The Ministry of Development, Brunei Darussalam holds responsibility for overseeing the nation’s science and technology (S&T) effort. The country’s Eighth National Development Plan (2001 – 2005) makes explicit reference to the role of S&T in underpinning development but does not explicitly outline structures or processes for such achievement. In the lead-up to the Ninth National Development Plan the Ministry’s Department of Research and Development, has been exploring options for developing a more strategic approach to S&T. A particular focus of their efforts are the development of a policy strategy to underpin national development in the priority sectors and ‘clusters’ currently being promoted through the Brunei Economic Development Board.
The Department’s concern is that S&T Policy should aim at applying science, technology and innovation to develop and strengthen R&D primarily in the 6 promoted sectors where applicable, by focusing on key areas for policy action. These include establishing platforms for the development of ‘enabling technologies’, improving infrastructure services, improving higher education in science and engineering, promoting business activities in science, technology and innovation, and improving the general S&T policy environment.
- Targets for policy development include:
- generating new knowledge through support for R&D;
- Increasing funding for R&D;
- Using research to create spin-off firms;
- Development of capital formation projects such as technology parks and business incubator facilities;
- matching education, employment opportunities and immediate and future manpower requirement in knowledge-based industries.