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Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Working to Nurture Tech-Based Entrepreneurs

Image Credits: PR Newswire, Press Release

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), aligned with its tagline, “innovative, entrepreneurial and global”, has produced 45 tech-based spin-off companies. By anchoring its R&D niche areas such as Frontier Materials, Resource Sustainability, Innovative Engineering, Health and Wellness and Smart Digital Community, UTM aims to nurture and produce more spin-off companies in the future.

Some of UTM’s research-based spin-off companies have sustained millions of revenues annually and yielded high returns to the University.

Since obtaining its Research University status in 2010, UTM has been focusing on ensuring that its R&D matches the market and society needs. Hence, a concentrated effort to commercialise its R&D is set in motion by developing a strategic ecosystem that focuses on nurturing researchers and students through various programs.

Role of the Technology Transfer Office

Championing this effort is UTM’s Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (ICC), the University’s technology transfer office that assists researchers and students in commercialising their research products and establishing spin-offs and start-ups through three phases.

Through collaborations with the Centre for Student Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship, UTM Career Centre, and Students Entrepreneurship Clubs, ICC has developed a three-phase strategic program comprising “Novice”, “Competence”, and “Advance”. Those on board the program is provided with the tools and know-how to become technopreneurs through knowledge transfers, facilities, funds and industry connections support.

Novice

Novice is an initial stage in which researchers and students are guided through the journey of producing an idea and prototype through experiments and developing proof of concept until it gains Intellectual Property (IP) protection. Generating innovative ideas requires researchers and students to work on scalable projects. Therefore, final year projects are designed to suit this purpose and are further strengthened by business idea competitions and hackathons.

Competence and Advance

Competence and Advance are phases that accelerate the commercialisation process. For this purpose, UTM has introduced a unique incubation program to support researchers in advancing the Lab-to-Market process called ICCubeX.

ICCubeX comprises a mentorship program involving numerous groups of technopreneurs for researchers and a Symbiosis program for postgraduate and undergraduate students that focuses on integrating prospective technologies developed by universities and research centres.

In addition, Prototype Development Fund, Technology Implementation Fund, and Product Commercialisation Fund are provided subject to rigorous assessment at the screening stage to determine the successful recipients.

In these final phases, spin-offs and start-ups are also provided with facilities such as office, laboratory or manufacturing spaces and more at UTM’s own Technovation Park, reflecting its commitment to end-to-end support for researchers and students.

Synergising Students and Researchers 

According to the Director of UTM ICC, UTM will add value to its commercialisation ecosystem by directly synergising researchers and students via this strategic platform to the current start-up trends.

The University is looking forward to nurturing its undergraduate and postgraduate students better with real exposure and mentorships by synergising them with researchers in the programs or activities under our commercialisation ecosystem.

This initiative will help produce more tech-based start-ups or CEO of spin-off companies among students and directly contribute to the University graduate employability rate in the future.

UTM, through its commercialisation ecosystem, produces not only entrepreneurs but also technology and innovation that can increase wealth creation and the well-being of society.

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