On 18 March 2019, Acting Science Minister Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj announced the success of Food Innopolis and chaired the ceremony to hand over the management of Food Innopolis from the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI Office) to NSTDA.
According to the survey on the R&D investment in the Thai private sector conducted by STI Office in 2018, food industry is among the top three industrial sectors investing in R&D, with the value of 16 billion baht, an increase from 15 billion baht in the previous year. The popular R&D topics of in food industry include production process automation, packaging development, consumers’ preference and behavior, and new product development. Furthermore, it was found that food enterprises are active in introducing new products to meet the market’s demand and a good number of enterprises has established research and innovation centers, whether on its premises or in science parks.
To accelerate the development of food innovations to enhance the competitiveness of Thai food industry in the global market, the Thai government has initiated Food Innopolis as a food innovation hub focusing on research, development and innovation, and assigned STI Office to spearhead the initiative. The concept of advancing the capability of industry with innovation is in line with Thailand 4.0 policy and the creation of circular economy.
Under the management of STI Office, Food Innopolis focuses on 1) supporting industry to develop new products through advanced technology and innovation; 2) setting up one-stop service center and service platforms to provide a complete service on research, development, innovations and coordination with relevant companies and agencies; 3) supporting infrastructure for standards, testing, and food safety; 4) fostering collaboration between enterprises and research bodies and promoting startups; and 5) attracting international companies or individuals to collaborate with Thai organizations and make investment in research and manpower development in Thailand. “Since its inception, Food Innopolis was able to raise R&D investment from 36 companies, and 17 SMEs has utilized research facility of Future Food Lab. Its RDI one-stop service center has serviced more than 200 companies,” said Dr. Kitipong Promwong, Secretary General.
Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President shared his vision in assuming the responsibility of managing Food Innopolis that NSTDA will maintain the activities set up by STI Office and will employ its expertise in R&D to intensify such activities and also work with alliances to expand the activities to other regions of Thailand.
Following the announcement on the transition of Food Innopolis, NSTDA signed an MOU with Sun Group and Central Laboratory (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (CLT) to foster the collaboration under the framework of Food Innopolis. Sun Group operates fully-integrated poultry businesses, ranging from animal feed mill factory, to breeder farms, hatchery operation, broiler farms and cooked products manufacturer for local and export markets. Sun Group has been engaged in R&D with the Food and Feed Innovation Center of NSTDA and the Synchrotron Light Research Institute. CLT is set up to provide one-stop services on testing and research in agricultural commodities and foods.