Data is everywhere — in everyday devices like computers and mobile phones; and even in the sensors that activate streetlights in the evening. Currently, large amount of data is being collected and analysed by both businesses and government organisations on a daily basis. But the big question is: How will the understanding and interpreting of these data lead to better business decision making (for businesses) or better improve the lives of citizens (for governments)?
The reality is that there is an urgent need, globally, for data professionals both in the private and public sector. There is a need for skilled workers who are able to make sense of these data – data professionals who can make sense of the data and actualise it.
While there are buzzwords like “big data” and “big data analytics”, what do they really mean? How do individuals and organisations go about embarking on a journey to grapple with and eventually make sense of data?
To address this dire need for data professionals, Cloudera has recently introduced the BASE (Big Analytics Skills Enablement) initiative in April 2016 across Singapore and Malaysia. The BASE involves an ecosystem of educational institutions, training partners, government organisations, and the technology community at large working together to train, nurture and eventually produce a new generation of data professionals who can add value to the future economy.
We spoke to Daniel Ng, Senior Director of APAC at Cloudera, whose brainchild BASE is, to better understand BASE. He shared that there are seven pillars to the BASE initiative:
1) Education & training
Training and equipping future data professionals begins in schools and educational institutions. It is no easy task for teaching staff to develop a curriculum from scratch, even more so in the field of data analytics which is relatively new and constantly evolving.
To address this, Cloudera offers accredited, non-profit educational institutions a complete, industry-standard Hadoop curriculum at no charge through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP).
Ng said: “Schools in Singapore that have signed up with the CAP program include National University of Singapore, Temasek Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE). In Malaysia, we have the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Multimedia University and Sunway University. These schools can choose to teach the curriculum as it is or combine it with existing curriculum or modules such as business analytics and computer science. We do not dictate what these schools should do with the curriculum and this way they have the flexibility to assimilate the material into existing programs.”
2) Professional internships
“How can the students put into practice what they have learnt in school?” Ng continued. “One way is to make sure they get to take on internship roles in companies that practice big data analytics.”
The advantages are twofold: Participating companies get to work with the best interns from CAP and the interns get on-the-job experience. If the interns do really well during their internships, they may even get an early letter of offer of employment before they graduate from school.
3) Executive search firms
The key is to place these trained data professionals (or graduating students) and fill positions within the public and private sectors. This is where the executive search firms come in the BASE program. Graduating students can submit their resumes to the search firms, and these search firms can help place them with organisations in need of people with these skill sets.
4) Training partners
Students and graduates who wish to take it further in the career of data science can do so with Cloudera’s training partners. Training partners in BASE provide professional training courses and charge a fee for it. However, Ng remarked: “Cloudera’s certification program is one of the toughest in the world with less than 40 percent passing rate but once you are certified, you are recognised as a data scientist.”
5) Community movement
The existing professional community, through various certification programs and training, can add more value to their organisations with their added knowledge of data analytic skills and data science. Cloudera’s training partners also play a role in these certification programs and expand the data professionals’ community to enable more learning and sharing of knowledge, especially with both schools and government institutions/agencies. Additionally, private sector companies like Ambition, Dell, Intel, IDC, Itel, Iverson, Red Hat, Microsoft, OpenGov Asia, Talend, SAS Malaysia, SoftSource and Fusionex have agreed to join the initiative.
6) Government support
BASE was launched in collaboration with the Smart Nation Programme Office (SNPO) in Singapore, and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in Malaysia.
The Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI) in Singapore recently also announced that it is setting aside S$120 million to support both current and future infocomm professionals, which include high demand areas such as data analytics. Similarly, MDEC in Malaysia has said that it aims to produce 16,000 data professionals and 1,500 data scientists by 2020.
BASE works in tandem with these governmental initiatives to train more data professionals. Ng added: “It is crucial that we have the support of the governments. We are glad to see that BASE gets to play a role in the grand scheme of things and serves to help cultivate more data professionals for industries and the community.”
7) End user organsations
Ng summarised: “Most importantly, it is really about the end user of big data analytic skills and technology. By end user, I mean organisations who have a need for data professionals. For example, it can be a start-up business focusing on building a smartphone app; such as one that uses big data collected from wearable devices, used to monitor and ensure the safety and well-being of elderly people who are staying alone. Ultimately, it allows the user or related parties to make an informed decision.”
The beauty of BASE is not these seven pillars individually, but how they all come together to fulfil a bigger dream of serving the needs of the industries, the communities and the people.
The Philippines, situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire, is uniquely susceptible to a range of natural disasters stemming from its geographical location, including typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, which render it particularly vulnerable. Nevertheless, in response to these formidable challenges, the nation has embarked on an impressive trajectory of resilience enhancement, strategically emphasising the convergence of technology and preparedness as key focal points in their efforts.
As the impact of climate and its cascading effects intensify, the Philippines’ exposure to natural hazards and the significance of resilience has surged. Recognising the limitations of traditional disaster responses, the country has shifted focus. Instead of relying solely on those methods, they’re embracing forward-thinking strategies that integrate proactive measures and technological advancements to effectively confront these challenges head-on.
The core of this transition lies in the effectiveness of the integration of technology with disaster preparedness. This fusion of innovation and readiness is indispensable in the face of ever more frequent and severe natural calamities. In an era where data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and early warning systems have reached new heights, the Philippines is leveraging these technologies to build a nation better equipped to withstand and rebound from disasters.
The Philippines’ journey towards resilience is characterised by progressive solutions built on technology. From early warning systems that provide timely alerts to communities, to advanced data analytics aiding in disaster risk reduction, the country is pioneering approaches that safeguard its people, infrastructure, and economy.
Moreover, this evolution is not contained within national borders. The Philippines acknowledges the interconnectedness of global resilience, actively participating in international collaborations and sharing its expertise to enhance global disaster preparedness.
Engr. Niñaliza H. Escorial, the Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) within the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), discusses their vision in response to the rapidly changing global landscape of emerging technologies with OpenGov Asia.
She highlights the agency’s commitment to fostering advancements in Quantum technology, agreeing that it is in a nascent development stage. In a bid to enhance capabilities, PCIEERD is actively seeking collaborative partnerships abroad, emphasising knowledge exchange and capacity-building initiatives. The first step in this endeavour involves establishing an innovation laboratory in collaboration with DOST-ASTI, dedicated to Quantum technology research and development.
