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Global Alliance News Year 2020

German and Thai public and private agencies came together on 7 December 2020 to launch Collaborative Action for Single-Use Plastic Prevention in Southeast Asia Project (CAP-SEA) in Thailand. The partnership – whose membership consists of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Thailand Environment Institute Foundation (TEI), Pollution Control Department (PCD), Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI), Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD) and NSTDA - aims to reduce single use plastic by introducing innovative business models and by developing stakeholders’ capacities.

In a plenary session on ASEAN Bioeconomy Policy Sharing & Bioeconomy Network at the ASEAN Innovation Roadmap & Bioeconomy Forum, experts from five ASEAN member countries - Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia - shared and exchanged information on bioeconomy policy and actions taking place in his/her respective countries. The session was moderated by Dr. Kanchana Wanichkorn, Vice President of the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO).

NSTDA - JÜLICH Annual Seminar on Bioeconomy Research took place on 17 November 2020 as one of many sessions embedded in the ASEAN Innovation Roadmap & Bioeconomy Forum, a 5-day event offering a comprehensive look into ASEAN activities and initiatives in innovation and bioeconomy and potential collaborations with other countries and regions.

ASEAN Innovation Roadmap & Bioeconomy Forum has recently ended on a high note, with well participation both on-site and online. Hosted by MHESI’s Office of the Permanent Secretary, in collaboration with NSTDA and the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO), the 5-day forum, run from 16-20 November 2020, focused comprehensively on regional development and initiatives concerning innovation and bioeconomy through 20 tracks of seminars, workshops, company presentations and addresses of former and current Thai political figures including Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs; Prof. Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI); Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Former Minister of Digital Economy and Society and Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Former Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.

At the press conference on 9 November 2020, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) announced that Thailand will be organizing ASEAN Innovation Roadmap & Bioeconomy Forum in Conjunction with GBS 2020 on 16-20 November 2020 at Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok. Joining the press conference were Asst. Prof. Dr. Pasit Lorterapong, MHESI S&T Counselor and Prof. Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen, Advisor to NSTDA President.

A ceremony was held on 21 September 2020 to hand over the research data of a project to grow a drug target protein in space from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to NSTDA research team. The ceremony was presided over by Prof. Yongyuth Yuthavong, former NSTDA President and former Minister of Science and Technology. In the ceremony, Mr. Ono Atsushi, Director of JAXA Bangkok Office presented the protein crystals and their light scattering data to Dr. Chairat Uthaipibull, Director of BIOTEC Medical Molecular Biotechnology Research Group, as witnessed by Dr. Pakorn Apaphant, Executive Director of Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

Cassava is among major economic crops of Thailand. The country is the world’s largest cassava product exporter, dominating 68% of the global market. BIOTEC-NSTDA has long been developing technologies, from upstream to downstream, to support cassava production and processing sector with a number of technologies and innovations already transferred to users and some are available in the market. Realizing that the Mekong region – consisting of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam - is in fact the main supplier of cassava to the world, with the combined market share as high as 90%, BIOTEC-NSTDA therefore initiated a project “Capacity Building on Circular Economy, Resource and Energy Efficiency for Productivity and Sustainability of Cassava Chain to High Value Products: Cassava Root, Native Starch, and Biogas in Mekong Countries” or CCC.

Inventors of NSTDA mobile applications designed to fight against COVID-19 in Thailand were invited to give an interview to the Center for Global Affairs and Science Engagement (GASE) - a joint initiative by Taiwanese Ministry of Science and Technology and National Taiwan University – for an article featuring on GASE website dedicated to COVID-19 research and innovation. To support the disease control management, NSTDA has released two mobile applications in Thailand. ‘Traffy Fondue’ is a LINE Chatbot that enables users to report and trace people from out-of-town and ‘DDC-Care’ is a system for tracking and monitoring the health of individuals at risk of COVID-19. Both applications have been used extensively by Thai authorities to curb the spreading of the deadly virus.

The first EU-ASEAN webinar dedicated to High-Performance Computing (HPC) COVID19-related modeling and diagnostic was held on 10 July 2020, as a collaborative initiative among the ASEAN HPC Task Force, the ASEAN Committee for Science Technology and Innovation (COSTI), the ASEAN Secretariat Science & Technology Division, and the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI). The webinar aims to provide an exchange platform to ASEAN and EU HPC-related scientists, projects and research infrastructures, interested in the establishment of collaborations on COVID19 research.

H.E. Mr. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, along with Ambassadors and trade attachés from a number of EU member countries, hosted a Roundtable Discussion to explore opportunities to cooperate with the Thai Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in building a bio-circular-green economy (BCG) for Thailand on 31 January 2020.