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University-Business Collaboration: Malaysia’s Challenges and the Way Forward. 4 th TECHNOPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION (TISE) 22 nd October 2012 Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Williams Deputy Vice-Chancellor , UNIRAZAK.

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university business collaboration malaysia s challenges and the way forward

University-Business Collaboration: Malaysia’s Challenges and the Way Forward



22nd October 2012

Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Williams

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UNIRAZAK

malaysia s challenges

“Malaysia is at a crossroad. ... If we do not correct our course, we will be unable to continue improvements in education, health and quality of life. However, if we redouble our efforts to attract investment, drive productivity improvements and innovate, we can compete successfully in the global economy and achieve high-income status.”

  • Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak’s Foreword to the ETP
  • Main Challenges:
    • Economics and “High-Income” Target
    • Competition – Regional and Global
    • Employability and “Work-ready” Graduates
    • Responding to “Mega Trends”

Malaysia’s Challenges


The Economic Problem

  • The Middle-Income Trap
    • Malaysia has grown strongly
    • But not as strong as other Asian countries
    • The rate of growth has fallen behind in recent years
  • The High-Income Target
    • Aims to increase GNI per capita from USD6,700 (RM23,700) in 2009 to USD15,000 (RM48,000) by 2020
    • Requires 6% real growth (or more like 6.8%) per annum 2009-2020
    • Recent historic growth has been only 4.3% per annum 2001-09
    • World Bank forecast for 2012 is again only 4.6% ADB forecast only 4%

The Economic Problem

  • The Investment Requirement
    • The ETP envisages 92% of investment for NKEAs from the private sector
    • Domestic investment will be 73% and FDI 27%
  • The Investment Challenges
    • Private Investment needs to grow more than sixfold
    • Domestic Private Investment needs to growth 60% more than historic averages
    • FDI is growing at only 1% per annum due to competition
    • Government Investment is constrained by the deficit, growing debt and access to capital

The Labour Market

  • The Key Job Areas
    • Key growth areas are seen as Agriculture; Palm Oil; Wholesale & Retail; Tourism and Business Services (37%)
    • These are all Low-Middle Income Job-Types
    • 83% of new jobs are in Low-Middle Income groups
  • Vocational Skills
    • The largest number 68% will be below degree-level jobs
    • 46% will be low-skilled or unskilled job types
    • There is a question of whether Malaysia can provide these skills and how they are to be provided

The Labour Market

  • The Nobel Laureate Michael Spence notes the US economy has created 27 million new jobs since 1990
    • 40% of these jobs in “low-value-added” areas in the Government and Healthcare sectors
    • Add Leisure, Retail and Consumer Services this number of low-value-added jobs rises to around 70% of the new jobs created.
    • People with employment in these sectors suffer from a “low-middle income trap”
    • They are “not off base” when it comes to creating incomes that provide real opportunities for financial independence and social and economic mobility.
    • Vulnerable to economic cycles and are under continuous pressure from globalization
    • In turn creates vulnerability for the people who take these jobs, as well as for their families and communities.
  • Malaysia is in danger of falling into a similar trap as the US and UK.
    • This has obvious risks to the viability and sustainability of the job creation targets of the ETP
    • Risks wider social consequences due to the creation of a “low-middle income” workforce exposed to ongoing uncertainties and unstable income flows, lifestyles and access to social and economic opportunities.


  • The constant complaint of employers is that graduates – whether from local or international universities – are not employable and require retraining:
    • In 2011 Malaysia had 184,581 graduates – with 24% (44,391) being unemployed
    • Estimated 76,200 cumulative unemployed graduates
    • More Arts & Social Science students are unemployed but within group more science graduates are unemployed
    • Diploma students often more successful at getting employment that degree students
  • A recent survey from showed:
    • 64% of employers reject candidates due to unrealistic salary demands
    • 60% reject due to bad attitude, personality, character
    • More than 50% reject due to language and communication skills
  • Malaysian Bar Council:
    • Law firms complain about low work-readiness
    • Young lawyers complain about low-pay and poor conditions