Engr. Niñaliza underscores PCIEERD’s dedication to technological innovation, particularly in advanced manufacturing, which greatly supports industries engaged in prototype development. They know the significance of acquiring substantial equipment, considering it pivotal in fostering growth and bolstering competitiveness within the industrial sector.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of blockchain technology within the technological landscape, PCIEERD is actively embracing its integration into their initiatives. Their strategic adoption of blockchain aims to fortify and elevate capabilities, emphasising the assurance of heightened security, transparency, and efficiency across an array of applications and systems within their purview. This deliberate incorporation signifies a proactive step towards optimising technological frameworks and operations for enhanced performance and reliability.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD is delving into Artificial Intelligence (AI), moving beyond exploration to practical applications. The focus extends to improving administrative processes through diverse AI applications. The agency is actively seeking ways to enhance and streamline administrative functions, emphasising efficiency and effectiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza elaborates on PCIEERD’s expansive AI initiatives, spanning various sectors to highlight the transformative capacity of AI applications. The agency is actively leveraging AI to revolutionise weather forecasting, understanding the critical necessity for enhanced accuracy and timeliness in predictions. This strategic utilisation of AI underscores their commitment to addressing pressing needs through technological innovation.
“By integrating AI into weather prediction models, the agency aims to enhance preparedness and response to changing weather conditions, contributing to overall disaster resilience,” Engr Niñaliza explains.
The focus extends to the projection and management of river systems, where AI technology proves invaluable in analysing complex hydrological data. This initiative enables more accurate predictions of river behaviour, vital for mitigating the impact of floods and ensuring sustainable water resource management.
As they also see the pivotal role of AI in ensuring a stable food supply, PCIEERD is deploying innovative AI applications in agro-industry. This includes optimising resource allocation, enhancing agro-industry practices, and improving overall crop yield and quality. These initiatives align with the agency’s commitment to harnessing technology for the nation’s food security.
AI has emerged as a vital tool in traffic management systems, with PCIEERD harnessing AI algorithms for monitoring and controlling traffic. Their goal is to ease congestion, improve transportation efficiency, and play a role in creating sustainable, more livable urban environments.
Within the manufacturing sector, PCIEERD’s focus extends to the integration of sensors, a strategic move to expedite production processes. This innovative approach enhances efficiency and precision in manufacturing, ultimately increasing productivity and global competitiveness.
Engr. Niñaliza expands on PCIEERD’s deployment of AI in health monitoring projects, specifically tailored for students. This proactive strategy facilitates early intervention, fostering a healthier learning atmosphere. It underscores the convergence of technology and public health, prioritising well-being within educational settings.
She highlights their steadfast commitment to making science accessible and relatable, especially to diverse audiences, with a primary focus on students. PCIEERD’s engagement in science communication is evident in strategically designed initiatives that foster a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.
Curated exhibits and workshops serve as dynamic platforms where students actively engage with scientific principles in a hands-on and immersive manner. These initiatives aim not only to impart knowledge but also to cultivate a genuine interest in science, aligning with educational curricula while promoting curiosity and exploration.
Taking cognisance of the evolving landscape of communication, PCIEERD actively harnesses the power of social media as a dynamic channel for disseminating scientific information. Through various platforms, the agency strives to reach a broader audience, transcending geographical constraints and connecting with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
The approach to science communication on social media is characterised by clarity, simplicity, and engagement, ensuring that complex scientific concepts are presented in an accessible and understandable manner.
PCIEERD’s main objective is to democratise science communication, making it accessible to individuals at all levels of familiarity with scientific concepts. The agency aims to simplify science, translating intricate ideas into language and visuals that resonate with the general public. This approach fosters a culture of inclusivity, breaking down barriers between scientific knowledge and everyday understanding.
By prioritising science communication from the grassroots level, PCIEERD contributes to a broader societal understanding of the significance of science and technology. Through these initiatives, PCIEERD is actively bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public, fostering a more informed, engaged and scientifically literate society.
The efforts go beyond conveying information; they aim to inspire a sense of wonder and appreciation for the role of science in shaping the world.
PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts extend to studying and benchmarking different food systems around the globe, particularly in terms of food technology. By exploring and learning from a wide range of methods, the agency seeks to integrate innovative food technologies that enhance productivity, reduce waste, and promote sustainability in agro-industry.
The primary focus lies in improving methods in agro-industry, streamlining supply chains, and strengthening a resilient food system capable of tackling the challenges presented by a swiftly evolving world. Insights gained will inform effective strategies, technological applications, and policy frameworks, tailor-fitted to strengthen the Philippines’ food security measures.
Acknowledging the environmental impact of waste, particularly its movement, PCIEERD is actively engaging in international collaboration on waste management. Through shared knowledge and best practices, the agency aims to minimise the environmental footprint of waste, emphasising sustainable waste disposal methods and embracing circular economy principles.
“One strategic avenue of international collaboration involves studying guidelines, especially during pandemics,” she elaborates.
They are keenly aware of the critical importance of understanding and adapting to global best practices in managing food systems amid pandemics, PCIEERD aims to examine diverse approaches worldwide. The emphasis is on collaboration to realise the goal of innovating food security initiatives through the use of advanced technologies.
Engr Niñaliza highlights the transformative potential of food technology as an essential in the fight against food hunger in the Philippines. The agency aims not only to develop solutions but also to craft comprehensive strategies that encompass both the preservation and consumption aspects of food.
By leveraging cutting-edge advancements in food technology, PCIEERD aspires to revolutionise the production, storage, and consumption of food, with the ultimate goal of significantly mitigating hunger on a large scale.
PCIEERD’s focus on preservation extends beyond traditional methods. The agency is actively seeking to harness innovative food preservation technologies to extend the shelf life of perishable goods, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance the overall efficiency of the food supply chain.
“Through these efforts, PCIEERD aims to ensure that a greater quantity of nutritious food reaches those in need, contributing to the alleviation of hunger in local communities,” Engr Niñaliza asserts.
Simultaneously, PCIEERD recognises the crucial role of addressing consumption patterns as part of its strategy. The agency accentuates the importance of educating and engaging the public, particularly the youth, in a comprehensive awareness campaign.
This campaign aims to foster a deeper understanding of the role of food technology in daily life, making the public aware of the benefits of innovative food products and promoting sustainable and healthy dietary choices.
Considering the pivotal role of AI in shaping the future, PCIEERD is committed to fostering AI literacy, especially among the youth. Initiatives are underway to raise awareness among young stakeholders, ensuring they grasp the potential and responsible use of AI technologies.
PCIEERD aims to empower the younger generation with AI knowledge, cultivating a pool of innovators who can contribute to the development and implementation of AI solutions in diverse sectors, including addressing food security challenges.
