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NSTDA and Germany

December 15, 2010

On average, Germany registers one patent at the European Patent Office every 22 minutes–more than any other country in the world.  Germany's R&D landscape offers a unique network of university and non-university research that cooperates closely with business, industry and commerce.  Excellent academies of science, networks and clusters, as well as scientific associations also contribute to Germany’s success in the global market, and make Germany one of NSTDA’s most important international partners.

Distinguished lectures and visitors
NSTDA is honored to have had three distinguished German scientists on its International Advisory Committee (IAC). They are Prof. Bert Sakmann and Prof. Dr. Markus Antonietti, both from Max Planck Institute, and Prof. Harald zur Hausen who received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the link between the human papilloma virus and cervical cancer.  Prof zur Hausen will serve as chair of NSTDA’s IAC during 2010–2012.

NSTDA has also had several opportunities in recent years to welcome distinguished scientists from Germany who have been generous in sharing their experience and knowledge with NSTDA Executives and researchers through lectures and symposia:

  • Prof. Dr. Ing. Georg N. Duda, Director of Julius Wolff Institute and Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Berlin-Brandeburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, presented a special lecture on “Biological potential of regeneration in bone defects” on December 16, 2009 at the NSTDA Auditorium.

  • On 23 December 2009, Prof. Eicker R.Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) visited NSTDA and presented a lecture on “The Future of Solar Energy”.  In March 2010, Prof. Weber returned to NSTDA for his 2nd visit and delivered a plenary address at the 2010 National Annual Conference.

  • In 2008, Dr. Poramet Manupong, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN), University of Goettingen, delivered a special lecture entitled: “Walking Machine Technology: Towards Versatile, Adaptive, Autonomous Systems”.  This event was organized by NSTDA’s Reversed Brain Drain Project, in collaboration with Association of Thai Professionals in Europe.

Joint Research
The cutting-edge research that takes place at such institutions as the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association, and Fraunhofer – Gesellschaft is particularly attractive to researchers working in NSTDA labs. Excellent research results, their quick transformation from “idea to product”, and the quality of German products make Germany an important research partner for NSTDA.

NSTDA has formed strategic partnerships with a number of leading German research institutions including:

  • On 6 November, 2009 NSTDA and Fraunhofer–Gesellschaft (FhG) signed an MOU in support of joint research and commercialization with a focus on bio-based materials, renewable energy, logistics, and strategic S&T planning and foresight.  This agreement, which will be funded equally by NSTDA and FhG, was signed during the first visit to NSTDA by Prof Dr Hans-Joerg Bullinger, President of FhG.

  • BIOTEC/NSTDA and Germany’s GTZ signed an MOU on 28 April 2009 at the Ministry of Science and Technology to jointly implement a project on “Capacity Building on Energy and Resource-Efficiency for the Thai Native Starch Industry”.  This project aims to improve the competitiveness of Thai native tapioca starch industry through practical training program targeting at plants’ owners, managers, and unit operators.  To enhance the learning process, two guidelines for eco-efficiency improvement will be developed, namely (i) best practice guide for eco-efficiency improvement in native starch industry, and (ii) management information system (MIS) guideline for eco-efficiency for native starch industry.   This Project will be implemented over a period of two years with a budget of THB10.7 million.

  • By June 2011, the NSTDA-GIZ (formerly GTZ) collaboration on “Improving Energy and Resource Efficiency for the Tapioca Starch Industry” concluded  with a total of 28 tapioca starch factories participated in this program.  Among them, 16 pilot factories were able to reduce the water usage in their production process by 14.5%, reduced  the energy in the drying process by 6.6% and reduced the material loss in the production process by 17%.  These tangible results  demonstrated a decrease in the production capital of 112 million THB per year or approximately 7 million THB  per factory.

  • MTEC/NSTDA, the Service Organization of the German Chambers and Employers' Associations (SEQUA) and a number of institutes in Vietnam are working together to help Vietnamese SME’s adapt and adopt CSR for as a means of improving linkages with global logistic supply chains.

  • The FP7 funded SEA-EU-NET project in which NSTDA is a partner is being coordinated by PT-DLR, the project management arm of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). PT-DLR is playing a key role in strengthening NSTDA’s relationship with a number of German research groups as well as with the Ministry

High-Level Visits
There on-going exchanges of senior research, policy, and operational personnel, for example,

  • H.E. Dr Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, Thailand’s Minister of Science and Technology, led a mission to Germany in July 2009 to strengthen bilateral cooperation across a number of research areas. Meetings included:
    -Prof. Dr. Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, State Secretary of BMB
    -Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Department of Biomaterials (Prof. Dr. Peter Fratzl)
    -Julius Wolff Institute, Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Charité Hospital (Prof. Dr. Georg Duda)
    -GKSS Research Centre Helmholtz, Center for Biomaterial Development (Prof. Dr. Andreas Lendlein)

Human Resources Development
German universities and research institutes are playing a vital role in human resources development for Thai students and researchers. 

NSTDA signed an MOU with the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and the Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance on 29 June 2008 at the Bad Schachen Hotel, Lindau, Germany.  HRH Princess Sirindhorn presided as chairman in this MOU signing ceremony.  Prof. Dr.Wolfgang Schurer, Chairman of The Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance, visited HRH Princess Sirindhorn in Bangkok on 3 October 2008 to offer an additional quota for Thai students.  There have been 3 Thai students in 2008 and 6 students in 2009 attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

HRH Princess Sirindhorn visited the Deutsches Electronen–Synchrotron (DESY) in 2002 and was presented with 3 scholarships for Thai students (one student each year) to attend the DESY Summer Student Program during 2003-2005.  DESY is one of the world leading centers for the investigation of the structure of matter.  DESY runs, develops and use accelerators and detectors for photon sciences and particle physics. 

NSTDA and the National Synchrotron Research Center act as committee in the selection of the students.  During 2006–2010, two scholarships per year have been given to undergraduate Thai students to participate in the DESY Summer Student Program in Hamburg or Zeuthen, Germany.  

Recently, researchers in the Nano & MEMS Lab at NSTDA received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to spend time as visiting scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT).  Dr. Nuwong Chollacoop, senior research at MTEC/NSTDA was awarded the prestigious Green Talents Award by BMBF.  He was one of 15 awardees selected from around the world who were invited by Professor Annette Schavan, Minister of Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and patron of the competition, to visit some of Germany’s best-known environmental technology venues.

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