The Academy of Sciences Malaysia was established by an Act of Parliament (ASM Act 1994). The Academy of Sciences Malaysia Act was approved by the Cabinet on 17 November 1993. Following that, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia Act came into effect from 1 February 1995.

Brief History of ASM

The Academy started off with a roster of 50 Founding Fellows, headed by the first President, Academician Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Datuk Dr Omar Abdul Rahman FASc. At the time, Tan Sri Omar also served as the Scientific Advisor to the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Academy started with a team of seven employees, which slowly grew to accommodate the Academy’s ever-expanding role in the nation.

ASM is a national scientific organisation under the purview of the Ministry Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI). ASM strives to be the thought leader for the nation on matters related to science, engineering, technology, and innovation. We provide a platform for the interchange of ideas among academia, policymakers, civil society, and industries.

The Academy seeks to become an Apex Advisory Body on STI (science, technology, and innovation) matters, effectively promote public understanding and awareness of STI, and ensure that STI becomes a basis for economic development and societal well-being.

Currently, ASM has more than 780 experts in the disciplines of Engineering Sciences, Medical and Health Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Information Technology and Computer Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Earth Sciences, Science Technology and Development Industry, and Social Sciences and Humanities.

ASM’s main activities include conducting foresight and strategic studies and spearheading strategic science-based programmes on the national, regional, and global level. Its ethos is “Think Science, Celebrate Technology, Inspire Innovation”.

Progression in the Past 25 years

The Academy was established to become an independent body that will strengthen relations with the Government. Over time, its role underwent a slow and steady evolution as the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in ensuring the progress of the nation’s socioeconomic agenda.

As the years go by, the Academy’s thrusts have not changed much, but has undergone gradual refinement. The Academy of Sciences Malaysia strives to accelerate science, technology, and innovation via its numerous scientific programmes and studies. new scientific discoveries are harnessed and utilised for future development; and creating new value-added opportunities to sustain the nation’s economic growth.

Soon after its establishment via the Academy of Sciences Malaysia Act 1994, ASM was focused on instilling the awareness and educating the nation on science via various STI-related programmes.

As the role of STI grows throughout the years, ASM also undergoes a shift by conducting more independent STI-related studies to provide an objective and evidence-based scientific input on various matters. Moving forward, ASM is becoming an important player in steering the nation’s socio-economic growth by providing strategic input to national policies with the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind.

Currently, ASM is placing emphasis on policy reforms that will benefit the science community and in turn, enhance societal well-being and wealth of the nation. It also hopes to change the perception on “impactful research” that makes effective use of government and publicly funded grants. It is hoped that impactful research endeavours would create academic efforts that translates into useful solutions to real world challenges.

Goals for the Future

By making use of the quadruple helix model, ASM hopes to overhaul the way research is conducted in Malaysia. Said model involves a synergistic engagement between the government, academia, industry, and civil society. Civil society remains as a crucial component in this model as it is imperative for researchers to conduct researches that are in touch with the community and relates to public interest. It also serves to steer grant allocation towards researches with impactful outcomes, on track with the UN SDGs.

ASM President Professor Dr Datuk Asma Ismail FASc hopes to further develop the Malaysia Open Science Platform with programmes such as I-Connect. These programmes aim to make science and technology a vital component of nation building via the 10-10 Strategic Science, Technology, Innovation, and Economic (STIE) Development Plan for Malaysia. Another notable programme of ASM’s is ArtScience™, an initiative that recognises outstanding creations in the nation’s fields that showcase the fusion of art and science.

“The future is about the sharing of data,” she said. “For artificial intelligence to now be able to connect and collate all the data around the world, you can do really good science with original solutions because what you think is novel may no longer be novel. I look forward to that future; hopefully it happens during my lifetime.”


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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