Four New Elements to be Added to Periodic Table

Kosuke Morita, leader of the Riken team, with the new table in Wako, Japan, on December 31, 2015.

(CNN) Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 have formally been recognized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the U.S.-based world authority on chemistry. The organization's announcement on December 30 means the seventh row of the periodic table is finally complete.

It's the first time the table has been updated since 2011, when elements 114 (Flerovium) and 116 (Livermorium) were added. Devised by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, the table categorizes chemical elements according to their atomic number.

"The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row," said Jan Reedijk, president of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC, in a statement.

"IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118)."

A Russian-American team at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California discovered elements 115, 117 and 118, while Japanese researchers were credited for discovering element 113.

All four elements are not found in nature, and were synthetically created in laboratories. Until now, these elements had temporary names and symbols on the periodic table as their existence was hard to prove. Since they decay extremely quickly, scientists found it difficult to reproduce them more than once.

Japanese researchers said their search for element 113 began by "bombarding a thin layer of bismuth with zinc ions travelling at about 10% the speed of light." By doing so, they would theoretically fuse, forming an atom of element 113.

"For over seven years we continued to search for data conclusively identifying element 113, but we just never saw another event. I was not prepared to give up, however, as I believed that one day, if we persevered, luck would fall upon us again," said Kosuke Morita, the lead researcher at Japan's RIKEN group.

"Now that we have conclusively demonstrated the existence of element 113, we plan to look to the uncharted territory of element 119 and beyond."

With the discovery process now over, researchers have another tricky task at hand: coming up with permanent names and symbols for the elements.

According to the IUPAC, new elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.

After the proposed names are submitted, they will be open for public review for five months before the organization makes a final decision.

 

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/04/world/periodic-table-new-elements/

Shell Opens Lubricant Plant in Indonesia

As part of its continued growth strategy, Shell recently opened its latest lubricant blending plant in Indonesia. The facility, which is located north of Jakarta and sits on 246,000 square feet of land, strengthens Shell’s global supply chain and brings world-class lubricant production capability to Indonesia.

The plant features automated lubricant blending, filling and packaging technology, and is equipped with a quality-control system that tests lubricants at all stages of production to ensure products meet specifications. As part of the focus on quality products, the facility will also have a dedicated lubricant-testing laboratory.

Capable of manufacturing 120,000 tons of finished lubricants a year, the new plant will produce Shell’s leading lubricant brands, including Shell Helix (passenger car motor oil), Shell Advance (motorcycle oil), Shell Rimula (heavy-duty engine oil), Shell Spirax (transmission oil) and other industrial lubricants.

These products will support Indonesia’s growing demand for vehicle motor oils and other lubricants for applications in sectors such as mining, power generation, transportation and the growing infrastructure building sector in the country.

Previously, Shell has imported lubricants to Indonesia. With the new lubricant plant, the company will be able to manufacture and supply a full range of locally produced, high-quality motor oils, transmission oils and industrial lubricants to the Indonesian market.

 

Source: http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/30307/shell-lubricant-plant

RI-UK Signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on R&I Partnership

RI-UK agreement on research and innovation partnership marked by the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Research and Innovation Partnership at the Indonesian State Palace on Monday, 27 July 2015. The signing were executed by HE Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Mohamad Nasir on behalf of the Government of Indonesia, and HE Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Maude of Horsham on behalf of The United Kingdom. The signing were witnessed by HE  President of Republic Indonesia Ir. Joko Widodo and HE Prime Minister David Cameron along with HE Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, HE Ambassador Moazzam Malik, HE Ambassador Hamzah Thayeb, Director General for America and Europe for Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Dian Triansyah Dhani and Secretary General for Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education Mr. Ainun Na’im.

Through the signing of the MoU, RI and UK agree to execute research and innovation partnership, including research based on science excellence, in areas that make maximum contribution to Indonesian economic development. Some program fund will prioritize the areas of energy and climate change, the maritime, urbanisation (to be interpreted broadly to cover sustainable living, transportation, infrastructure and urban design), food security and capacity building of the science, technology and innovation.  The research will be funded by the Government of Indonesia and by the Government of United Kingdom through the Newton Fund. In the field of education, both Countries agreed to implement cooperation on joint research and publication, which was agreed during the working visit of HE Minister David Willets MP to Indonesia, during the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Education in March 2014.