In terms of AI, PCIEERD’s international collaboration efforts encompass discourses on AI guidelines. The agency aspires to ensure that its AI initiatives align with global ethical standards and technological norms. Addressing ethical concerns related to AI is paramount, and through international collaboration, PCIEERD aims to contribute to the development of comprehensive and universally applicable guidelines.
Engr Niñaliza envisions a unified roadmap for all DOST agencies, the goal is to harmonise efforts and resources, creating a symphony of innovation across science and technology.
This blueprint aims to streamline initiatives, eliminate redundancies, and optimise resource allocation. The strategy leverages the collective expertise of each DOST agency, fostering collaboration for a greater impact on a national scale.
“By aligning priorities, the roadmap addresses critical challenges, from industry development to energy security and emerging technologies,” she says emphatically. “The holistic approach ensures that advancements in one sector enhance progress in others, creating a ripple effect of positive change.”
This vision fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, breaking down silos to adapt swiftly to emerging trends. The goal is to position the Philippines as a dynamic force in the global scientific community.
Engr Niñaliza’s dream for DOST-PCIEERD is one of convergence, collaboration, and collective impact. Guided by a shared roadmap, the vision propels the nation forward into a future where the transformative power of science and technology uplifts every aspect of Filipino society. Through this unified approach, DOST-PCIEERD actively crafts a legacy of innovation for generations to come.
Being the first female deputy at PCIEERD, Engr Niñaliza sees her role as a testament to the agency’s strides in inclusivity and merit appreciation. With 35 years of dedicated service, her journey reflects a commitment to progress and witnessed significant improvements in the research and development system.
Rising through the ranks, she brings valuable insights, navigating the dynamic field with a comprehensive understanding of internal workings. Notable is the evolution in research and development, marked by a commitment to innovation. PCIEERD’s culture values forward-thinking approaches, staying at the forefront of technological advancements and expanding horizons in industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
PCIEERD embraces upskilling, ensuring the team remains adaptable and proficient in the latest tools and methodologies. Innovative processes, from project conceptualisation to execution, streamline approaches and position the agency as a dynamic entity within the DOST framework.
The collective journey strengthens PCIEERD, equipping it to fulfil its mandate with resilience. Engr Niñaliza takes pride in contributing to this positive trajectory and looks forward to advancements through continued innovation, upskilling, and excellence in research and development.
PCIEERD’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship is demonstrated by the ambitious goal of funding 20 startups annually with a dedicated budget of PHP5 million (SG$135,000). This initiative injects vitality into the local startup ecosystem, fostering technological advancements, economic growth, and job creation.
Inclusivity is a core focus, with dedicated programmes for women empowerment in entrepreneurship. Through Women Helping Women initiatives, PCIEERD addresses challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, providing support, mentorship, and financial assistance. Gender diversity is celebrated in STEM fields, breaking down barriers and inspiring the next generation of women.
PCIEERD’s commitment goes well beyond financial support, creating networking opportunities, mentorship programmes, and platforms for knowledge exchange. By addressing gender disparities and championing diversity, PCIEERD enriches the overall fabric of innovation and progress in society.
The advice given by Engr Niñaliza to anyone aiming for success, regardless of gender or background, is based on the conviction that dedication to ongoing learning and personal development is necessary to realise one’s greatest potential.
“It’s imperative to align your efforts with your strengths and passions, doing what you excel at and what truly ignites your enthusiasm,” she asserts. “Success often follows when we are dedicated to refining our skills and staying open to new knowledge.”
Engr Niñaliza has seen firsthand the transformative power of setting clear goals and persistently working towards S&T, as she progressed from a technical role to becoming the first female deputy of DOST PCIEERD. It emphasises the significance of having a clear direction and a road map for professional and personal goals.
Learning, according to her should be an ongoing process that is not limited by age or stage of career. The pursuit of knowledge and skill enhancement should be constant, whether in technical or administrative roles. Individuals who adopt this mindset are better able to adapt to changing challenges and remain relevant in their respective fields.
Engr Nializa understands the importance of recognising burnout and the need for periodic recovery. In the pursuit of success, it is critical to pay attention to one’s well-being and know when a break is required. Recovering from burnout enables rejuvenation and renewed focus, laying the groundwork for long-term success.
Her experience exemplifies the philosophy of pursuing excellence through passion alignment, continuous learning, and resilience.
“By maintaining a clear goal, staying dedicated to improvement, and understanding the importance of self-care, individuals can navigate their unique paths to success, contributing meaningfully to their fields and making a lasting impact on their personal and professional journeys,” Engr Niñaliza ends passionately.
In a pioneering move to strengthen the capabilities of future robotic professionals, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has teamed up with seven esteemed local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to align and elevate learning outcomes in robotics courses.
This strategic collaboration aims to equip students with consistent knowledge and skills essential for their integration into the workforce and engagement in robotics work. The partnership, formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific Annual Summit, underscores a commitment to harmonising educational approaches in response to the dynamic landscape of Singapore’s growing robotics ecosystem.
This collaborative effort, led by Professor Quek Tong Boon, Chief Executive of the National Robotics Programme, addresses the imperative of cultivating a workforce adept in the Robot Operating System (ROS), an open-source framework pivotal in the development and control of robots.
According to Professor Quek, robotics courses are instrumental in shaping the skills, mindset, and capabilities of individuals, preparing them for impactful and rewarding careers in technology and innovation.
As ROS gains prominence in industrial robotics applications, facilitating seamless communication among robots with diverse manufacturers and user interfaces, the collaboration seeks to bolster the future workforce’s relevance and competitiveness. Likewise, it envisions empowering professionals to undertake higher-value tasks, aligning with the evolving demands of the robotics industry.
At the helm of this educational convergence is the ROS-Industrial Consortium Asia Pacific (ROS-I AP), managed by A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). The consortium spearheads collaborative endeavours with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
The ROS-I AP has been instrumental in adapting ROS capabilities to suit the hardware requirements of industrial applications. Traditionally, robots were programmed using proprietary solutions, constraining innovation.
Leveraging ROS’s open-source architecture, ROS-I AP catalyses the industry’s adoption of ROS by fostering collaboration, pooling resources, and sharing knowledge to drive ROS applications in manufacturing automation. The consortium also plays a pivotal role in training and outreach to cultivate a talent pool aligned with the increasing deployment of robots.
The MoU signifies a pivotal phase in a broader Train-and-Place programme championed by ROS-I AP, responding to the escalating demand for robotics-related skills in the Singaporean industry landscape. This initiative seeks to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of contributing to ROS-related projects within companies.
