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MIDA-UNMC conference facilitates increased industry-academia collaboration

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The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) collaborated to organise the Research Funding and Powering the Innovation Engine Conference on 23 and 24 August, which aimed at increasing industry-academia collaboration. The conference, held at MIDA’s headquarters in KL Sentral, also aimed to present research funding opportunities and grants from leading funding bodies.

The two-day conference was built upon the key focus areas from the 11th Malaysian Education Blueprint, namely research, development, commercialisation and innovation. The conference also strived to combine key areas of the Malaysian Government’s initiative, known as the Malaysian Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is a name for the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 creates what has been called smart industrial systems.

While the conference was mainly a platform to provide information to researchers, it also highlighted the sharing of experiences about national and international funding opportunities for fundamental and applied research. The conference facilitated knowledge sharing of research collaborations between universities and industry. The conference also focused on how universities might work with industry in ‘powering the innovation engine’ with respect to Industry 4.0.

In his welcoming address, YBhg Dato’ Azman Mahmud, Chief Executive Officer of MIDA, said, “Today, as many industries struggle to remain competitive, academia plays a growing role in supporting the industries’ needs through joint undertakings in R&D activities. It is important that research carried out in universities finds its way into companies to enable job creation, company expansion and diversification, and spur the economic growth.”

As at 2016, MIDA has awarded five university-linked companies R&D status, which is a tax efficient way to invest in R&D activity. The five universities are Management and Science University (MSU), University Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC), University Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and Monash University Malaysia.

“As much as we want to ensure that research excellence delivers benefit to the economy and society, we need to ensure that research funding and grants are made available too. MIDA is offering tax incentives for R&D that can be enjoyed by manufacturers with in-house R&D facilities or research service providers. These are some of the resources the government has introduced to encourage innovation, in addition to government assistance given to industries in the promoted areas,” Dato’ Azman Mahmud added.

According to UNMC CEO and Provost Professor Graham Kendall, “As a world class research university, we are well placed to facilitate knowledge sharing and dialogue around leading issues in research and capability building. We are optimistic that the conference will engage leading innovators, research thought leaders and experts, entrepreneurial spirits and resources from the research and the business world.”

The conference was officiated by the Ministry of Higher Education Director General YBhg Datin Paduka Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Binti Tapsir and MIDA CEO Dato’ Azman Mahmud today. It was well-attended by a broad spectrum of interested participants, including academics, researchers, government officials, innovation consultants, venture capitalists and angel investors, as well as entrepreneurs and representatives from start-ups.

The conference deliberations focused on seven themes, namely: National Research Funding Opportunities; Grants and Support for Collaboration with Industry; International Research Funding Opportunities; Sharing Best Practices in Research Funding; R&D Needs and the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Entrepreneurial Ventures and Incubating Innovation.

UNMC’s Vice Provost (Research & Knowledge Exchange) Professor Claire O’Malley said: “We hope that this conference provides a platform for industry and academia to discuss the research and innovation landscape, its many successes and challenges and that it will encourage more research collaborations and funding opportunities to fully realise the social and economic impact of research.”

About UNMC

The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) offers a world-class British education which is ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide.*Designed to reflect University Park Campus in Nottingham, it is a self-contained, vibrant village situated on an attractive and landscaped 125-acre site. The University has around 5,000 students and around 700 teaching and administrative staff from all over the world.According to The Graduate Market in 2016, High Fliers Research, our alumni are among Britain’s top choice for employers. We offer the best of UK education in an Asian setting.
* QS World University Rankings 2016/17.

About MIDA

MIDA is the government's principal promotion agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to oversee and drive investments into the manufacturing and services sectors in Malaysia. Starting operations in 1967 with a relatively small set up of 37 staff, MIDA has grown to become a strong and dynamic organisation of over 700 employees. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, MIDA today has 12 regional and 23 overseas offices. This year as the organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary, MIDA continues to be the strategic partner to businesses in seizing the opportunities arising from the technology revolution of this era.


(Image caption: UNMC’s Head of Business Engagement & Innovation Services Professor Denny Ng, MIDA CEO Datuk Azman Mahmud, Ministry of Higher Education Director General YBhg Datin Paduka Ir Dr Siti Hamisah Binti Tapsir and UNMC’s Vice Provost (Research & Knowledge Exchange) Professor Claire O’Malley at the official opening of the conference)

More information is available from Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on +603 8924 8746, or Jeyasigan Narayanan Nair, Director, Advanced Technology and R&D Division, MIDA on+603 2267 6711,

Posted on 23rd August 2017

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