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The Northern Region To Ride On The Crest Of Collaborative Research

9 June 2012, Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang - Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) Center, set up by the Government to accelerate economic growth of the Electrical and Electronics Industry (E&E) in Malaysia, was launched in Penang on Saturday, 9 June, 2012.

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Minister in the Prime Minister s Department, officially launched the CREST Center, which is a component of the Economic Transformation Programme.

Datuk Noharuddin Nordin, Chief Executive Officer of MIDA, YBhg. Dato’ Redza Rafiq, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) and YBhg. Professor Dato’ Dr. Omar Osman, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Yang Berusaha Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Executive Director of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and En Johan Mahmood Merican, Chief Executive Officer of TalentCorp were among guests who witnessed the historic event.

The concept of CREST Center was mooted in 2009 and has been established as a company limited by guarantee on 30th June 2011.

CREST is a platform for Industry players, Academia and the Government to collaborate and promote research, design and development activities in the Electrical & Electronics sector in Malaysia.

CREST focuses in these areas to accelerate economic growth of the Electrical and Electronics Industry in Malaysia and be a specialist in the categories of Research and Development, Talent Development and Commercialization. The E&E Industry, which currently contributes RM37 billion in Gross National Income (GNI) and provides 522,000 jobs, is expected to contribute RM90 billion in GNI and 679,000 jobs by 2020. Currently located at sains@usm building in Bukit Jambul, Penang, CREST office is within 20km radius of at least 3,000 researchers.

Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) and Nine (9) companies, among them global players such as Avago Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, Altera Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd, Advanced Micro Devices Export Sdn Bhd, Agilent Technologies Microwave Products (M) Sdn Bhd, NI Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Motorola Solutions Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Intel Microelectronics (M) Sdn Bhd, Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Osram Opto Semiconductors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd have signed up to become Founder Members of CREST.

These companies accounts for RM25 billion in total revenue and RM1.4 billion in R&D expenditure, as well as employing 500,000 workers.

As part of its goal to spearhead development of talents for R&D and nurture R&D institutions, CREST have so far approved RM3.2 million grant for R&D projects.

CREST R&D grant is aimed to accelerate R&D growth in the E&E sector in Malaysia. The grant promotes collaborative joint research between industry and academia in areas of cutting edge particularly in niche areas that have been identified.

The research aims to enhance excellence in the generation of theories, new ideas and innovative creation in the forefront of strategic niche areas for the development of the boundaries of knowledge. The launching ceremony also features certificate presentation to the CREST Founder Membership, certificate of appreciation to CREST Taskforce members, R&D Grant Presentation Ceremony and the graduation ceremony of the inaugural class of the FasTrack upskilling programme.

FasTrack is a public-private talent development intiative intended to accelerate the development of the R&D talent pool for the E&E sector. It was managed in its first phase by PSDC with oversight and funding provided by TalentCorp.

Targeted at high-achieving Malaysian engineering graduates, FasTrack is a 12-month apprenticeship which increases industry preparedness of graduates by providing greater exposure via formal classroom training and real-life projects with participating host companies. Commencing in June last year, the first phase of FasTrack brought a total of 98 apprentices together with 5 host companies namely Motorola, Intel, Agilent, Altera and Silterra.

The launching ceremony also saw the announcement of Phase 2 of FasTrack, which will launch in June 2012 with oversight provided by the Crest Center together with funding by TalentCorp. The programme’s second phase will see the involvement of 6 host companies – Motorola, Agilent, Altera, SilTerra, Clarion, and Infineon – along with a targeted participation rate of 120 apprentices.

“For Malaysia to emerge as a developed nation and a global talent destination by 2020, public-private-sector collaboration is critical to ensure a synergistic and impactful approach to optimizing our talent pipeline,” said Johan Mahmood Merican, CEO of TalentCorp.

“FasTrack is a great example of the public and private sectors coming together to develop collaborative solutions to sustainably address Malaysia’s talent needs arising from our national economic transformation agenda,” he added.

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