The collaborative efforts between ROS-I AP and IHLs aim to establish a standardised curriculum for ROS-based courses, ensuring a consistent quality of education delivery. The collaboration will also include monitoring the efficacy of course content through piloting in IHLs and assessing students, with a commitment to updating content to align with industry developments.
According to A*STAR, this holistic approach ensures that graduates across IHLs possess a baseline competency, instilling confidence in employers regarding the proficiency of these future robotic professionals.
Likewise, this collaboration signifies a concerted effort to shape the future of robotics education, ensuring that students receive a cohesive and advanced learning experience. As the robotics landscape continues to evolve, this strategic partnership not only meets current industry needs but also prepares the workforce for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the dynamic field of robotics.
The recent MSC Malaysia Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) 2023 witnessed the success of the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) with their pioneering creations, MAVIHUB and SMECollab. These innovations secured national acclaim, positioning themselves to represent Malaysian ingenuity at the imminent APICTA International competition in Hong Kong, China.
MAVIHUB and SMECollab, spearheaded by teams from APU, emerged victorious in the Industrial (Manufacturing) and Student (Tertiary) categories, respectively. These wins underscored APU’s standing as a leading hub for technological excellence and set the stage for its global prominence at the forthcoming APICTA competition.
MAVIHUB, led by Prof. Ir. Eur. Ing. Ts. Dr. Vinesh Thiruchelvam, Ir. Narendran Ramasenderan, and Mr. Krishna Ravinchandra, garnered attention with their innovative machine vision and deep learning solution, showcasing its potential to revolutionise manufacturing processes. Their debut victory at APICTA marked a milestone, emphasising their dedication to innovation and practical application.
“We showcased innovation in machine vision and robotic autonomy, demonstrating scalability and the potential impact of our project,” explained Ir. Narendran, representing MAVIHUB.
MAVIHUB is strategically charting its course for the international competition in Hong Kong. The team is meticulously evaluating whether to enhance their current project or embark on a new endeavour, aiming to align with the competition’s criteria and engage a broader audience.
Similarly, SMECollab, comprising Computer Science students specialising in Data Analytics, showcased their solution which addresses contemporary challenges faced by SMEs. Guided by mentors Prof. Vinesh and Georg Chmiel, their AI-based collaborative platform evolved through continuous refinement, culminating in their national accolade.
Participating in APICTA unveiled a realm of learning opportunities, exposing the teams to diverse perspectives and fostering their growth within the industrial and technological landscape. It catalysed their growth, enabling networking opportunities, skill development, and exposure to potential partnerships.
In another triumph for the university, Shah Faisal, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at APU, attained the Second Prize in the individual category of the esteemed IEM Student Research e-Poster Competition 2023, organised by the Marine Engineering & Naval Architecture Technical Division of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM).
The competition, themed around Sustainability and Integrated Engineering, drew participants from diverse educational backgrounds, engaging graduates, undergraduates, and community college students alike.
Challenging and multi-staged, the competition involved rigorous rounds where participants crafted comprehensive research posters elucidating problem statements, objectives, methodologies, results, and the potential impact on enhancing sustainability.
His winning research project, “Smart Health Monitoring System for Rural COVID-19 Patients”, project comprised three vital components:
Health Monitoring Device: Capturing a wide array of vital information such as body temperature, Blood Oxygen Levels (SPO2 levels), heart rate (BPM), room temperature, humidity levels, and Mental Health Index assessment.
Solar Charging Station: Employing dual-axis solar tracking technology for sustainability and independence from the conventional power grid.
Application: A platform displaying diverse vital readings to healthcare professionals and patients, featuring pre-diagnostic analysis and facilitating doctor-patient communication.
Reflecting on the intense competition that brought together Malaysia’s brightest minds, Shah Faisal expressed his excitement, stating, “I was thrilled to make it to the final round. Presenting and defending my research in front of the judges, followed by an extensive Q&A, was truly exhilarating.”
The triumphs of MAVIHUB, SMECollab and Shah Faisal are not only proof of APU’s technological prowess but also highlight Malaysia’s commitment to innovation on the global stage. Their journeys stand as a testament to the transformative power of innovation, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in the realm of technology.
As a vital arm of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) holds a pivotal role as one of the three sectoral planning councils within the organisation.
Founded on 29 June 2010, PCIEERD is distinguished by its unique commitment to driving research and development initiatives, particularly in the industries, energy, and emerging technology sectors.
Functioning as a pivotal agency, DOST-PCIEERD takes a central role in crafting policies, plans, and programmes, along with implementing strategies in the designated sectors. The execution of these initiatives is facilitated through a spectrum of Science and Technology (S&T) programmes designed to promote innovation and progress.
Encompassing a broad spectrum, DOST-PCIEERD extends research and development (R&D) support across 21 sectors, broadly categorised under industry, energy, emerging technology, and special concerns.
The council plays a crucial role in disseminating and promoting S&T information, undertaking sustained programmes for information dissemination. This proactive approach aims to enhance the accessibility and utilisation of information and research results by the diverse array of customers and stakeholders associated with the sectors.
In its commitment to fostering growth, DOST-PCIEERD dedicates efforts to developing and enhancing R&D and support capabilities. This forward-looking perspective ensures the fulfilment of present and future human resource and institutional requirements.
Moreover, the council actively contributes to technological advancement by adopting, transferring, and commercialising available technologies. In doing so, DOST-PCIEERD plays a vital role in propelling the nation’s scientific and technological landscape towards greater heights.
Driving Innovation and Industry Development
In an exclusive interview with OpenGov Asia, Dr Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, sheds light on compelling projects that underscore the council’s significant influence on research and development in the realms of industry, energy, and emerging technology.
At the forefront of catalysing research and development in the Philippines, DOST-PCIEERD has been a driving force behind diverse programmes and initiatives. Launched in 2015, the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP) has emerged as a cornerstone, playing a pivotal role in the expansion or modernisation of academic and research institutions.
Under the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP), DOST-PCIEERD has actively spearheaded initiatives encompassing the acquisition of cutting-edge laboratory facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, and specialised software. Between 2015 to 2023, this strategic investment, totalling Php234.4 million (S$6.31 million), has yielded transformative outcomes, facilitating the establishment and enhancement of 49 laboratories across the nation. This concerted effort reflects the commitment to fortify research capabilities and foster innovation within academic and research institutions.
In line with the DOST Halal Policy, the DOST Halal S&T Programme was initiated to support the development of the Halal industry. This programme focuses on research and development, technology transfer, human resource development, and Halal verification through laboratory testing. Additionally, efforts have been directed towards fortifying the Filipino Halal sector to meet global benchmarks, enhance competitiveness, and improve research and development.
