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Prof. Dr. K. Thiruchelvam, Dean at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia(UTM) Perdana school, Malaysia

사진First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to do the interview. Would you explain about UTM Perdana School’s main focal goals and projects for the coming 5 years?

UTM Perdana School’s main goals for the coming 5 years are as follows:

• To produce graduates that are competent in today’s and future economic and social challenges through adoption of a dynamic curriculum that promotes STI policy building skills as well as interdisciplinary approaches

• To mobilize talents within the School and the University to address national and industry problems through research and consultancy activities

• To forge close nexus with the relevant actors in the STI ecosystem including international partners so as to enhance the sharing of expertise and resources in addressing national and industry problems including sharing of expertise and experiences in policy formulation and implementation

During the recent meeting with STEPI about possible STI cooperation projects, scholar exchange programs were mentioned. What do you expect UTM to achieve through cooperation with STEPI and could you please elaborate on the specifics for the potential cooperation that you have in mind?

Exchange of scholars would help both institutions to understand each other better. For UTM Perdana School we can learn much from STEPI on Korea’s experiences in various areas of STI policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. Student exchange programmes would also be useful for students to appreciate the experiences of a country that has been successfully transformed through effective mobilization of STI (in this case, the example of Korea).

UTM Perdana School is of the view that to begin the collaboration process with STEPI it will be useful if a joint seminar be organized on STI Policy (particularly the experiences of Korea in transforming itself from an agrarian society to an innovation-led economy). Malaysia has an ambitious goal of becoming a developed nation by the end of this decade. The government has launched a number of initiatives aimed at propelling the country forward towards its avowed goals of becoming a developed nation. This proposed seminar on STI policy experiences would help to shed light on what it took for Korea to achieve its present position and what lessons can other countries such as Malaysia learn from these experiences.

These policy experiences can provide the basis of a joint publication between STEPI and UTM Perdana School

What are your thoughts on South Korea, particularly on South Korea’s S&T development as well as R&D capacity?

Like many commentators, we at UTM Perdana School are hugely impressed by the rapid transformation to South Korea’s economy following the devastation of the Korean War. In the 1960s, Korea embarked on a massive development of its STI capacity which has propelled the country in its upward socio-economic trajectory since then. Today, South Korea proudly sits in the ranks of the industrialized countries and is recognized globally for its proficiency, for example, in the electrical and electronics sector; the automotive industry; the chemicals sector; and the shipbuilding industry.

Korea’s scientific and technological competency has been fuelled by heavy investments in R&D both by the government and industry. Indeed, Korea’s expenditure in R&D as a percentage of GDP is one of the highest in the world. This demonstrates the commitment both by the government and industry towards knowledge generating activities such as R&D. Such heavy investments in R&D have helped Korea to succeed in several sectors as mentioned earlier. It has also made many Korean firms very innovative as well as leading in their particular market segments.

In which aspects do you suggest South Korea cooperate with Malaysia in the S&T field?

UTM Perdana School suggests that South Korea can cooperate with Malaysia in the following areas:

• New materials;
• Resource sustainability (including energy);
• Innovative engineering practices (particularly for SMEs)
• Smart cities/communities
• STI policy management

The specific areas of collaboration will have to be discussed with the organizations engaged in the above areas of collaboration.
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