A Case Study and Explorative Analysis of the Development of Nanotechnology in Malaysia

Author(s): Kasthoory Rajalingam

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Abstract: The theme of this paper - that which prescribes the term nanotechnology is no stranger to the scientific community around the world, even though it remains a mysterious realm of unknown possibilities among the broad-spectrum of scientific faculties and a current oblivion to the common public. It is undoubtedly a subdivision that branches out from various scientific faculties such as physics, biology and chemistry. None of these disciplines can claim its ownership on nanotechnology. However, it has yet to be regarded as a standalone field of technology. It is therefore currently considered as both a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of science. The scientific activity that takes place between 1 - 100 nm has brought about prodigious participation from interested governments in various countries who have tumultuously become absorbed with its soon to be seen visionary benefits. One of these countries is Malaysia. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was initiated in Malaysia in 2006 and local developments are still at its infancy. Nonetheless, it can be observed that there has been lot of activities that have been conducted by various universities/institutes/CoEs to coxswain the advancement and sustainability of nanotechnology in our country. Efforts have been boosting but the level of progressive outputs has been slow paced, resulting in the sluggish rate of infiltration of nanotechnology prototypes - products into the commercial arena. Even way before the NNI was initiated; many of these universities/institutes/CoEs have been granted hefty amounts of dough to assist in translating lab prototypes into full-fledged products. Even so, there seems to have been a lack of any visible and massive impact coming from these endowments. In comparison and notwithstanding the fact that many countries' nanotechnology initiatives have suffered major pitfalls in bridging the R&D and commercialization of nanotechnology; yet these countries possess several significant and successful R&D to commercial outputs to their name. This paper provides a case narrative and analysis of the development of nanotechnology in Malaysia via a brief synopsis that identifies the country's principal propellers of science and technology, particularly in nanotechnology, which have been significantly designated as a major thrust area. A further elaboration on the current setting of university based research institutes and non-university based research institutes with relevance to nanotechnology, current outputs of nanotechnology research in Malaysia, Malaysia Plans (5th until the 10th), past and present grants related to R&D in general and nanotechnology; and insight analysis have been discussed in this paper.