Dr Enrico explains that the Food Safety Programme, Food Innovation Centres, and Natural Dyes facilities have been established to strengthen the food industry and improve the living standards of Filipino people. The commitment extends to bolstering the country’s manufacturing industry by providing cutting-edge facilities for specialised testing, designing, and research and development in key sectors like food, electronics, and materials.
Under the OneLab Programme, regional testing facilities have been consolidated into a unified network, providing easy access to a global network of public and private laboratories for analytical and calibration needs. This initiative promotes collaboration among students, researchers, and industry stakeholders, with information accessible through the onelab.ph website.
The National Metrology Laboratory (NML) leads metrology efforts in the Philippines and has achieved international recognition. However, continued support is required for the expansion of Calibration and Measurement Capabilities (CMCs) to maintain competence globally.
Dr Enrico reveals that the establishment of the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) marks the country’s first electronics design facility, aimed at reinforcing and upgrading failure analysis and materials testing facilities to attract potential investors and promote a conducive business environment.
The Electronics Product Development Centre (EPDC) serves as the national testing facility, providing design, prototyping, and testing facilities for printed circuit boards. The goal is to support companies and schools in developing hardware and software for electronics products.
The Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMCen), on the other hand, has been established as the national centre of excellence in additive manufacturing, focusing on areas like Aerospace and Defense, Pharmaceutical/Healthcare, Novel Electronics, Agriculture, and Automotive.
In addition, the renewable energy projects include a micro-hydro turbine research and testing facility in Morong, Rizal, supporting off-grid electrification for communities. The Mindanao Renewable Energy Centre (MREC) focuses on Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Ocean Renewable Energy (ORE) facilities, aiming to harness energy from solar power and simulate tidal and wave characteristics.
To serve as a bridge between R&D and commercialisation, the Funding Assistance for Spin-off and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialisation (FASTRAC) Programme supports technologies such as USHER, CharM, FISH_I, Smart Surface, CATCH-ALL, Marine Nanocoat, Monascus Red Colorant, Fruitect, HormoGroe, Gitara ni Juan, X-LIPAD, MapX, Vigormin, and others.
Embedded in the ethos of DOST, a circular economy mindset takes centre stage, underscoring a dedication to initiatives that champion environmental stewardship and optimal resource utilisation. Positioned as a key tenet within the DOST framework, this pledge manifests in the backing of projects geared towards converting waste materials into valuable and sustainable resources.
A notable example is the successful initiative led by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), wherein an in-depth analysis of dredged material from the Tullahan River was undertaken to investigate alternative applications. This project exemplifies a forward-thinking strategy in tackling environmental issues by repurposing materials that would otherwise contribute to waste, showcasing a commitment to sustainable solutions and resourcefulness.
The University of Mindanao is leading another remarkable sustainable initiative, centring on the transformation of durian rinds into 3D printing filaments. This inventive project not only addresses waste reduction but also taps into the potential of agricultural by-products, underscoring a steadfast commitment to sustainability and resource optimisation.
“At the core of our mission, we prioritise environmental sustainability, ensuring that our operations, activities, and programmes are conducted with a steadfast commitment to minimising adverse impacts on the environment,” Dr Enrico states.
Recognising the importance of ecological responsibility, PCIERRD incorporates environmental considerations as a pivotal metric in the assessment of proposals. This approach underscores its unwavering commitment to nurturing initiatives that adhere to the principles of environmental conservation and responsible stewardship.
Dedicated to environmental stewardship, the agency proactively pursues a science and technology roadmap for tackling and mitigating challenges related to waste management. Under the leadership of Dr Enrico, PCIERRD aims to assume a pivotal role in shaping sustainable practices that advocate for the responsible use and disposal of resources.
Demonstrating a responsible use of resources through its life cycle, PCIERRD fulfils its mandate to actively support the Clean Air Act (RA8749). By championing the implementation of this key legislation, the agency contributes significantly to promoting clean air standards and mitigating air pollution, aligning its efforts with broader initiatives that prioritise the health of both the environment and local communities.
“Through these multifaceted approaches, we strive to be proactive stewards of the environment, integrating sustainability principles into the fabric of the industrial operations; thereby promoting responsible practices within the realm of science and technology,” Dr Enrico emphasises.
The success of PCIERRD can be attributed in part to its ability to develop talent and inspire upcoming researchers and innovators to advance the country’s technological frontiers. In 2017, the country witnessed the launch of the Young Innovators Programme (YIP), designed as an inclusive platform for highly talented high school students aspiring to gain research experience.
The programme invites these young minds to gain experience in research under the guidance of mentors, facilitating hands-on learning and fostering a spirit of scientific inquiry. The objective of YIP is to equip and prepare these young researchers to undertake independent research endeavors, supported by funding allocated to innovative research projects.
Since its inception, the Young Innovators Programme has made significant strides in cultivating a new era of scientific exploration and inventive breakthroughs within the country. A total of Php37 million (SG$1 million) in funding has been disbursed across 56 approved projects, providing vital resources for these young innovators to bring their ideas to fruition.
The programme’s impact extends beyond financial support, contributing to the development of a vibrant community of budding scientists and researchers who are poised to make meaningful contributions to the scientific landscape in the years to come.
Nurturing Ingenuity Through Partnerships
According to Dr Enrico, engaging with diverse stakeholders is at the core of their approach as they strive to meet the evolving needs of the 21 sectors under its support. Through focused initiatives such as focus group discussions and consultation, they actively seek input from industry stakeholders, research institutions, and government agencies.
“This collaborative process allows us to gain valuable insights into the specific requirements and challenges faced by each sector, informing the direction of our research and development endeavours,” Dr Enrico explains.
Beyond external engagement, PCIEERD places considerable emphasis on internal feedback mechanisms. Tools such as the Research Fairness Survey and the R&D Customer Preference Survey serve as valuable means to directly collect insights from researchers. This two-way communication approach ensures that the perspectives and experiences of those actively engaged in the research process are taken into account, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and responsiveness within the organisation.
Collaboration remains a cornerstone of their strategy, and they actively cultivate partnerships with industry stakeholders. Through a range of programmes, such as the Expert Intervention for Scientific Engagement (ExperTiSE) programme, Regional Research Institutions (RRI), research attachments and expert visits, PCIEERD creates avenues for meaningful cooperation.
These collaborative initiatives not only enhance the effectiveness of the research but also contribute to the broader goal of fostering innovation and sustainable development across diverse sectors.
