Research Universities Facing Constraints In Expansion Due To Private Sector Unwillingness

Last update: 08/05/2014

KUALA LUMPUR -- Research universities are facing constraints to expand their research due to the private sector's unwillingness to turn research and development (R&D) into part and parcel of the industry.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Prof Datuk Dr Mazlin Mokhtar said this resulted in many researchers failing to grow with the industry and return to the academic world.

"Hence, the private sector needs to rise to the challenges as even companies with huge profits are reluctant to invest in R&D," he told Bernama following an interview by Bernama TV's 'Ruang Bicara' programme Wednesday night.

Other panel members in the interview were Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Wahid Omar and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Omar Osman.

Mazlin said it was time for the private sector and industry players to recruit research graduates and provide a conducive ecosystem in their R&D.

Omar said in terms of rationality, research should be given top priority by industry players for the benefit of the people as well as the industry, but they (industry players) were unwilling to take the risks by engaging research graduates.

Meanwhile, Wahid said funding to commercialise research products was a stumbling block due to lack of support from the private sector and industry players to complement research ecosystems set up by research universities.

"Malaysia spends only between 0.6 and 0.7 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product for R&D compared to between three and four per cent by developed countries," he added.

So far, five universities in the country have been given research university status, namely Universiti Putra Malaysia, University of Malaya, UKM, USM and UTM.