TPM and MaGIC. This is a convergence for continuous innovation,” said TPM chief executive officer Dzuleira Abu Bakar.
She added that the consolidation of TPM and MaGIC will achieve holistic support for commercialisation as Malaysia strives towards achieving the larger goal of becoming a high-tech and high-income nation.
MRANTI is set to create strong network branching across diverse industries, and a solid foundation rooted in technology and innovation to elevate Malaysians to the global stage.
It will start its operations in January 2022 and serve as a one-stop agency with resources to support technology development, market access, prototyping and testing, funding,
facilitation and more.
“We have been looking at the gaps and opportunities within the technology and commercialisation ecosystem in Malaysia.
“The starting point was, what we can do to increase the number of commercialised entities in Malaysia, how do we accelerate technology and how do we accelerate the number or growth of the number of technology companies in Malaysia.”
The future is now
Dzuleira said MRANTI’s objective was to move the country from being technology users to technology producers.
“If you think about start-ups in Malaysia, we do not have enough that we can shout about,” she said.
Among the key activities undertaken are engagement sessions with stakeholders from universities, public and private sectors, reviewing of business and operations models of other similar agencies for best practices when it comes to programmes, innovation centres, and more and organisational and cultural belief to drive change.
MRANTI aims to enable Malaysian research to be more mission focused.
According to Dzuleira, MRANTI is developing an Ideas to Impact blueprint.
“We are looking creatively at ways to spur the development of products and solutions which can be more affordable, available and accessible towards improving quality of life for all Malaysians.”
“In a nutshell, we have been formulating the strategies to ensure that MRANTI is able to move innovation forward - with speed, the right support structures and systems, synergies, towards a sustainable future.”
Malaysia’s scientific research output increased by 4.5 times between 2008 and 2018.
However, recent data from the Malaysian Science and Technology Information Centre (MASTIC) show that the country’s commercialisation rates sit anywhere between 5 to10 per cent, a drop from 8.3 per cent from between 2005 and 2015.
Meanwhile, countries such as China and Korea have commercialisation rates at above 30 per cent, and the rates in highly developed economies such as Japan and USA are reportedly as high as 60 per cent.
Under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), MRANTI is slated to be a key agency to achieve the Policy Enabler 2 Accelerating Technology Adoption and Innovation.
Malaysia will also address the issues of insufficient digital infrastructure and services, fragmented governance, widening digital divide, low research, development, commercialisation and innovation (R&D&C&I) capacity and capability, and slow adoption of technologies.
“R&D&C&I will be intensified and Malaysia will also aggressively attract investment in the digital economy to become the regional leader.
“The focus will be on mainstreaming digitalisation for inclusive development, accelerating R&D&C&I as well as capitalising on the potential of advanced technology.”
Two game changers in accelerating technology adoption and innovation have been identified.
They are enhancing digital connectivity for inclusive development and aligning R&D towards commercialisation, wealth generation and economic growth.
It is also expected that 2.5 per cent gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) to the gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to enhance national competitiveness and resilience.
“This will better prepare Malaysia to be a high technology-based economy.
“MRANTI’s mandate is to take the ecosystem forward. It is a one-stop agency with the resources to accelerate commercialisation of innovative ideas/concepts. The premise is to enable Malaysian research to be more mission focussed — from ideas to impact.”
MRANTI will contribute to the realisation of 12MP for a 70 per cent business enterprise expenditure on R&D (BERD) to GERD, to achieve Top 20 position in the Global Innovation Index; and have 500 products/solutions commercialised through the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) and Malaysia Commercialisation Year (MCY).
Under the recent Budget 2022 announcement, TPM/MRANTI has been allocated RM30 million for it to be upgraded into an 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) International Innovation Hub where the aim is to impact 5,000 technopreneurs and develop 15 intellectual properties in 2022.
TPM will also play host to the first Artificial Intelligence Park in Malaysia and provide an ecosystem which encourages integration of various technologies.
The hub will act as a centre of excellence and support the innovation ecosystem by developing new technology clusters such as drones, robotics and autonomous vehicles.
There is also the ambition to enlist SMEs, incubatees or start-ups in the facilities which will be fitted with 5G technology.
MRANTI will also promote commercialisation from “grassroots to market” through a number of ways.
This includes a programme comprising four components: National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), International Innovation Hub (IIH) and working together with community, university and entrepreneurs.
She said it was hoped that with the steps taken by MRANTI, the depth and quality of Malaysia’s IP bank could be increased besides training IP valuers and registering the country’s IPs globally.
“With MRANTI, we don’t want discoveries to just be discoveries. We are bringing them out of the laboratories and into real life to unlock more socio-economic value.
“It’s about scalability, with speed, through synergy. As we serve the larger goal of becoming a high-tech and high-income nation that is globally competitive, we need to play the real catch up game.
She added that the key to this was to take a whole of government and quadruple helix collaboration approach where MRANTI will link the web of partnerships within and outside the ecosystem to catalyse the technology and innovation agenda.
“We have a lot to do. We welcome investors and corporations who wish to strengthen the ecosystem by way of funding, market access, technical expertise and more.”