Furthermore, DOST-PCIEERD recognises the pivotal role of international alliances and partnerships, strategically emphasising their significance in advancing research and development in the fields of industry, energy, and emerging technology.
This concerted effort is driven by a commitment to contribute to the growth of scientific knowledge, facilitate technology transfer, spur economic development, and enhance the capacity to address global challenges effectively.
International partnerships provide a crucial avenue for knowledge exchange, where foreign counterparts and experts bring expertise that exposes Filipino researchers to cutting-edge technologies, methodologies, and the sharing of best practices.
Such exposure not only enhances the skills of local researchers, rendering them more competitive on the international stage but also unlocks new opportunities for commercialising innovative technologies in the global market. Consequently, it bridges the gap between research and market application, facilitating technology pathways that contribute to economic growth through income and job creation.
Several notable international engagements exemplify the commitment of DOST-PCIEERD to fostering global collaborations. Among them, the e-ASIA initiative stands out – a multilateral international joint effort involving public funding organisations from East Asia Summit (EAS) member countries.
Additionally, the Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Research and Innovation (SEA-EU JFS) facilitates joint funding of bi-regional, multi-lateral research and innovation projects, fostering cooperation between Southeast Asia and Europe.
Joint efforts such as the UKRI-NERC initiative address specific challenges, exemplified by the “Sustainable Mineral Resources in the Philippines” programme. This collaborative effort aims to fund research that offers a comprehensive perspective on mineral production in the Philippines and address environmental issues associated with legacy and abandoned mines.
Another noteworthy effort is the UKRI-JST-DOST ‘Science, Technology and Action’ Nexus for Development (STAND) Collaboration, which seeks to foster international research interaction and exchange among researchers in Japan, the United Kingdom, and Southeast Asia. This collaboration focuses on projects contributing to sustainable development in Southeast Asia, aligning with the broader goals of knowledge sharing and capacity building on a global scale.
Public-private partnerships have also contributed to the advancement of industry, energy, and emerging technology in the country. In June 2023, PCIEERD took a significant step forward in fortifying its collaboration with the mining industry by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
This partnership encompasses three key areas aimed at fostering advancements and sustainability within the mining sector.
Firstly, there is a focus on the collaborative drafting of a nickel roadmap, with active consultation involving both mining industries and key government agencies. This initiative aims to chart a strategic course for the nickel industry, ensuring alignment with industry needs and national development goals.
Another crucial facet of the partnership involves an increased emphasis on research related to green minerals, particularly in anticipation of their translation into components for Electric Vehicles (EVs). This forward-looking approach aligns with the global shift towards sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies, positioning the mining industry to play a pivotal role in the emerging green economy.
Additionally, the collaborative efforts extend to the improvement of energy efficiency and the promotion of renewable energy within the mining sector. By addressing these critical aspects, the partnership endeavours to enhance the sustainability and environmental impact of mining operations, aligning with broader goals of responsible resource utilisation and energy conservation.
PCIEERD maintains an ongoing and fruitful partnership with the Philippine Technological Council (PTC), a non-stock, non-profit private organisation. The collaboration with PTC unfolds through its accreditation service, serving as a mechanism to facilitate capstone projects and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiatives.
This sustained partnership underscores PCIEERD’s commitment to advancing technological excellence, education, and innovation within the Philippines, fostering a collaborative ecosystem that transcends industry boundaries for the greater benefit of scientific and technological progress.
Unveiling Key Strategies
Dr Enrico reveals the key strategic priorities and initiatives he is focusing on as the Executive Director of PCIEERD to foster innovation and drive industry development in the Philippines.
“Guided by the Harmonised National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) for the period 2022-2028, our research initiatives are intricately woven into a framework that aligns with the broader vision encapsulated in AmBisyon Natin 2040,” Dr Enrico highlights.
Envisioning a promising future for Filipinos, the HNRDA is anchored in the pillars of Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Kaunlaran, which collectively advocate for inclusive growth, a resilient society, and the cultivation of a competitive knowledge economy.
In pursuit of these aspirations, PCIERRD has embarked on pioneering programmes aimed at revolutionising the local transport systems. Spearheaded by the ELECTROMOBILITY R&D Centre, and R&D Centre for Advanced Batteries, these initiatives focus on the development and implementation of electric vehicles and enhancing advanced battery technology.
These efforts align with the priorities of the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (CREVI). Additionally, PCIERRD has several initiatives on maritime transport on the electrification of boats and ferries.
“This strategic move reflects our commitment to advancing sustainable and eco-friendly solutions in the domain of transportation,” Dr Enrico furthers. “Our commitment extends to the empowerment of local governance through the implementation of the Smart Cities initiative.”
Significant transformations have been realised in cities such as Baguio, Cauayan, Iloilo, and Butuan, where the integration of smart technologies has contributed to improved urban living. The success of these endeavours has prompted an expansion of the programme beyond cities, reaching into various communities as part of our ongoing efforts to create more inclusive and technologically empowered environments.
Recognising the critical role of startups in driving innovation, PCIERRD actively supports the startup ecosystem through the Startup Grant Fund. The comprehensive programmes assist startups throughout their journey, from the initial ideation phase to full commercialisation. By nurturing and facilitating the growth of startups, they contribute to the dynamism of the entrepreneurial landscape and the overall economic development of the region.
Dr Enrico underscores in the domain of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the DOST endeavours are guided by a comprehensive 2019-2029 R&D Programme Framework. This strategic blueprint delineates a path to ensure the Philippines remains a frontrunner in the global evolution of AI technologies.
The primary thrusts of this initiative span across National Infrastructure, where the DOST has distributed nine High-Performance Computing (HPC) machines to higher education institutions, catalysing the commencement of new AI projects.
The groundwork laid in 2014 with the establishment of the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (CoARE) further bolsters these efforts, providing free access to HPC and Cloud services. The overarching goal is to enhance connectivity and expedite digital transformation by 2024, with a specific target of elevating the PH e-government index to 0.85 by 2029.
The DOST’s dedication to AI extends beyond infrastructure to encompass Capacity Building, where initiatives are undertaken to nurture the skills and expertise necessary for meaningful AI contributions. Simultaneously, the focus on Research and Data initiatives accentuates the commitment to advancing the knowledge frontier in AI.
Additionally, the department actively engages in developing Policies and Stakeholder relationships, ensuring a holistic and forward-looking approach to AI development within the country. This multi-faceted strategy underscores the DOST’s commitment to positioning the Philippines as a key player in the dynamic landscape of AI innovation and progress.
