PHOTO - (From left) Victor Mieres, vice president, Asia Pacific, National Instruments; Chandran Nair, managing director, National Instruments ASEAN; YBhg Dato' Hafsah Hashim, CEO, SME Corporation Malaysia; YB Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI); YBhg. Dato' Dr. Madinah Mohamad, chief secretary, MOSTI; YBhg Dato' Hj Mohd Azman bin Hj Shahdin, president & CEO, Technology Park Malaysia Corporation; and Chris Tan, director of E&E, Pemandu.
The new National Instruments Academy & Innovation Nuclear (NI-AIN), which is the result of a tripartite agreement between engineering tools firm National Instruments (NI), national agency SME Corp Malaysia and Technology Park Malaysia Corporation (TPM), will drive talent and intellectual property development among the country's SMEs, said the partners.
Announced on 13 September 2012, the NI-AIM innovation nucleus initiative, which would be operational by the first quarter of 2013, was derived from the national Performance Management Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) Electrical & Electronics 2.0 Lab in April, and is one of the Entry Point Projects (EPP) under Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), which supports the building of a test and measurement innovation hub.
Present during the signing, the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI) minister, YB Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili said NI-AIN was a shared laboratory infrastructure using NI technology platforms and tools, which would lower entry barriers and allow access to facilities for the nation's small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
NI-AIN will house eight unique technology laboratories that are fully equipped with the latest NI hardware and software in automated test, control and measurement, said Ongkili. "These labs will be used for training and certification, human capital development (HCD) in Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) and enabling local SMEs to innovate in vertical industry applications such as control & instrumentation, radio frequency & wireless applications, green technology, energy, transportation, oil & gas and agro-science.
"As we move towards our aspirations of a high income, innovation- led and knowledge-based economy, the setting-up of the NI-AIN is timely as we embrace and 'operationalise' the various transformation programmes set out by the government," he said. "To achieve these aspirations, the role of technology and innovation in contributing to our national economic growth has become strategically critical and pertinent in this competitive and complex global environment."
National Instruments Southeast Asia managing director, Chandran Nair, said: "National Instruments is honoured to be part of the ETP initiatives. We thank our partners, TPM and SME Corp Malaysia for this opportunity and look forward to working closely with them as well as other Malaysian government agencies in empowering SMEs to become innovators."
Penang facility by 2013
Nair said as part of its expanding presence in Asia and to cater to a growing industrial customer base in Malaysia and Asia as a whole, NI would be investing US$80 million in a state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) and manufacturing facility in Penang and the first phase is due for completion and operation by 2013.
"The NI-AIN facility, which is designed to promote Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) among SMEs, will drive growth - both at the company and national level," said TPM president & chief executive officer, YBhg Dato' Hj Mohd Azman Hj Shahidin. "We are confident we will be able to witness ground-breaking ideas and innovations emerging from NI-AIN in the near future."
"As the backbone of the Malaysian economy, SMEs comprise 99 percent of all businesses in the country," said SME Corp Malaysia chief executive officer, Dato' Hafshah Hashim. "The growth that Malaysia is experiencing today is undoubtedly due to the opportunities being created by these SMEs. We are envisioning that NI-AIN will become an SME incubator centre for high-value design and engineering services and in the long-run a full-fledged technology commercialisation hub."
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