Responding to “Mega-Trends”

  • Urbanisation
    • 70% of Malaysians are now living in cities
    • Responses to “City-Based” living required
  • Globalisation
    • Malaysia needs to respond to a competitive global environment
    • Local and international education needs must be considered
  • Demographics
    • Older populations – longer lives – post-retirement incomes
    • Younger employees – need opportunities and incomes
  • Climate Change
    • Green Technologies and Carbon-friendly Sustainability
    • Local and global technologies and capabilities needed
  • Technology Trends
    • High-tech industrial responses and Consumer-based technologies
    • Temperate climate technologies and low-tech solutions equally relevant

The Way Forward – Collaboration

Joint Research / R&D

Curriculum Development

The Third Mission

“Industry-Fit” Graduates


The Way Forward - Technopreneurs

Managing the Technology Process

Bringing Technology to Market

Internal & External Management Processes


Models of University Collaboration


IP Issues

Joint Ventures



Sales & Revenue Sharing Agreements

Pictures of the Future:


Markets Business Technology


Local and International Networks of Expertise and Professional Practice for Further Development & Innovations


Models of University Collaboration





Central Funding

Business Unit Funding

Market Funding






Seven Keys to Collaboration Success

  • Define the project’s strategic context as part of the selection process
  • Select boundary-spanning projects with 3 attributes
    • In-depth knowledge of the field and the needs of the company
    • Network across functions and organisational boundaries
    • Connect research and applications
  • Share with the university team the vision of how the project enhances the company’s aims
  • Invest in long-term relationships
  • Establish strong communications links with the university team
  • Build broad awareness of the project across the company
  • Support the work internally both during the project and afterwards until the project is commercialised and beyond
  • Pertuze, Calder, Greitzer & Lucas
  • MIT Sloan Management Review (Summer 2010)

Five Things that Don’t Matter

Presence of an “Executive Champion” – Key is whether the project addresses a real company need as identified by managers

Geographic Proximity – Successful collaborations leverage on international as well as local expertise

Overall Project Costs – More important is “time-to-market” and commercial return on investment

Type of Research – Basic (Fundamental), Advanced or Applied are all equally relevant

Location of the Project – More important is that the Project Manager and Project Team can span organisational barriers

Pertuze, Calder, Greitzer & Lucas

MIT Sloan Management Review (Summer 2010)


Internationalisation - EUMCCI

  • EUMCCI is a public non-profit organisation and is not funded by the EU. The Chamber is financed by projects, events, memberships and corporate partnerships.
  • It is an umbrella organisation of all EU chambers of commerce and business councils, whose members are also EUMCCI members, altogether approximately 1200 corporations.
  • Mission - To promote, support and develop EU business interests in Malaysia as well as facilitate trade, commerce and investments between EU and Malaysia.
  • In order to fulfill its mission, EUMCCI carries out activities that will catalyse and stimulate networking of European companies in Malaysia with the Malaysian business community, business associations, relevant ministries, official representations and other Chambers in Asia.
  • These activities are balanced between social and business activities.

Internationalisation - EUMCCI

  • EUMCCI Committees
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Construction & Building Materials
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Defence & Security
  • Editorial
  • Education
  • Environment, Energy and Green Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Logistics
  • Oil & Gas
  • Wine & Spirits

Internationalisation - EUMCCI

  • EUMCCI Education Committee
  • Industry-University Collaboration Seminar - UNIRAZAK
  • Scholarship IPB (Portugal) & UNIRAZAK
  • Site visit to Proton Holdings – All Members
  • University Ranking Conference – Universiti Malaya
  • My-EU Link Programme – University of Nottingham
  • EU-Pavilion at the FACON Education Fair
  • Other Committees
  • Financing Solutions for Green Technology
  • EU-Pavilion at IGEM Conference
  • EUMCCI Social Responsibility Week & Awards
  • Regular Industry Dialogues
  • Annual Trade issues & Recommendations Report
  • Networking, trade promotion and partnerships
thank you