“In our pursuit of ensuring the Philippines’ prominence in technological innovation and sustainable development globally, DOST-PCIEERD employs a multifaceted approach encompassing various strategic initiatives. One pivotal effort involves bridging the gap between academic research and industry through the establishment of Technology Business Incubators (TBIs),” Dr Enrico asserts.
With 54 members in the DOST TBI Network, including 32 industry-based and 22 agriculture- and aquaculture-focused TBIs across Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the investments since 2018 have totalled Php411 million (SG$11.1 million).
These TBIs have incubated 1,359 startups, generated 5,696 jobs, attracted over Php1.87 billion (SG$50.49 million) in private investments, and produced Php907 million (SG$24.49 million) in startup revenue. Additionally, the TBIs themselves have secured Php118.3 million (SG$3.19 million) in private investments from various partners.
To promote science education in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), they fund projects such as the Philippine Science Centrum Travelling Exhibit. This initiative, spanning 26 GIDA districts across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, has reached 300,000 students and instructed 4,000 teachers in basic science experiments, enhancing education in these remote areas.
Acknowledging the vital role of women entrepreneurs, initiatives like Women-Helping-Women: Innovative Social Enterprises (WHWise) aims to support and acknowledge women driving economic growth and sustainable development in their communities.
Strategic planning is another cornerstone of the approach, with formulated roadmaps and sectoral strategies for the 21 supported sectors. These roadmaps not only guide the development of specific research programmes but also contribute to the realisation of sustainable development goals.
Collectively, these strategies underscore the commitment to enhancing the country’s competitiveness and productivity in the global landscape of technological innovation and sustainable development, fostering a comprehensive and impactful approach to propel the nation forward.
Nexus of Innovation by 2040
“Our forward-looking vision is rooted in becoming the Nexus of Innovation by the year 2040,” Dr Enrico shares his vision for PCIEERD’s position in the global context in the next three years. “Positioned as a leader in the country’s competitiveness and productivity, we aim to enable science and technology solutions across the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors, all while upholding the principles of good governance.”
To realise this vision, global collaboration stands as a cornerstone of this strategy. They envision strengthening international partnerships and collaborations with funding institutions worldwide. By engaging with global counterparts, they seek to foster knowledge-sharing, promote cooperation and teamwork, facilitate mutual learning, and collectively drive innovation in the realms of industry, energy, and emerging technologies.
An essential aspect of their approach involves a dedicated focus on investment in Research and Development (R&D). By prioritising R&D investment, they ensure that PCIEERD remains at the forefront of technological advancements in the Industry, Energy, and Emerging (IEE) sectors. This commitment contributes to global innovation efforts and positions the nation as a key player in addressing pressing global challenges through technological solutions.
Their commitment extends to robust mechanisms for technology transfer and commercialisation. By effectively translating the R&D findings and innovations into practical applications and marketable products, they strive to bridge the gap between research outcomes and real-world impact.
“Knowledge dissemination forms another crucial element of our strategy. We are committed to sharing our S&T outputs, technological advancements, and success stories in technology transfer and commercialisation, both locally and globally,” Dr Enrico says emphatically. “This proactive approach ensures that the benefits of our innovations reach diverse audiences, contributing to the broader global knowledge pool.”
In all aspects of their operations, sustainability is a guiding principle. They are committed to using sustainable practices in everything they do, from research to innovations, technology transfers, and commercialisation.
Through their actions, they actively support the preservation of the environment on a global scale and are consistent with larger sustainability objectives, exemplifying a responsible and comprehensive approach to scientific and technological advancement.
“Embracing the role of a scientist is to willingly confront the mysteries of the unknown, and it is this very challenge that captivates me,” says Dr Enrico, who completed his doctorate at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and served as the principal scientist for DOST Project NOAH and the DOST DREAM LIDAR Programme.
Seeking out interesting and meaningful challenges brought him joy. His work at PCIEERD is similar to a large-scale experiment in which he develops theories and verifies them against reality.
He believes that this dynamic process fosters continuous innovation by pushing boundaries and revealing new possibilities. The core values of high integrity, innovation, and excellence serve as guiding principles, propelling the entire PCIEEED led by him to strive for excellence in all that they do.
“We are committed to exploring new ground in science and are constantly looking for ways to offer significant discoveries and solutions that have a long-term impact for the benefit of the whole nation,” Dr Enrico concludes.
In a bid to empower food manufacturers to embrace sustainability, Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) has unveiled the Sustainability Playbook for Food Manufacturers. Announced by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Grace Fu, this playbook is a key component of the Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP), aiming to equip companies with the tools and insights needed for their sustainability journey.
Jeannie Lim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Lifestyle & Consumer) at EnterpriseSG, emphasised the imperative for food manufacturers to navigate global supply chain challenges, evolving sustainability regulations, and the rising demand for climate-conscious food products. Jeannie introduced the playbook as a comprehensive guide, offering strategies and resources to help companies incorporate sustainability practices into their operations.
The playbook, part of the ESP series, presents a step-by-step approach for food manufacturers, featuring checklists with recommended starting points for core sustainability strategies and relevant resources. It outlines three fundamental strategies to enhance sustainability:
- Optimising Resources: The playbook advocates for a review of current manufacturing processes to identify opportunities for resource optimisation. Investments in energy-efficient equipment, on-site energy generation like solar panels, and digitalisation for increased efficiency and waste reduction are highlighted.
- Valorising Food Side Streams: Encouraging the repurposing of food manufacturing by-products into higher value-added products, such as plant-based cheese and probiotic beverages. The playbook identifies key side streams in Singapore, including okara, brewers’ spent grain, surplus bread, and fruits, offering innovative solutions to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable products.
- Adopting Sustainable Packaging: Recognising the importance of sustainable packaging for global market access, the playbook encourages the reduction of packaging and the use of recyclable or sustainable materials with enhanced shelf-life stability.
To complement the Sustainability Playbook, EnterpriseSG, in collaboration with the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA), announced the “Embracing Sustainability for Enterprise Growth in Food Manufacturing” course. This provides an introduction to sustainability concepts and equips food manufacturing companies with the necessary tools and support to take tangible steps towards sustainability.
The course, scheduled for Q1 2024, offers participants access to a sustainability assessment toolkit and personalised advisory sessions to kickstart their sustainability journey. EnterpriseSG will defray 70% of course fees for eligible businesses, making it an accessible and valuable resource for companies looking to enhance their sustainability capabilities.
According to Enterprise Singapore, their initiatives are poised to guide food manufacturers towards a future where environmental consciousness aligns seamlessly with business success. The playbook and course serve as inspirations, illuminating the path for companies to thrive in an era where sustainability is both a responsibility and a competitive advantage.
