BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The newly formed Council for Research and Advancement of Technology and Science (CREATES) is expected to develop a national science, technology and innovation framework to boost research activities.

The council will be responsible for setting policies and plans for science, technology and innovation research every five years.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) said the council will also revise existing funding schemes that promote research and development in the country.

First announced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah during his 75th birthday titah, the council replaces the roles of two bodies – Brunei Research Council and the National Committee on Science and Technology.

BRC was tasked with supporting research and development activities that can contribute to economic growth, while the National Committee on Science and Technology was responsible for identifying scientific and technological advances.

The ministry said CREATES will help promote the growth of science, technology and innovation  activities as well as drive economic and social development.

Government spending on research and development made up only 0.3 percent of Brunei’s gross domestic product in 2018, according to data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The average research spending among the world’s top 72 countries was 1.17 percent of GDP in 2018.

Established on April 10, the new council is chaired by MTIC minister YB Abdul Mutalib POKSSDP Hj Mohd Yusof, with members comprising permanent secretaries from various ministries, as well as stakeholders from universities and the private sector.

The Evaluation and Approval Working Committee and Implementation Monitoring Working Committee have also been set up to support the council’s work.

Chaired by the permanent secretary of transport and infocommunications, the Evaluation and Approval Working Commitee is tasked with advising the council on development of national policy and strategies related to STI and R&D, as well as reviewing research proposals.

The Implementation Monitoring Working Committee, led by the permanent secretary of finance and economy, is responsible for reviewing the progress of research projects.