THIS year’s Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) meeting had the benefit of insights from the Global Innovation Index (GII) report, published by Cornell University, INSEAD (a graduate business school with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi), and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. In this year’s GII, Malaysia ranked 32nd in the world, up a notch from 33rd the year before. Malaysia is also the top-ranked middle-income country. The report credits “political stability, inflows of foreign direct investment and export-oriented industrialisation” for Malaysia’s successful transformation into “an upper middle-income country”. “Malaysia has been an innovation achiever over 2011-2014, as seen in improvements to its GII score relative to its gross domestic product (GDP). Furthermore, Malaysia’s remarkable innovation performance led it to record the highest GII rank among the middle-income countries last year. “Malaysia outperformed its middle-income peers in all seven pillars of GII over 2011-2014. Its general institutions for stimulating innovation are good, as can be seen from the improvements in its ranking in the ease of starting a business indicator, from 90th in 2012 to 15th last year.” Malaysia’s ranking in the business environment has also improved, seen in its rise from 53rd place in 2011 to 25th last year. At the same time, the government’s increasing focus on research funding had helped stimulate expansion in innovation inputs and outputs, evidenced by the rise in research and development (R&D) expenditure as a share of GDP, R&D researchers and scientists per million persons, and the number of doctoral graduates and scientific publications, it noted. “Malaysia has remained a net technology and services importer, with net receipts and licensing fees remaining negative for many years. Greater efforts should be made to improve institutional support and knowledge-based activities to turn Malaysia into a net exporter of technology and services. “Malaysia’s boosting of university-industry linkages is a good example for countries that want to improve their innovation capacity. By making it a requisite for universities to engage industry when seeking public R&D grants, scientific research at universities is increasingly targeted at commercialisation,” it said.
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