Digital tools are pivotal in advancing sustainable food manufacturing, revolutionising processes and fostering environmental stewardship. These tools optimise resource utilisation, emphasising energy-efficient equipment and digitalisation to enhance operational efficiency.
By identifying areas for improvement and implementing smart technologies, companies can minimise waste, reduce carbon footprints, and embrace eco-friendly practices. The integration of digital solutions allows for real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, and precision control, enabling precise resource management and minimising environmental impact.
Sustainable packaging initiatives, facilitated by these tools, further contribute to eco-conscious practices, aligning with global sustainability goals. The adoption of digital tools in food manufacturing not only improves operational effectiveness but also positions the industry as a leader in environmentally responsible practices, ensuring a more sustainable and resilient future.
In a session at the Dewan Negara, Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran proposed a significant expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) courses across public universities, aligning with the anticipated transformative impact of AI technology on the future job landscape.
Senator Chandran emphasised that greater participation of higher education institutions in offering AI courses would create a more extensive platform for cultivating experts capable of addressing the challenges arising from the evolution and development of AI technology.
Citing a study conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources, which projected that approximately 4.5 million workers in the country could face job displacement by 2030 due to advancements in AI and Machine Learning (ML), Senator Chandran underscored the importance of mitigating this risk through the provision of additional AI-related educational opportunities. While acknowledging that the majority of jobs at risk are categorised as semi-skilled and unskilled, he stressed the profound impact such a shift could have on people’s livelihoods, warranting proactive measures.
These proposals were articulated during the deliberation of the Supply Bill 2024 in the Dewan Negara. Senator Chandran expressed support for the government’s initiative to establish the nation’s first Artificial Intelligence Studies Centre, housed at the Faculty of Artificial Intelligence in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). This centre, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as part of the Budget 2024, received an initial allocation of RM20 million.
While commending the establishment of the AI Studies Centre at UTM, Senator Chandran argued for a more intensified effort, calling for the active involvement of additional public higher education institutions in providing AI courses. He believed that expanding educational offerings in the AI field could play a crucial role in reducing the projected job displacement and equipping the workforce with the necessary skills for the evolving job market.
In the context of potential job losses outlined in the Ministry of Human Resources study, Senator Chandran stressed the significance of not underestimating the impact of AI and ML advancements. He emphasised that the livelihoods of individuals were at stake, necessitating a proactive approach to skill development and education in emerging technologies.
Furthermore, Senator Chandran argued that the participation of more educational institutions in offering AI studies could have broader economic implications. He suggested that a robust educational ecosystem in AI would be an attractive factor for investors in the industry, as it would demonstrate the country’s commitment to fostering a skilled and credible talent pool capable of meeting the demands of the evolving job market.
In mid-October, Malaysia presented its 2024 budget, said to be the largest in the nation’s history, with an allocation of RM303 billion (US$64.7 billion). To fulfil fiscal obligations and decrease the deficit to 4.3%, the budget introduces significant structural changes to Malaysia’s tax system, affecting both businesses and individuals.
Notably, a capital gains tax is introduced, and there is an upswing in service tax rates. Furthermore, the government has confirmed the implementation of e-invoicing starting from 1 August 2024 and the adoption of the global minimum tax in 2025. These measures signify a comprehensive approach to fiscal management, aiming to enhance revenue streams, streamline tax processes, and align with global taxation standards.
Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran’s proposals centre around the crucial role of education in mitigating the potential negative impacts of AI and ML advancements on the job market. By advocating for an expanded offering of AI courses in public universities, he aims to not only address the challenges posed by technological developments but also position the country as an attractive destination for investments in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence.
China has achieved a significant milestone in the advancement of its computing infrastructure with the official release of the national standard GB/T 43331-2023, titled “Internet Data Centre (IDC) Technology and Classification Requirements.” This strategic move underscores a steadfast commitment to propelling the robust development of the computing industry within the country.
Spearheaded by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), in collaboration with various enterprises and institutions, this achievement signifies a dedication to aligning with the evolving needs of the national computing infrastructure and ensuring the high-quality evolution of the computing industry.
The comprehensive scope of GB/T 43331-2023 spans six dynamic aspects, mirroring the complexity of the digital landscape it seeks to regulate. These aspects include greenness, availability, security, service capabilities, computing power, and computing efficiency, with an added emphasis on low-carbon practices.
At its core, this national standard is designed to serve as a guiding framework for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of Internet Data Centres (IDCs). The creators envision a future where GB/T 43331-2023 acts as a catalyst, propelling diverse industries forward by facilitating a more profound integration of computing infrastructure.
The roots of this groundbreaking standard extend back to 2013 when the data centre team of the Institute of Cloud Computing and Big Data at the CAICT embarked on a mission to standardise the communication industry.
Over the years, several data centre rating standards have emerged, each contributing as a stepping stone towards the ultimate realisation of GB/T 43331-2023. This national standard has now come to fruition after years of collaboration with users, designers, and industry suppliers.
According to CAICT, the standard places a strong emphasis on energy efficiency, a longstanding concern in the development of data centres. No longer a vague aspiration, GB/T 43331-2023 outlines specific requirements aimed at elevating the energy efficiency levels of data centres through the application of green technology and adept operation and maintenance system management.
Beyond technology, the standard underscores a commitment to responsible and sustainable practices. It addresses service capabilities through a comprehensive evaluation of external services in data centres. This assessment isn’t a mere formality; it objectively gauges capabilities, fostering self-improvement within data centres and aiding customers in selecting facilities suitable for their business needs.
The newly released standard also focuses on availability, enhancing data centre resilience through improved equipment redundancy. This ensures data protection during emergencies, fortifying the foundational architecture of the digital world. Security, a paramount concern in the data-centric era, receives meticulous attention. Beyond conventional measures like firewalls and passwords, the standard aims to ensure the safety of both data centre equipment and personnel, adopting a holistic approach to fortify the guardians of the digital realms.
The CAICT added that the GB/T 43331-2023 is not merely a set of regulations; it is a guidebook signalling a future where computing infrastructure seamlessly integrates into daily life. It represents a collaborative effort among academia, industry, and innovation, shaping a digital landscape that is not only efficient but also sustainable, secure, and prepared for future challenges.
By establishing common guidelines, protocols, and specifications, these standards ensure that hardware and software components from different vendors can seamlessly communicate and function as part of an integrated system. This not only simplifies integration processes but also fosters a more open and competitive market.