R&D bodies will soon be able to claim percentage of IP rights

Manyin (centre), flanked by Dr Annuar (left) and Sudarsono, fields questions from the press.

REASERCH bodies in the state will soon be able to claim a percentage of the intellectual property (IP) rights arising from their research and development (R&D) findings with the establishment of Sarawak Research and Development Council.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin said this would serve as an incentive for the researchers, and strengthen their R&D.

“Currently, a few research institutions here are conducting researches but each one is doing the research in silo.

The government is providing them with funds but there is no coordination, collaboration and not much monitoring of the R&D.

“With this council, there is a body to work together with them, strengthen their R&D and even help them apply for funds. Through such collaboration, we will be able to get the results of the findings and work with them on ways to commercialise their findings,” he told a press conference at the sidelines of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday.

He said researchers in other countries would be given a certain percentage for the IP which can be as high as 30 per cent.

“But we have yet to decide on the percentage to be given to researchers here. However, without sharing, nobody will initiate the research so (IP percentage) is an incentive for them.

“Rather than to curtail their work, it will strengthen their work.”

Asked why there were no incentives given to research organisations here, Manyin said this was due to non-commercialisation of the R&D findings.

“So as a result, they (research bodies) don’t get anything.”

Manyin, who has just returned from Cambridge in the UK, said he and delegation had a two-day discussion with Trinity College professors at Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences (CATS) on research.

“We had a discussion with a few professors together with the vice-chancellor and we found out that they have already started this IP initiative many years ago, and it is now very well established,” he said, adding that R&D at the college was self-funded and did not receive a single cent from the government.

“This is all from the results of their research because it’s taken by multi-national companies who are paying for the R&D.”

Manyin said he has also invited Prof Christopher Lowe who heads CATS to visit Kuching early next month and while here, he would be dropping by  Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) to look at other areas for the state to collaborate with the college.

He hoped that in the long run, research bodies in the state would be self-financing much like CATS.

In response to Chong Chieng Jen’s question on the amount allocated to R&D in the state, Manyin sdaid: “All in all, we have spent RM103.3 million for R&D under the 11th Malaysia Plan and this is about 0.08 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“The amount (RM103.3 million) is total funding the state government has allocated to various agencies in Sarawak.”

Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapa’ee and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Datu Sudarsono Osman were also present at the press conference.

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