Budget 2022: International Innovation Hub at TPM to spark all manner of technology and talent
By Dzuleira Abu Bakar October 29, 2021
- First Artificial Intelligence Park, 5G & Autonomous Vehicle & Robotics hub
- NTIS to drive swathe of socio-economic opportunities for innovation economy
[Ed: In a post-budget commentary, Technology Park Malaysia CEO, Dzuleira Abu Bakar described Budget 2022 as arguably one of the toughest budgets to develop, given that Malaysia is in its second year of combating the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlights four key announcements from the budget as being very important to the work TPM is doing and to her personally.]
Uplifting Women In the Workplace
In particular, I personally welcome the Government’s initiatives to empower women in the workplace. The move to encourage more women to be in the workforce, to be entrepreneurs as well as leaders is laudable, enabling the country to tap on a large and capable pool of talent.
Incentives for employers and women-focussed programmes enable us to have more hands on deck as we work to uplift our economy together. Equally significant, is the move to mandate all public companies to have at least one female on its board of directors.
A recent report by BoardReady, a nonprofit organization, found that S&P 500 companies with over 30% of board seats held by women recorded better revenue growth for 2020 in 11 of the top 15 sectors. I look forward to especially welcoming more women leaders in the boardroom, especially in the realm of technology and innovation.
We would also like to thank the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) for proposing various initiatives to MOF in Budget 2022, with the objective of accelerating the commercialisation of technology research and development.
International Innovation Hub
Under Budget 2022, TPM has been allocated US$7.2 million (RM30 million) to be upgraded into a Industrial Revolution 4.0 International Innovation Hub (IIH). This 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.
TPM will also play host to the first Artificial Intelligence Park in Malaysia, and we will introduce various facilities such as 5G Development Hub, Sustainable Urban Farming Incubation Facility, Biotechnology Incubation Hub and Autonomous Vehicle & Robotics Hub.
All these facilities are interlinked – for example, the testing, incubation and development of Autonomous Vehicles go hand-in-hand with the development of 5G technology.
Through IIH, we aim to impact 10,000 entrepreneurs by providing access to infrastructure and facilities. Other targets include coaching, mentoring and training 5,000 entrepreneurs on market access, and enrolling 7,500 participants in a Knowledge Exchange programme with international research universities and institutes.
We also hope to enlist 750 SMEs, incubatees or startups in our facilities which will be fitted with 5G technology. Drone development is another focus area, in which we target to support 50 companies through guidance and living lab drone facilities.
Excellence in Drone Technology
While homegrown company Aerodyne has recently been acknowledged as the top drone services company in the world, we want Malaysia to grow our basket of world-renowned drone-capable companies. TPM introduced Area 57 in September, which is a centre of excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The creation, development and commercialisation of technology and innovation related to UAVs or drones, will drive recovery and growth of Malaysia’s economy. The drone technology industry in the global drone market is forecast to achieve US$41.3 billion (RM171.3 billion) in 2026.
Through this initiative, better case studies and adaptive regulations can be made to drive innovation. Drone services can be expanded and upscaled in various sectors such as e-commerce, logistics or mobilisation of pertinent resources or medicine to rural, remote areas, or those affected by natural disasters; infrastructure management and security surveillance in smart building maintenance, smart cities or maritime; urban agriculture and more.
The matching grant of RM100 million for Bumiputras to explore the aerospace industry is a good move to encourage the pipeline to continue churning out innovative solutions. Youths are kept excited about the industry through the RM5 million allocation to develop a Drone Sports Excellence Centre under e-sports.
[RM1 = US$0.24]
Commercialisation of Technology
The Government’s plan to increase R&D activities and accelerate the commercialisation of technology, as reflected in the RM423 million allocation to Mosti and the Higher Education Ministry and a matching grant of RM12 million for Collaborative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology (CREST) is certainly a boon for driving a knowledge based economy.
Based on the learnings from the National Technology and Innovation (NTIS) which was launched last year, over 500 complete applications were submitted to progress their products and solutions for technology and market readiness. On the back of the National Regulatory Sandbox (NRS) which unlocked a multitude of socio-economic opportunities for the fintech sector, we believe that the NTIS will do the same for Malaysia’s high-technology and innovation driven economy. We welcome more industry partners to support the growth and applications to the NTIS, of which TPM, MaGIC and Futurise function as Secretariat members. Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, we have a target, through the NTIS and the Malaysian Year of Commercialisation (MCY) to produce 500 Intellectual Property (IP) products or solutions to the national or international market by 2025.
The allocations to Cradle Fund and Industry4WRD, as well as the introduction of MyStartup, highlights the Government’s commitment towards building a more resilient startup economy - which allows us to generate new wealth, while addressing societal challenges with new, creative, innovative and effective models.
In this aspect, Budget 2022 upholds the formation of the technology commercialisation accelerator (TCA). To recap, the TCA is formed from the strategic consolidation of TPM and Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) and will start operations next year. As its name suggests, its prime 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.
By building a pipeline that encompasses the entire value chain, from researchers, scientists, startups in incubation to high growth technology companies, TCA will prime Malaysia to strengthen and unlock value in the technology and innovation ecosystem.