July 20, 2024

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UTM’s Innovation Journey: Nurturing Growth through Intellectual Property Commercialization

In today’s dynamic global landscape, innovation is the cornerstone of economic growth and competitiveness. Malaysia, strategically located in Asia, has emerged as a key player in the global innovation ecosystem, with recent advancements solidifying its position as a regional innovation hub. Central to Malaysia’s innovation agenda is the effective protection and commercialisation of intellectual property (IP), which not only fosters innovation but also drives economic growth and societal progress. In recent years, Malaysia has made significant progress in its innovation landscape as evidenced by its performance in the Global Innovation Index (GII). Its rise in the GII rankings underscores Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to fostering innovation-driven growth, making the country a major regional centre for innovation.

Satistic of Intelelctual Property
Statistic of UTM Intellectual Property from 2017-2023

The protection of intellectual property, which includes patents, copyrights and trade marks, plays a crucial role in fostering innovation and creativity. By granting rights to the IP owner with recognising inventors roles, IP protection encourages investment in research and development, leading to the creation of new industries, businesses and jobs. Malaysia’s commitment to strengthening its intellectual property framework is evident through initiatives aimed at improving the enforcement of intellectual property rights and streamlining the intellectual property registration process. This commitment not only fosters a favourable environment for innovation, but also enhances the country’s attractiveness to investors and venture capitalists.

UTM’s Role in Driving Innovation

As a leading research university, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) plays a crucial role in promoting innovation and commercialisation. Through its Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (ICC), UTM facilitates the protection and commercialisation of research results. The university’s robust IP portfolio, which includes patents and other forms of IP rights, emphasises its commitment to fostering a culture of innovation. Initiatives such as the ICCubeX incubator programme provide researchers and entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and support to turn their ideas into viable businesses, start-ups or spin-offs, further contributing to Malaysia’s innovation ecosystem. These programmes equip researchers and innovators with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of the commercialisation process. From market analysis and intellectual property protection to business development and marketing strategies, participants will gain a holistic understanding of the innovation ecosystem, embedded in a mentorship and student-researcher-staff nexus programme.

ICCubeX ONLY
ICCubeX Incubator Program including structured entrepreneurial training, prototype development funding and incubator space

At the heart of any successful commercialisation ecosystem are professional technology transfer officers. These individuals play a critical role in bridging the gap between academia and industry. Using their expertise in technology transfer and commercialisation, they guide researchers through the intricacies of the process from lab to market. From identifying commercialisation opportunities and securing intellectual property rights to facilitating industry partnerships and dealing with regulatory requirements, technology transfer officers provide invaluable support every step of the way.

Navigating the Path from Lab to Market

Commercialising intellectual property means navigating a complex landscape full of challenges. Adapting intellectual property to the appropriate stage of technological development, complying with regulatory requirements and adapting to changing legal frameworks are critical factors on the road to commercialisation. UTM’s strategic focus on the path from lab to market, as outlined in its Research and Innovation Plan 2025, emphasises the University’s commitment to bridging the gap between research excellence and commercial success. By addressing these challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration, strategic planning, internal prototype funding and smart partnerships, UTM aims to optimise the commercialisation process and maximise the societal impact of its research findings. UTM’s innovations have been recognised both domestically and internationally. Examples include the Integrated Mobile RO Water Purification System for Flood Disaster Relief, OIL2WANG, Scalebone, the Innovative Bee Modular Box, INSPECTo: Duct Inspection and Cleaning Robot, the Electronic Braille Al-Quran (eBraille) teaching aid, Modular Bee Box, DERMAGs and NK Age Reverse.

Gambar Artikel WIP '
SCALEBONE is an innovative product by Ts. Dr. Muhammad Hanif Ramlee from the School of Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences, UTM

Looking to the future, Malaysia remains poised to benefit from emerging trends such as digitalisation, sustainability and artificial intelligence. These trends present opportunities for innovation-driven growth and addressing pressing societal challenges. By embracing these trends and fostering a culture of innovation, Malaysia can improve its global competitiveness and position itself as a leader in key areas such as smart manufacturing, sustainable living and healthcare technology. Through the initiatives outlined in the UTM Research and Innovation Blueprint 2025, Malaysia is well-positioned to navigate the evolving innovation landscape and achieve sustainable growth in the coming years.

IMG WA
Associate Professor Ts Dr. Noor Azurati Ahmad, an expert in technology transfer, represents UTM at the MyIPO National Forum, yesterday, 25th of April 2024 titled “Empowering Next-Gen Technopreneurs: Cutting-Edge Commercialization Trends”

Conclusion

Malaysia’s journey towards innovation-driven growth hinges on its ability to effectively protect and commercialize intellectual property. Through strategic partnerships, interdisciplinary collaboration, investing in professional technology transfer officers and a commitment to excellence, institutions like UTM are driving Malaysia’s innovation agenda forward. By embracing emerging trends and addressing key challenges in IP commercialization, Malaysia is poised to unlock its full potential and emerge as a global leader in innovation and technology. As the nation continues to chart its path towards a prosperous future, innovation remains the driving force behind its economic and societal progress.

 

Ts. Dr. Noor Azurati Ahmad@Salleh is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Artificial Intelligence (FAI) and now serves as the Director of the Innovation and Commercialization Center (ICC) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

Dr Azurati leads the Innovation and Commercialization Center (ICC), guiding a team focused on fostering innovation and commercialization. She oversees the development of key policies and procedures at UTM, ensuring effective management of intellectual property and support for spin-off companies. Under her direction, the ICC launched the ICCubeX Incubator Program, providing essential training, funding, and space for budding technopreneurs. Dr Azurati’s strategic vision has elevated the ICC’s impact, positioning it as a hub for innovation. Her dedication to supporting spin-off ventures drives transformative change, shaping a culture of technopreneurship at UTM and beyond. Through her leadership, Dr Azurati leaves a lasting legacy in advancing technology and entrepreneurship.

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