The UK and Thailand have long enjoyed a productive history of collaboration in science and technology (S&T). Many of Thailand’s preeminent scientists began their academic and research careers at British universities and today Thailand’s universities are actively involved in joint research activities with leading UK universities.
The UK and Thailand also share a strong and vibrant economic relationship. The European Union is Thailand's third largest trading partner and UK exports to Thailand have averaged around £600 million for each of the last five years. The UK has also become an increasingly important market for Thailand and last year Thailand’s exports increased nearly 20% over the year before.
Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research, and is consistently rated amongst the world's best universities.
Sir Roy Anderson, the former Rector of Imperial College London, visited NSTDA on March 13, 2009 during which time an MOU was signed between NSTDA and Imperial to support joint R&D as well as researcher exchange. The signing of this MOU was followed by a Thailand scientific delegation to Imperial led by Thailand’s former Minster of Science and Technology H. E. Dr. Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich.
Sir Roy Anderson is currently serving as a member of NSTDA’s International Advisory Committee (IAC) during 2010 – 2012.
Visit of Prof. Sir John Beddington and Launch of “UK-Thailand: Partners in Science”
In September 2009, NSTDA hosted the visit of Prof. Sir John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser Professor. The purpose of the visit was to formalize the UK-Thailand partnership and take it to a new level of delivery by means of a “Joint Statement on Science, Technology and Engineering” which was signed by Dr. Sakarindr Bhumiratana, former President of NSTDA and Prof. Sir John Beddington (UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor). This signing marked the launch of a program of joint UK-Thailand activities under the banner of “UK-Thailand: Partners in Science” including scientific workshops and conferences, researcher exchange, joint R&D, science for the public programs, and a distinguished lecture series.
This signing marked the launch of a two year program of joint UK-Thailand activities under the banner of “UK-Thailand: Partners in Science” including scientific workshops and conferences, researcher exchange, joint R&D, science for the public programs, and a distinguished lecture series. The objectives of the next phase of UK-Thailand: Partners in Science are two-fold:
- To encourage scientific collaboration and networks for mutual benefits
- To build scientific capacity with the Thai scientific community
Priority research fields during the visit were:
- Infectious diseases
- Life Sciences/Healthcare
- Climate change and renewable energy technologies
- Food and agricultural sciences
UK-Brazil-Thailand Joint Seminar on Agricultural Biotechnology
Agriculture and food sciences a priority area for collaboration, in recognition of the role science can play in meeting the challenges of global food security and the importance of the sector in both UK and Thailand economies.
In February 2010, BIOTEC hosted a trilateral scientific workshop on food and agriculture which brought together leading plant and animal scientists from the UK, Brazil and Thailand under the banner of UK-Thailand: Partners in Scence. The UK and Brazil have existing strong ties in agricultural sciences, centered on the establishment of Labex Europe in Rothamsted Research in March 2009. The partnering of the UK, Thailand and Brazil link together three advanced yet distinct agricultural sectors and science bases in a global approach to scientific cooperation.
BBSRC Fact Finding Mission
In parallel with the Trilateral workshop, a delegation of Institute Directors and senior officials from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) visited to scope out the best opportunities for collaboration in the agricultural and food sciences area and explore the possibility of establishing joint R&D funding programs.
Since the signing of the UK-Thailand: Partners in Science initiative, NSTDA, the British High Commission in Singapore and the British Embassy in Bangkok have organized 9 scientific workshops. The aim of these has been to bring together UK and Thai scientists in an effort to identify opportunities for collaboration and to and potential funding mechanisms.
The first UK-Thailand workshop organized after the signing of the Joint Statement focused on the P53 protein and its role in the suppression of cancer. This 2 day workshop hosted by Chulalongkorn in November attracted over 150 participants from both Thailand and the UK.
Since then, 8 additional scientific workshops have been held in Thailand under the banner of UK-Thailand: Partners in Science”.
In addition to the P53, there have been workshops on fuel cells, nanomedicine, dengue, rubber sequencing, food borne diseases and natural products. These workshops have involved nearly 900 Thai scientists and over 6 leading scientists from the UK.