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The challenges arising in the evolution of the triple helix institutional system

Razak, Azley Abd; Saad, Mohammed


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Azley Abd Razak
Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Enterprise

Mohammed Saad
Professor in Innovation & Technology Mgm


Girma Zawdie



Malaysia’s first formal science and technology policy was introduced in 1986 (National Science and Technology Policy II 2000–2010 [NSTPII] 2000). One of the major programs of this policy was the provision of greater opportunities for interactions between industry and public research institutions. Its aim was to increase economic development at a national level in tandem with support for Malaysia’s industrialization program.
Since its inception, the government has been proactive
in seeking industry collaboration and cooperating in enhancing several economic and industrialization programs. For instance, a greater focus on research and development (R&D) projects that involve industry has been reflective of this new policy implementation (NSTPII 2000). The policy was originally formulated by the Malaysian National Scientific and Research Council, membership of which consists of both government and industry representatives (NSTPII 2000).

Due to macro environmental changes, namely developments in the economic, political and socio-cultural landscapes, the policies of the Malaysian government on innovation have subsequently evolved and developed. This change is perceived to be more flexible in meeting the needs of all key stakeholders in national industry growth, especially the three key tripartite partners: the government, industry and university research bodies. In fact, one of the main objectives of the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001) was to encourage the introduction of the network form
of collaboration between universities, government and industries (Eighth Malaysia Plan 2001). One of the government’s responses to these needs was to start encouraging more R&D collaboration between government
agencies, universities and private sector industrial bodies. This reaction by the government was supported by the view that more active participation by industry in R&D collaboration (with the government and academia) would improve the state’s innovation and economic growth agenda for an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable global marketplace (Dodgson 2000; Martin and Scott 2000).

Indeed, this led to recognition of the role that universities could play in shaping and enhancing existing government and industry policies and programs (Abd Razak and Saad 2007). Malaysian universities have since
been actively encouraged to participate more in R&D activities and to be entrepreneurial through knowledge transfer partnerships, for example, between industry and government bodies. In fact, some of the local public
universities have set up, or are in the process of setting up, commercial arms of their own (namely, private holding companies). This idea of the ‘entrepreneurial university’, as stated by Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1997, 1999) and later reiterated by Leydesdorff (2000), is a unique feature of the triple helix model as a dynamic process and evolutionary model for enhancing innovation. The Malaysian government has also awarded research university status to four top national universities designated under the Ninth
Malaysia Plan, to be the country’s fi rst full-fledged research universities (Abd Razak and Saad 2007). 1

This study, which examines the challenges arising in the evolution of the triple helix institutional system in the context of the Malaysian socio-economic environment, comprises four key sections.

The first section provides an overview of the existing literature on the triple helix model.

The second discusses the evolutionary process followed by the triple helix system in general and more specifically in Malaysia.

The third section investigates the issues and challenges facing Malaysian institutions in the course of their
evolution as key actors within theimplementation of the triple helix model.

A fourth and final section concludes with a brief note on the way forward for the development of the triple helix system in Malaysia and other developing


Razak, A. A., & Saad, M. (2011). The challenges arising in the evolution of the triple helix institutional system. In M. Saad, & G. Zawdie (Eds.), Theory and Practice of Triple Helix Model in Developing Countries (191-206). Routledge

Publication Date May 12, 2011
Deposit Date Aug 29, 2013
Journal Theory and Practice of Triple Helix Model in Developing Countries
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 191-206
Book Title Theory and Practice of Triple Helix Model in Developing Countries
ISBN 9780415475167
Keywords innovation, Malaysia, triple helix model of innovation
Public URL


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