Women in Science Forum 2024: Lab to Market

Front row: Prof Lim, Datuk Ts Dr Mohd Nor Azman, Prof Faidz and Prof Thong with speakers and participants

Women in Science Forum 2024: Lab to Market, organised by UTAR Centre for Cancer Research (CCR), Centre for Research in Traditional Chinese Medicine (CRTCM), Centre for Research on Non-Communicable Diseases (CRNCD) and the Organisation Women in Science (OWIS), was held at UTAR Sungai Long Campus on 5 March 2024. The forum, supported by the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology & Innovation (MRANTI), served as a platform for dialogue, collaboration and knowledge exchange. It facilitated forum discussions and presentations aimed at exploring best practices, challenges, and opportunities in the journey from lab to market.

Gracing the forum was the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Deputy Secretary General (Technology Development) Datuk Ts Dr Mohd Nor Azman bin Hassan. Also present were UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman, OWIS Chairperson and UTAR Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research Director Prof Ts Dr Lim Yang Mooi, M. Kandiah Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Dean Prof Dr Thong Meow Keong, Organising Chairperson Ts Dr Foo Chai Nien, esteemed guests from MOSTI, MRANTI, OWIS and staff.

Datuk Ts Dr Mohd Nor Azman emphasising the 4C concepts in ensuring the development of a conducive startup ecosystem in Malaysia

Datuk Ts Dr Mohd Nor Azman said, “It is indeed a privilege for MOSTI to be part of this forum which is in line with the direction of MOSTI, highlighting the importance of keeping abreast and embracing the innovations and technological advancements that are sweeping across various businesses and industries globally. Women in Science Forum 2024: Lab to Market is just right on time for promoting and helping empower women to pursue entrepreneurial ventures in the tech and science sectors including women-led startups.”

Datuk Ts Dr Mohd Nor Azman emphasised the importance of collaboration, saying, “The partnerships formed through this forum may very well be the catalyst for groundbreaking innovations and mutually beneficial ventures. Together, we enhance the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, where ideas can thrive and businesses can grow. We need to incorporate and consistently apply the 4C principles– collaboration, co-creation, co-location and co-opetition. By embracing these concepts, we can shape an innovative, resilient, successful and sustainable future for the startup ecosystem.”

Prof Faidz welcoming the guests and participants at the forum

Prof Faidz said, “Today’s forum serves as a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and knowledge exchange. We aim to identify best practices, challenges, and opportunities in the journey from lab to market through forum discussions and talks. By harnessing our participants’ collective wisdom and experiences, we can pave the way for more women-led ventures to thrive in the competitive landscape of the digital age.”

From left: Prof Thong and Prof Lim delivering their speech

Meanwhile, Prof Thong shared, “This creates awareness of the importance of celebrating and supporting women in science at UTAR. The aim of this forum is manifold. It aims to inspire and encourage the development of career and leadership aspirations among women in science and bring together women entrepreneurs, government agencies, and stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem to share their best practices from lab to commercialisation. Such initiative enables the establishment of closer networking between other universities and institutions.”

Prof Lim said, “This forum brings together entrepreneurs, academia, government agencies, and stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem to share their best practices from lab to commercialisation. I hope the forum will encourage innovation in translating ideas into commercially viable products and services in the context of Industry 4.0 and the digital economy. In addition, the forum would also enhance scientific communication and networking among participants from various fields.’’

Prof Faidz (second from right) presenting the token of appreciation to Datuk Ts Dr Mohd Nor Azman (second from left) in the presence of Prof Thong (most right) and Prof Lim

Madam Hazami Habib

The forum started with a scene-setting topic titled “Bridging Innovation to Commercialisation for Value Creation: Role of Researcher” by Academy of Sciences Malaysia CEO Madam Hazami Habib. She spoke about the complexity of challenges with a direct impact on the economy, society, geopolitics and especially environmental risks; the Malaysian Science, Technology, Innovation and Economy (MySTIE) Framework; sustainable research and innovation ecosystem; national open innovation platform, and other related topics.

From left; Puan Sri Dr Halila, Puan Farah Wahidah, Dr Wan Raihana and Dr Nur Aainaa

It was followed by another forum titled “Ecosystem Enablers-Catalysing Innovation to Commercialisation” which featured panellists MOSTI Technology Transfer and Commercialisation R&D Division Senior Assistant Secretary Puan Sri Dr Halila Faiza binti Zainal Abidin, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd Head of Investment Unit Puan Farah Wahidah Ab Rafik and Malaysian Technology Development Corporation Sdn Bhd Technology Venture Fund Vice President Dr Wan Raihana Wan Aasim. The forum was moderated by Malaysian Rubber Council Commercialisation & Investment Director Dr Nur Aainaa Syafini binti Mohd Radzi.

From left: Prof Rahinah and Prof Mohd Yazid sharing their insights

Universiti Putra Malaysia Faculty of Design and Architecture Prof Ts Dr Rahinah Ibrahim delivered a talk titled “Entrepreneurial R&D mindset from Researcher: Researcher to Spin-Off”, where she spoke about research for a paying market, technology readiness level between university and industry and its challenges. She said, ‘’University and Malaysia require our intellect to mobilise IP commercialisation to generate wealth for the nation. Social innovations are best founded by well-researched findings.’’

The talk continued with a dialogue session by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre Orthopaedics and Traumatology Prof Dr Mohd Yazid bin Bajuri. He shared his experience on R&D innovation for societal impact, from lab to market. In his session, Prof Yazid emphasised the importance of changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset and shared his story, providing a solution by tackling the biomechanical issues in prosthetics with dynamic ankle movement that is ergonomic and low in cost for the market. He shared, ‘’The seven principles I would like to share are harmonising science and business objectives; personal investment equals balancing contribution; empowering knowledge; assess demand and essentiality; navigating diverse routes to commercialization; acknowledging potential absence and growth; and leveraging customer feedback for improvement.’’

Dr Foo expressing her words of thanks

Before the forum ended, Dr Foo sincerely thanked the organising committee members, speakers, and supporters. She said, “Let us carry forward the momentum generated here today and continue to work collaboratively towards building a future where innovation thrives, opportunities abound, and all share prosperity. May we continue to innovate, collaborate, and inspire one another in the days and years ahead.”

After the forum, the OWSD-MNC Annual General Meeting was held for the committee members to convene and deliberate on related matters.

Participants at the forum

Q&A session

Wholly owned by UTAR Education Foundation (200201010564(578227-M))         LEGAL STATEMENT   TERM OF USAGE   PRIVACY NOTICE