On this occasion, HE Mohamad Nasir also representing the LAPAN Chairman, Thomas Djamaluddin, to sign the MoU between the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) and LAPAN regarding the collaboration in Civil Space Activities. Indonesia became the first Southeast Asia’s country visited by HE Prime Minister David Cameron since winning the election last May. This visit meant by the Prime Minister to enhance the cooperation between the United Kingdom and South Asia Countries.

Hopefully in the future, the bilateral cooperation in the field of science, technology, higher education and innovation of both countries could be more promoted, so the designated programe on the MoUs could be implemented significantly and could benefit both Indonesian and Brittish societies, as well as the world society.

 

Source: http://international.ristek.go.id/news/detail/view/178-ri-uk-signing-memorandum-of-understanding--mou--on-research-and-innovation-partnership

Mark Mobius views Asean among most exciting investment targets

KUALA LUMPUR: Templeton Emerging Markets Group’s executive chairman views Southeast Asia as among the most exciting investment destinations available to emerging and frontier market investors.

In his newsletter to investors, Mark Mobius says the range of opportunities available to investors is remarkable.

This ranges from the highly developed and technologically sophisticated Singapore market through emerging markets in various stages of development such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to exciting frontier prospects such as Vietnam and Myanmar.

This also comes at a time as Asean has set ambitious plans for a new Asean Economic Community (AEC) to come to fruition in 2015.

Mobius is enthusiastic to see the outcome of discussions among Asean members to prepare for the AEC and as they work out the fine points.

The AEC will have a very significant impact in Asia, especially as the role of Asian markets in the global economy has grown significantly in recent years, he says and he expects this trend to continue in the future.

Many of these countries have also made fundamental improvements to their economies, and he thinks these changes are here to stay.

Asean – founded in 1967 -- is a strong regional economy made up of 10 members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR (Laos), Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The 10 individual Asean members already have attractive characteristics for investors, including favorable demographic profiles, abundant natural resources and low-cost labour, among other factors.

Combined into a single market, the population exceeds 600 million and a wide range of economic attributes from the financial, trading and technology skills available in Singapore to the largely untapped reserves of labour and natural resources in Myanmar that, when combined, could well represent far more than the sum of their parts.

When the AEC was mooted, it was envisaged to be: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.

“Because Asean countries have to work toward a collective vision and cooperative spirit when AEC fully comes together, we think it should strengthen their partnership, even though there has been some outlying resistance and concerns about some aspects.

“If it is fully implemented later this year, the AEC represents an opportunity to further promote cross-border trade and connect economies, companies and people within the region in the years to come,” he said.

Mobius cites a recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group that businesses in the region are remarkably bullish about the AEC.

A total of 80% of those surveyed regarded the AEC as a business opportunity for their firm and believed it would help accelerate growth in their respective industries.

Business executives also acknowledged that progress has been made over the years in most sectors, and two-thirds of the companies responding to the survey said they were adjusting their product offerings and upgrading their organizations and supply chains.

However, Mobius is quick to point out also that some business executives in Asean also expressed concern that governments would not wholeheartedly facilitate the free flow of goods across the region. In our view, the enviable location of the proposed AEC, bordering the fast-growing economic giants of India and China, could be a major potential benefit for companies within Asean as well as investors.

The region lies on one of the “one belt, one road” trade routes identified by the Chinese government as significant focuses for investment. Chinese firms are already active investors in countries such as Vietnam, taking advantage of significantly lower wage rates in comparison with Southern China, and ambitious plans for transport infrastructure improving China’s links with Southeast Asia are under development.

International trade could become a further stimulus to growth for Southeast Asia, with some of the countries of the region closely involved in major free trade initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently under negotiation, while also looking to deepen intra-regional trade links.

“Asean has seen continuing population growth over the last 15 years, totaling 620 million people in 2014 and expected to increase further to close to 670 million by 2020, a growth of about 30% from the 514 million in 2000.

“We believe this growth potential, combined with increasing per capita incomes and relatively younger population structures, could further drive the growing consumer demand in the region as a reduction in the cost of doing business, improved labour and capital movement and the streamlining of taxation can only increase the opportunity for growth,”  he says.

As a result, Asean economies are increasing domestic consumption of a wide range of goods and services. According to various forecasts, the prospects for gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the region going forward are far stronger than in developed markets, and in excess even of other emerging-market regions.

GDP growth in emerging Asia is expected to average 6.6% in 2015, while frontier markets such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are forecasted to grow even faster.4 At the other end of the spectrum, Brunei is expected to contract by 0.5%, while Thailand and Singapore are expected to expand by a still-reasonable 3.7% and 3%, respectively.5

 “In our view, Southeast Asia is currently among the most exciting investment destinations available to emerging and frontier market investors.

“The range of opportunities available to investors is remarkable, from the highly developed and technologically sophisticated Singapore market through emerging markets in various stages of development such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to exciting frontier prospects such as Vietnam and Myanmar,” he explains.

Indonesia is in the midst of a significant reform programme initiated by President Widodo, while Thailand’s military government is looking to shore up support through growth-oriented activities.

In his view, Singapore’s role as a global trading hub should permit continued growth and prosperity for that market.

Myanmar’s opening to market forces could receive a significant boost should scheduled elections pass off successfully, while Vietnam is also engaged in a cautious opening to global investors and gradual reform of its banking sector. Laos has the potential to join compelling frontier stock markets as demand for its hydropower and mineral resources boosts economic growth.

“We believe economic reform proposals under way elsewhere in the region also have the potential to boost economic growth and corporate profitability,” he says.

With its excellent international trade links and the availability both of sophisticated technology and low-cost labor, Southeast Asia has long been an important center for the supply-chain activities of Japanese companies, while labour cost advantages have seen much basic manufacturing activity migrating from China.

There are still some challenges for Asean countries ahead; naturally, when there is a divergence of countries, there are going to be differences of opinion but collective cooperation is needed to make the AEC successful.

“We would also like to see continued progress in removing barriers to the global flows of goods and services in the region, and policies that encourage foreign investment. In order for AEC to gain credibility and develop as envisioned, we believe various obstacles need to be addressed, including differences in regulations and policies, bureaucratic pressures, and perhaps a perception or concern among some business owners about whether Asean can be an open market.

“AEC, if successfully implemented, will represent a common market with a combined GDP of nearly US$2 trillion. We believe the fact that all Asean countries will ultimately have to work toward a collective vision and cooperative spirit when AEC comes together should strengthen their partnership and, hopefully, improve the lives of the people.

“We think the future for the region remains positive, supported by several factors including solid growth prospects, strong labor and natural resources, favorable demographics, advantageous trade links and geographical positioning, as well as watershed initiatives for reform,” says Mobius.  

(Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2015/05/24/Mark-Mobius-views-Asean-among-most-exciting-investment-targets/?style=biz)

Chinese-Malaysian Halal Food Lab set up in Gansu Province

Xinhua has reported a joint-venture between China and Malaysia that has led to the set-up of halal food laboratory in northwestern China’s Gansu Province lately.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology launched a halal food program in partnership with Malaysia, under which Gansu Province will lead its implementation, giving full play to the province’s strength in Muslim culture, science and technology, location, trade, industry and other aspects.

Gansu will work closely with the Malaysian side in halal food processing, biological material research and certification, in order to build an international-level halal food testing laboratory.

With the laboratory construction as the turning point, Gansu will lead the establishment of Chinese halal food industry technology innovation alliance, to build a platform of technical cooperation between China and the Muslim countries along the "Belt and Road" routes.

Source: http://www.namnewsnetwork.org/v3/read.php?id=MzA2MTM3

Innovate or die: Thailand's top industrial firms ramp up R&D budgets

BANGKOK, March 26 (Reuters) - Thailand's two biggest industrial groups are raising their R&D spending to develop higher-end products, leading a growing troop of Thai companies under pressure to quickly evolve their low-value and increasingly uncompetitive business models.

Thai companies are expanding their line-up of premium products as rivals in neighbouring Vietnam win more orders for low-margin, commoditised goods with cheaper prices. A recent hike in Thailand's minimum wages has also dampened the country's competitiveness, forcing some foreign investors to shift operations to other Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam and Myanmar where labour costs are lower.

Siam Cement, a barometer of Thailand's economic health, lifted its research and development budget to a record 4.8 billion baht ($147 million) this year, or 1.0 percent of projected sales. That compares with 2.7 billion baht, or 0.6 percent of sales, in 2014. Thailand's third-largest listed company is no stranger to high value-added products, which accounted for 35 percent of its sales last year compared with just 4 percent a decade ago. These days, Siam Cement is focusing on higher-margin petrochemical products including high-end plastics and food packaging such as glassine paper.

To encourage innovation, the Thai government has increased R&D corporate tax deductions equal to 300 percent of R&D spending, from 200 percent previously. PTT, the country's biggest oil and gas company and the largest firm on the Thai bourse, aims to spend 2.25 billion baht on R&D in 2015, versus 2.08 billion baht in 2014. The group has a policy of spending 3 percent of its income on R&D. The state-controlled company is expanding into specialty products including biodegradable coffee cups and high-density polyethylene used to make fluorescent nets for night-time fishermen.

"It's in line with global trends as major petrochemical producers shift from commodity-grade products to specialty grade, and that's why they need to spend more on research," said Songklod Wongchai, an analyst at Finansia Syrus Securities in Bangkok. "But given the weak economic outlook and poor domestic consumption, I'm worried about demand because everyone needs to control costs. Prices of premium grade products are much higher than normal." ($1 = 32.60 Baht) (Editing by Ryan Woo)

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/26/thailand-conglomerates-rd-idUSL3N0WS3BF20150326

Malaysia needs more scientists

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia still faces a shortage of scientists involved in research and development (R&D) activities, Malaysian Nuclear Agency (Management Programme) senior director Dr Dahlan Mohd said today.

"By 2020, the government's vision is to have 70 scientists per 10,000 workers," he said, adding that the current ratio is about 58 scientists per 10,000 workers. 

Dahlan was speaking at a press conference after a “Meet the Scientist” programme at the Malaysian Nuclear Agency, which saw the participation of 110 students.

“The main objective of this programme is to make scientists as role models to the students. They were also exposed to the research that has been carried out by the scientist,” he added.

The programme is a collaboration between the National Science Centre and the science, technology and innovation ministry (MOSTI).

 

Source: http://www.nst.com.my/node/74315

Activated Autologous Stem Cell Therapy a Grey Area in Indonesia

As an alternative treatment, stem cell therapy was introduced in Indonesia about 10 years ago.

A stem cell is a single cell that can replicate itself into many cell types, such as blood cells or skin cells; while stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition.

People with certain ailments have turned to stem cell therapy to naturally replicate or regrow damaged cells in their own bodies to improve their health.

Speaking at a recent seminar, plastic surgeon Karina F. Moegni described stem cells in more detail.

“There are three types of stem cells: autologous — stem cells that come from your own body; allogeneic — stem cells that come from other people; and xenogeneic — stem cells that come from animals, which have been banned around the world.”

Karina said that bone marrow, brain tissue, blood vessels, skeletal muscle cells, heart cells and fat tissue were among several potential sources of stem cells. 

As a surgeon, Karina said that she could treat patients with “activated autologous stem cell therapies” derived from a patient’s own fat tissue, which contains up to a thousand times more stem cells than bone marrow. 

“It is also easier and painless to harvest the stem cells from fat — when the cells are also inactive,” Karina, who practices at the Unistem Clinic and Hayandra Clinic in Jakarta, said.

She adds that activated autologous stem cell therapy might help people with degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease; autism; cerebral palsy; as well as autoimmune illnesses, such as scoliosis, epilepsy, asthma and lung and heart illnesses.

The therapy is also applicable for anti-aging treatments, which Karina claims will give a natural result, as compared to Botox and face-lifts.

“Please do bear in mind that stem cell therapy is not magic. Some [patients] can get good results within six months,” says Karina. “Others need to wait for two years.”

Karina says that autologous stem cell therapy using fat tissue involves manually extracting fat from a patient, separating stem cells from unnecessary objects — for example the fat itself — and activating the stem cells with lasers before returning the stem cells to the patient.

“The extraction takes about 30 minutes, the next process needs about two hours, while returning the stem cells to a patient needs another 30 minutes,” she says adding that she directly injects stem cells into the target area for anti-aging treatments.

However, there is no specific dose for therapies involving activated autologous stem cells.

“You can never expect an exact number of cells in autologous stem cell therapy. What you get is what you inject,” says Karina.

On the recommended frequency of treatments, Karina said that no one in the world could answer that question yet — including her. However, she suggests that patients wait for at least six months to see if a treatment works. 

Karina said that she would perform additional therapies after that period if a patient wanted better results.

On the regulations governing activated autologous stem cell therapy, Karina claimed that treatment with cells that are sourced from an individual without “manipulation” can be categorized as a treatment, instead of a medical procedure. 

Therefore, Karina said, there was no need for regulations that would require clinical testing to conduct such treatment, based on prevailing practice in other nations.

“What is considered manipulation, among other things, is harvesting the stem cells in a laboratory,” Karina says. “As long as the stem cells come from the patient himself, it is considered a treatment.” 

Karina adds that the practice of developing stem cell therapy using blood cells from the umbilical cords of other people stored at cord blood banks (as is done in Indonesia) could be considered alloegeneic stem cell therapy.

While Indonesia apparently does not currently specifically regulate alloegeneic (as opposed to autologous) stem cell therapy either, that is expected to change.

Contacted on the telephone, Marhaen Hardjo, a member of the government’s National Stem Cell Commission, noted that Health Ministry regulation No. 32/2014 limited stem cell use in Indonesia to 11 public hospitals.

Indra Bachtiar, a principal investigator for the privately operated Stem Cell and Cancer Institute in Jakarta, says that Indonesia is on the way to making such regulations in the next few years.

“We may be able to apply allogeneic stem cell therapy by 2017 or 2018,” says Indra.

In the interim, patients must make informed decisions in such therapy.

Marhean advised caution. “The Health Ministry does not have enough resources to act as the police in handling those clinics offering therapy without permit,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/02/25/activated-autologous-stem-cell-therapy-a-gray-area-indonesia.html#sthash.LvxgzJPs.dpuf

ASEAN: The New Front Line in Asia

On the heels of the US-ASEAN summit in Myanmar, manufacturers are considering ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to be a much closer horizon for business opportunities compared to other economic goliaths in the region.

In fact, the ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) has been attracting more businesses than China, with about $128 billion in foreign direct investments, overtaking that of China’s $117 billion in 2013.

This year’s plans for economic integration throughout ASEAN should further grow the strategic importance of the 10-member collective as it will further open up trade, make commerce across the region more seamless, and come closer to being a single market of more than 600 million people.

While market entry into Asia is not without significant challenges, multinational companies have found that they can adapt their business strategies to Asia’s complex and diverse business landscape by investing in local hubs. This recognition comes at a critical juncture, when higher wages and currency appreciation in China are prompting companies to look elsewhere. ASEAN stands to benefit from this, with each nation offering a unique value proposition be it advanced technological innovation, an abundant labor force, or a growing shift towards more high-skilled industries.

Singapore

For example, Singapore,  is a strategic entry-point for companies to better access pan-Asian growth markets. The city-state boasts numerous resources valuable to MNCs such as a business friendly environment, highly-skilled labor force, well-established financial markets and infrastructure that support them, opportunities to test bed new products for the region and a predominantly English-speaking population. As a result, Singapore serves as a high tech manufacturing hub which also ranks first for foreign subsidiary density and fifth in the world for corporate headquarters.

As a base for knowledge, partners, and talent, Singapore enables companies to access increasingly critical markets like Indonesia and Vietnam, where revenues are growing. A recent example is General Motors, which moved its international headquarters from Shanghai to Singapore in August of last year for easier access to the company’s priority markets like ASEAN, Africa and Australia.

Along a similar vein, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is also centralizing the coordination of its Asia Pacific activities. The American agricultural processing company announced in June 2014 that it will be relocating it regional headquarters from Shanghai to Singapore. This is testimony that many corporations are seeing that their business strategies for Asia can no longer focus on just the region’s largest markets, and are moving their headquarters to Singapore as a gateway to the growing ASEAN customer base.

Malaysia

ASEAN is also home to Malaysia, a country which has been encouraging its universities to invest in R&D centers and partnering with private sector companies to create more high-skilled jobs. These initiatives have yielded significant results. Malaysia is a particularly attractive investment destination for companies looking to capitalize on the lower cost of electricity in developing manufacturing sectors like solar energy. The country plays home to six First Solar plants, which collectively produce more than 80% of the American company’s solar panels. The Southeast Asian nation is currently ranked the world’s third-largest producer of solar equipment; companies including Panasonic, SunEdison and SunPower have also set up shop in the country.

The Philippines

The Philippines is another increasingly attractive business hub with a GDP growth of 7.2% –second only to China’s 7.7% in 2013.  An important component of the country’s growing economy is the information technology sector, which contributed to 6% of the GDP last year, or $16 billion. With multinational companies entrusting their customer services to the Philippines, the sector aims to increase annual revenues to $25 billion by 2016. Increasing investment in the region from high-tech companies is likely the reason for this confidence; Accenture, for example, is capitalizing on local talent by establishing business process outsourcing operations in rural regions like Tanjay.

Additionally, the Philippines is uniquely insulated from international market fluctuations due to the number of allowances it receives from citizens living abroad. With the economy more resilient to shifting global economic conditions, heavyweights including JP Morgan and Procter & Gamble have recently taken advantage of the stability the Philippines offers by expanding their operations in the region.

While each nation offers a unique investment proposition, it is important to note that a one-size-fits-all strategy towards the region is unrealistic. There are wide gaps between the economic development stages and political landscapes of different nations. For example, Indonesia represents almost 40% of the region’s economic output and is a member of the G20, while Myanmar is still an emerging market working to build its institutions after a period of isolation from the global community.

Investors need to be aware of local preferences and cultural sensitivities when looking at ASEAN as a business opportunity.

Source: http://www.industryweek.com/expansion-management/asean-new-front-line-asia

 

Waiver on Patent Fee to Boost Indonesian Innovation

Jakarta. Indonesia plans to waive all fees for filing of patent and copyright applications, as part of efforts to encourage greater domestic innovation and boost the country’s competitiveness.

Muhammad Nasir, the minister for research, technology and higher education, said on Tuesday that researchers and inventors had been discouraged from registering their innovations with the government because of the high cost of filing a patent application.

“Inventors have had to pay a lot for the intellectual property rights to their innovations, even as those products have yet to generate [money],” Nasir said during a visit to the Jakarta Globe newsroom in South Jakarta “How can we expect to drive more innovation under such conditions?”

Nasir said he wanted to get the private sector more involved in research and technology development and applications, identifying a lack of funding for research and development for Indonesia’s dearth of technological innovations.

Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir holds the ‘Indonesia 106 Innovations’ book during a media visit to the offices of BeritaSatu Media Holdings in Jakarta on Jan. 6, 2015. 

He said research funding in Indonesia, mostly from the government, currently amounted to Rp 8 trillion ($631 million) a year, or 0.09 percent of gross domestic product — far lower than in more competitive economies such as Singapore (2.6 percent), Malaysia (1 percent) and Thailand (0.25 percent).

Nasir said he wanted annual R&D spending in Indonesia to amount to at least 0.5 percent of GDP by 2019.

“We need research to support our efforts to improve our nation’s competitiveness, otherwise it will be hard to realize,” the minister said “In the future, I want our higher education sector to conduct research based on orders, not on opportunities. It’s much more efficient to conduct research based on commissions from the private sector.”

He noted that four-fifths of all research funding in Singapore came from the private sector, while in Indonesia it was just one-quarter.

“That’s because the research being done isn’t relevant to the private sector’s needs. But when we look at other countries, like the United States, the universities there serve as research centers for businesses,” Nasir said.

“We’ll study ways to draw business interest in university research. And we must build close connections between researchers and the private sector.”

Nasir said Indonesia needed to immediately boost its competitiveness in the face of the Asean Economic Community framework that kicks in this year.

Adopted by the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the framework is expected to spur regional growth through improved connectivity and more integrated and liberal trade and economic activities.

“We have a short-term task to improve the competitiveness of this nation,” Nasir said. “Only with high competitiveness can we compete in the Asean Economic Community.”

Source: http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/waiver-patent-fee-boost-indonesian-innovation/

 

Foreign firms eyeing hi-tech, value-added industries in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: High technology and value-added companies are the areas that foreign companies mostly seek to invest in Malaysia, management consulting firm Crewstone International Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Wira Jalilah Baba (pix) said.

"But of course, Malaysia is still accepting and assisting foreign companies in other sectors like green technology … besides manufacturing, we also encourage (foreign companies) to go into research and development (R&D), design engineering, not many companies will come in a big way for those areas.

"We help companies to grow in Malaysia and globally, for foreign companies to make a footing in Malaysia, reach out the Southeast Asian countries through their headquarters in Malaysia," she told SunBiz in a recent interview.

Jalilah was the former director-general and CEO of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).

Crewstone specialises in identifying potential high-value opportunities for its clients in addressing their specific business and organizational needs.

A proponent of venture capital to grow local companies, Jalilah said local companies are quite reluctant in divesting with their equity when looking to expand and would rather take on borrowings to do so.

She said this tied in with business owners reluctance to forgo control in their companies.

Jalilah expressed her own dissatisfaction over the attitude of Malaysian businesses in wanting to retain full management control even after bringing in private equity partners.

"Sometimes they think when they do equity funding, they can do whatever they like. (This is not the case) because when venture capitalists come in, ( they will want some say in the operations and rules and regulations of the company, as they have invested money), so you're not that free anymore.

"The bigger stake they (venture capital) have, they will have more say, but with the intention to make the project successful, and you'll (businesses will) feel the crunch of being controlled," she said.

Jalilah opined that businesses should open up their doors to venture capital as without proper funding, companies can not grow further, especially for SMEs.

"(Especially when going abroad), the cost is more. First you need to do feasibility study to introduce your product and services in the markets; you need to set up your supply chain overseas…as long as financiers see this as a niche market and you do have a good product and services, they'll come in because they normally will sit down with the clients and work out return on investment (ROI), so that there is not too long a gestation period," she noted.

For ROI, Jalilah opined that 10% to 15% would be "good enough" for a starter, but should aim higher moving forward.

Meanwhile, she said she is proud of getting foreign investors to choose Malaysia as their investment country of choice and expand into Southeast Asia through Malaysia.

"I consider this as my contribution to the country, when I was in MIDA, I was the chief negotiator for high-impact projects to convince them Malaysia is the best location for their footing in Southeast Asia.

"I was working for the government to publicise Malaysia, (now) I'm still doing the same thing, but with more satisfaction now…I do it for free and out of my own passion for the country because I do believe that Malaysia is still the best place to locate investment," she added.

 

Source: http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1283895

APEC Launches New Platform

Trade, economic and health officials from APEC economies have launched a ground-breaking new platform to support greater commercialization of innovative biomedical research originated in the Asia-Pacific, heralding the arrival of more cutting-edge treatments that improve public health and boost trade and economic growth.

The opening of the first-of-its-kind APEC Biomedical Technology Commercialization Training Center in Seoul follows two years of public-private sector consultations. Initiated by Korea and Thailand, the Center will build the capacity of policymakers, practitioners and businesses to move new biomedical technologies onto the market as emerging economies in the region play a more active role in research and development.

“Biomedical research is increasing all around the Asia-Pacific and ushering in important health breakthroughs but backend business processes are far less developed,” said Dr Kee-Taig Jung, President of the government-owned Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), the Center’s coordinating body. “Without strong interface between R&D, policy and commercial interests, it becomes very difficult to bring innovations to the people who stand to benefit from them.”

“Enormous resources are going into the pursuit of new biomedical discoveries which must ultimately come with a return on investment—for scientists and the public and private sector entities that support and market their work,” added Dr Nares Damrongchai, CEO of the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), which is also government-backed and will support training and implementation of the APEC Center’s recommendations in Southeast Asia.

The Center will foster the adoption of translational research, or that which is engineered to ensure findings can be used for practical applications that enhance public health. Additional focus will be on strengthening intellectual property management and business development, including strategy, valuation and marketing. The Center will serve as a platform for promoting policies conducive to commercialization in the medical life sciences sector. A pilot training program is now underway. The Center is expected to commence operations in earnest in 2015.

The Association of University Technology Managers, a US-based non-profit that promotes technology transfer globally, will provide content and training. Trade, economic and health officials from each of the 21 APEC member economies, under the auspices of the APEC Life Sciences Innovation Forum, will guide the Center’s strategic decision-making.

“Lifting barriers to the delivery of new health innovations is not just a moral imperative, it also makes good economic sense,” concluded Dr Ryan MacFarlane, Planning Group Chair of the APEC Life Sciences Innovation Forum. “By facilitating the conversion of sound biomedical research into treatments that people can actually use, you seed healthier, more productive labor forces, trade within the sector and growth that ultimately becomes self-sustaining.”

The Center’s development will be on the agenda when the APEC Life Sciences Innovation Forum meets in conjunction with the first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting and related technical meetings on 26 January-7 February 2015 in Clark, the Philippines.

Source: http://news.pngfacts.com/2015/01/apec-launches-new-platform.html