The world of nanotechnology is one where greatness literally comes from little things. Although research into this field had gone on for decades, it is only recently that nanotechnology has become commercially applicable in practice, as advanced materials for better and multi-purpose products are being created at the atomic level. Long the domain of science fiction, nanotechnology is fast becoming science fact. This scenario represents the current lab-to market activity towards an exciting future that Dr Rezal Khairi Ahmad and team of NanoMalaysia are undertaking for Malaysia.
Established as a company limited by guarantee under the then Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), NanoMalaysia is tasked with spearheading nanotechnology commercialisation activities in the country. Crucially, it also facilitates investment and human capital development in this field.
While the new government has stated its intention to review the plans of the previous administration, Dr Rezal is confident that the focus on nanotechnology industrialisation will continue on as before. His optimism is well-placed. After all, on a macro level, nanotechnology is one of the key technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and its importance was affirmed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2016. Furthermore, one of the key pillars of the new government’s election manifesto clearly emphasises Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Not only is nanotechnology a vital component in the future of manufacturing, society and environment, NanoMalaysia has proven extremely effective in being its champion in Malaysia. Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016 – 2020), it has been granted RM75 million over five years from the Economic Planning Unit to advance the nanotechnology agenda. Dr Rezal was proud to reveal that NanoMalaysia has exceeded its KPIs by 30 to 40 percent in terms of generating new Intellectual Properties, business opportunities and job creation aligning to global digitalisation agenda.
Looking forward, Dr Rezal is optimistic about the future for NanoMalaysia and nanotechnology as a whole under the new government. For one thing, there is the merger of the MOSTI and the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) to form the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC).
This has brought various agencies, previously under the three former Ministries, under one roof. As Dr Rezal noted, this will make working together much easier and more effective as everyone is now part of the same family. And for sure, effective coordination between all stakeholders – public and private – is needed to harness the commercial, societal and environmental promise of nanotechnology to benefit the New Malaysia