Bridging The Academia-Industry Gap: A Successful Project of Two Nations



The inaugural Swiss Innovation Challenge Asia Project, a project of two nations, Switzerland –Malaysia, marks another successful milestone with the Grand Finale of the Business Innovation Challenge, in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. The 9 months long project, aimed to develop and grow businesses through commercialisation of science and technology innovations in Malaysia, kick started in January 2017 with 100 participating teams from all over Malaysia. Teams comprised of new businesses (less than 2 years old), researchers, students, and NGOs across Malaysia. This project provides the needed knowledge transfer to individuals and teams, also bridging the much highlighted industry-academia gap. Mentors for each team are selected based on their track records in business and consulting, network and expertise.


The Grand Finale, happening on the 18th September 2017 in UTM KL witnessed teams pitching their innovation and business model, aiming to penetrate the global markets. As this project is strongly supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI) and the Federal Commission of Science & Technology, Switzerland, the ceremony will witness the MOSTI Minister along with the Switzerland Ambassador gracing the event. Champions will win a lucrative sum of cash, USD15000 (first prize), USD5000 (2ndprize), USD3000 (3rd prize) and USD5000 (Special Prize- Internationalisation Track) – amongst the highest cash prize awarded to such challenges in Malaysia.


Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Azman Hashim International Business School (Azman Hashim IBS) partners with the University of Applied Sciences & Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) to organise and run this exciting project. Out of 100 teams joining the project in January, the final 25 teams (finalists) will be professionally groomed by Azman Hashim IBS the next following years to introduce and sustain their businesses abroad. This pilot project of two nations brings together the industry and academia in an R&D and business setting, introducing high impact entrepreneurial projects in the long run, while championing the concept of Industry and University 4.0 at the same time. This project opens vast opportunities for new venture development, innovation and research collaborations. The multiplier effects of this project can be observed through various joint ventures and collaborations, events and project spin-offs, and there will be more to be harvested in the next few years.