Smart enzyme for textile industry ENZease was announced the winner of National Innovation Award 2021 for Social & Environmental Contribution on 5 October 2021. Dr. Thidarat Nimchua, Team Leader of BIOTEC Enzyme Technology was presented with the award trophy from Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.
NSTDA has recently been elected to serve on the Steering Committee of the Life Cycle Initiative. Hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Life Cycle Initiative, LC Initiative, is a public-private, multi-stakeholder partnership aiming to promote the application of life cycle knowledge in the public and private domain. NSTDA is among 21 government organizations joining the LC Initiative’s membership which also includes 70 business entities, 52 science and civil societies and 309 individuals worldwide.
Traffy Fondue was presented with the 1st runner-up National Innovation Award 2021 for Social & Environmental Contribution. The award presentation presided by MHESI Minister Dr. Anek Laothamatas was held on 5 October 2021 to coincide with Thailand’s National Innovation Day. The National Innovation Awards recognize innovations and innovators in five categories: economic contribution, social & environmental contribution, product & service design, media & communication, and innovative organization. Receiving the award on behalf of NECTEC-NSTDA was Dr. Wasan Pattara-atikom, Leader of Intelligent Transportation Systems Research Team.
NSTDA recently announced collaboration with the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and the Department of Local Administration to employ big data analytics and artificial intelligence to monitor nutritional status and enable nutritional school lunch menu for pre-school and school-aged children.
On 30 September 2021, NSTDA Executive Vice President Dr. Janekrishna Kanatharana gave a presentation on Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model – Thailand’s New Sustainable Growth Engine and National Development Agenda at the Virtual Thailand-UK Roundtable Meeting on BCG. Organized by the Royal Thai Embassy in London and Public Policy Projects, the meeting was moderated by the Rt Hon Claire Perry O’Neill, Former Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth.
NSTDA and its partners prepares to close Sirindhorn Science Home Field Hospital for Disabled Persons on 30 September 2021 as the number of disabled COVID-19 patients tapers. The hospital sent off its last three patients on 27 September. The facility will return to serve as a permanent science camp.
AMED Telehealth developed by NSTDA research team at Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Center (A-MED) has been applied to support Home Isolation and Community Isolation programs.
NECTEC-NSTDA and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) recently announced a collaboration to drive digital transformation and innovation in geology and resource management. The agreement signing ceremony was held virtually on 26 August 2021 with the presence of DMR Director General Dr. Sommai Techawan and NECTEC Executive Director Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai.
Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, NSTDA continues to develop innovative methods to deliver STEM education to students and teachers across Thailand. And this work is now being recognised internationally.
Ms. Ruetai Chongsrid and her NSTDA colleagues have developed curriculum and learning materials
called “STEM and Coding in Action:Knowledge and Awareness Augmentation for COVID-19 Prevention”
that are designed to raise awareness and strengthen understanding among students and teachers about COVID -19, and then to use this knowledge to maintain their own health and that of the communities around them.
The NSTDA “STEM and Coding in Action” curriculum has now been recognised by “Science & You” which is an international event of scientific and technical culture organized by the University of Lorraine in France that attracts the best science communicators from around the world. After three editions in 2015 (Nancy), 2017 (Montreal) and 2018 (Beijing), a new edition will take place from November 16th to 19th 2021 in Metz, France. The innovative work of Ms Ruetai Chongsrid and her NSTDA colleagues be presented during the Science & You event and will be published in the conference proceedings. Ms. Ruetai Chonsgrid is Senior Director of the Academic Affairs and Youth Science Program Development Division at NSTDA.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, NSTDA has developed more than 60 STEM online learning clips and 12 online STEM camps.
NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul was recently named the recipient of the 2021 Guangxi Golden Silk Ball Friendship Award presented by the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for his outstanding contribution to the socio-economic development of Guangxi. The award presentation ceremony was held on 9 September 2021 as part of the 9th Forum on China-ASEAN Technology Transfer and Collaborative Innovation in Nanning, Guangxi, P.R. China.
To reduce virus transmission via infectious aerosol and increase the safety of health care workers, NANOTEC-NSTDA developed nSPHERE Pressurized Helmets. Two types of nSPHERE are available; a negative-pressure helmet nSPHERE(-) and a positive-pressure helmet nSPHERE(+). nSPHERE(-) is to be worn by infected patients as the pressure inside the helmet is kept lower than that of the outside thus allowing air to flow into the helmet but not leaking out to keep the medical workers safe. Air from inside the helmet is cleaned by HEPA filter prior to release out. Conversely, nSPHERE(+) is designed to be used by medical workers enabling air to be cleaned before flowing into the helmet.
NSTDA researchers: Experience as MSCA fellows working in Europe
Through international collaboration, a number of NSTDA researchers get to perform their research overseas in their partner research laboratories to acquire or transfer new techniques and work interactively with their collaborators. Two of NSTDA researchers - Dr. Nitsara Karoonuthaisiri and Dr. Noppol Kobmoo, along with Asst. Prof. Dr. Narisorn Kitiyanant of Mahidol University, recently spoke to The Momentum, a Thai digital media, of their experience working in European research labs under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowship program.
BIOTEC-NSTDA successfully developed an ELISA-based SARS-CoV-2 antibody test called COVYD-19. The development was a collaboration between two research teams at BIOTEC-NSTDA, i.e., Virology and Cell Technology and Monoclonal Antibody Production and Application.
Dr. Sasitorn Srisawadi, a senior researcher of MTEC-NSTDA, was selected to join a prestigious group of TWAS Young Affiliates 2020. TWAS Young Affiliate is an honor presented by the World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS) to developing-nation researchers who demonstrate potential for a high-impact career.
TAIST-Tokyo Tech recently hosted 2021 Virtual Graduation Ceremony for 14 graduates from 3 programs: automotive engineering; information and communication technology for embedded systems; and sustainable energy and resources engineering.
Nipah virus is a deadly virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans. In humans, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers. There are currently no drugs or vaccines for Nipah virus infection in both human and pigs.
Since vaccines against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus are widely used, BIOTEC-NSTDA embarked on the development of a bivalent PRRS/Nipah virus vaccine as a strategy to prevent transmission from pigs to human and devastating impact on Thai swine industry.
Durian is an important fruit crop in Thailand. Its export value just hit the record high of 58.344 billion THB over the five-month period of 2021, generating the second highest revenue out of all farm product exports after rubber. To maintain high productivity and quality, pest management is the key among durian orchards. Fruit bagging is a method that orchards use to prevent insect pests infesting durian fruit. The practice is preferred over pesticides which is more expensive and not safe for workers, consumers and the environment. Fruit wrapping bags available in the market are net bags that provide protection against fruit borers, but not mealybug and sooty mold.
On 11 August 2021, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul and NEDO Chairman Dr. OIKAWA Hiroshi signed a Memorandum of Understanding between NSTDA and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan. The cooperation emphasizes the development and implementation of technologies and innovations of Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) for sustainable and eco-friendly economic growth based on the complementarity of Thailand’s BCG Model and Japan’s Green Growth Strategy.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019, attempts have been made around the world to develop drugs and vaccines against the disease. At NSTDA, the researchers at BIOTEC employed genetic engineering technology to develop COVID-19 vaccine prototypes.
Dr. Nitipol Srimongkolpithak, BIOTEC Researcher of Frontier Biodesign and Biomolecular Engineering Research Team, recently shared the development of favipiravir API synthesis process in NSTDA special seminar.
Thai student team called Indentation Error from Assumption College Thonburi was crowned the 1st place winner of the Programming Skills Round of the 2nd Kibo Robot Programming Challenge. The competition was held on 18 July 2021 with 9 participating teams from Japan, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many parts of the world, including Thailand due to the emergence of new and more transmissible variants, intense pressure has been put on public health. Hospitals are running out of beds to treat patients, whereas healthcare professionals experience fatigue from working long hours.
To lessen the burden of healthcare staff, MTEC-NSTDA has developed a remote-controlled cart Aree for delivering food and medicines to COVID-19 patients. The cart not only helps scale down labor, but it also reduces exposure risk of healthcare workers and saves PPE cost.
The EU-ASEAN High-Performance Computing (HPC) Virtual School 2021: System Design and HPC Applications is a hands-on virtual curriculum taught by foremost international experts in HPC technology. It is hosted by National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) Supercomputer Center (ThaiSC), Thailand.
The Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) Policy Board convened on 12 July 2021 with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha serving as the board chairman. The meeting reviewed the performance of Thailand in the global stage with regard to BCG. Thailand’s Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) improved from the 45th position in 2014 to the 27th position in 2018, whereas its SDG Index rose from the 55th place in 2017 to the 43rd place in 2020.
1 July 2021, NSTDA and RTRI, Japanese’s technical research company under the Japan Railways (JR) group of companies, have entered into a 3-Year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023 to establish a formal technical cooperation to exchange and co-create the information, know-how, human development, and joint research in the area of railway technology. This formal collaboration aims for the enhancement and advancement of the Thai railway system.
As the key driver of Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economy in Thailand, NSTDA brought the BCG economy agenda to the attention of ASEAN to promote regional collaboration for sustainable development. BCG economy is an economic model for inclusiveness and sustainable growth, aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Prof. Puangrat Kajitvichyanukul, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University recently revealed that her collaboration with Thai enterprises, with financial support from NSTDA Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP), led to the launch of two products to support safe food initiative.
Thai farmed shrimp production is approximately 400,000 tons/year, worth around 100 billion THB and accounted for 8.15% of the global market. However, the Thai shrimp industry is threatened by disease outbreaks which can cause as much as 60% loss of the domestic production, and viral diseases represent the major threat.
A recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) is a new way to farm fish at high densities in tanks with a controlled environment. However, RAS has yet to be adopted widely among Thai aquaculture farmers, as the technology can be expensive due to imported devices, too complicated for farmers to operate and costly to operate and maintain.
To overcome these barriers, a research team at MTEC-NSTDA has developed an automated RAS for intensive farming that is simple to operate and all parts can be manufactured in Thailand. The system is equipped with RAScal software for assessment of overall operation and a measuring and controlling system for managing water quality to promote fish growth and enabling users to monitor and control the operation via a mobile application.
NSTDA, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and The Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO) recently organized ANSO International Forum for Green Technology as part of the 14th China Bioindustry Convention held on 10-12 June 2021 in Guangzhou, China. The virtual forum took place on 11 June and aimed to promote the concept of green technology and its contribution to SDGs.
The forum covered wide-ranging topics of circular economy, clean technology and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in green society and creative economy with experts and leaders representing the governments, international organizations, businesses, and academia sharing their knowledge and experience. Providing opening remarks and warm welcome to the audience were ANSO President Prof. Bai Chunli and NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, President of NSTDA.
During 31 May - 2 June 2021, the Royal Thai Embassy in Copenhagen, in collaboration with Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), has organized a webinar series entitled “Thai - Danish Cooperation on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model”. The webinar series consist of 3 sessions including (1) Policy-maker Session (2) Business and Investment Session and (3) Business Case Session.
With the growing popularity of plant-based protein, MTEC-NSTDA has developed high-protein drink made from mung bean meal, aiming to utilize by-product of food industry.
As the COVID-19 infection cases continue to rise, field hospitals have been established for asymptomatic COVID cases and those with mild symptoms. However, most, if not all, of these field hospitals cannot accommodate patients with disabilities. With the cooperation of Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Institute (SNMRI) and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, NSTDA has turned Sirindhorn Science Home to a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients with disabilities aged between 15 and 65.
Congratulations are in order for Thai student teams winning a total of six awards – four grand awards and two special awards - at the Virtual Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF 2021) held during 16-21 May 2021. The event was participated by 1,834 students - ninth through twelfth graders – from 64 countries.
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a fruit tree, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Due to their delicious taste and high nutrients, date fruits have gained popularity. The fresh fruit varieties thrive well in Thailand. The growing domestic and international demands for fresh dates make date palm a new economic crop in Thailand. Currently, most date trees grown in Thailand are imported. To support growers in Thailand, BIOTEC-NSTDA and P Solution Company Limited formed a collaborative project to develop mass propagation technology for date palms, with financial support from ITAP-NSTDA.
Seed propagation is not a proper method of date palm propagation for multiple reasons. Date palm is a dioecious species and consequently half of the progeny will be males and half will be females, but only female plants bear fruits. In addition, because date palms are heterozygous, seed propagation will not give true-to-type plants.
Research team of BIOTEC-NSTDA, led by Dr. Yeetoh Dabbhadatta, has developed a mass propagation technique for date palm using a combination of tissue culture and bioreactor system. