The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation is accelerating the establishment of a management system to foster research and development activities in the Kingdom, in collaboration with the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) of the South Korea.

The collaboration began in 2018, but another workshop on the partnership was held on the sidelines of the 20th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology, and Innovation (AMMSTI-20/STI) in Siem Reap province on June 6.

Research and development, commonly known as "R&D", are seen as efforts by companies or the government to enhance their capacity to ultimately use knowledge and innovation to improve products and services.

Addressing the workshop, Hul Seingheng, undersecretary of state at the ministry, said that the country is deeply committed to leveraging R&D as a cornerstone for sustainable growth, as outlined in Cambodia's STI Roadmap 2030 and the National Research Agenda 2025.

“To achieve these ambitious goals, we need the active participation and support of all relevant stakeholders, including ministries, universities and the scientific community. Recognising the challenges faced by our research stakeholders, we have conducted preliminary surveys and interviews to better understand their needs and the obstacles they encounter,” he said.

According to Seingheng, Cambodia is working with STEPI on the conceptual design of an R&D management system, drawing valuable lessons from the Korean National Science and Technology Information System (NTIS).

He said the meeting focused mainly on the preparation of research and development, including what is necessary for R&D-related innovation. For example, if researchers want to find a research topic, documentation and partners, it is necessary to have a system in place for them. The ministry is working with STEPI on laying the foundation of the R&D infrastructure before establishing it.

“We already have a national research policy approved by the government, so this supportive infrastructure under this collaboration will help advance the vision of the national research policy,” he said.

Dong Un Park, research fellow at STEPI, told reporters that since the start of the collaboration, a master plan had been produced. He also observed that Cambodia had placed considerable emphasis on the promotion of STI, exemplified by the establishment of the ministry itself.

Park said Korea could serve as a valuable model for developing countries in research and development, adding that his government wished to provide best practices that could be customised based on the specific realities and conditions of each country.

“I really value the Cambodian government's interactive approach, especially the industry ministry. This perspective is not just from the Cambodian government but also from Cambodian STI innovators. We value that and want to create more opportunities to promote and enhance the capacity of national STI innovators in Cambodia,” he said.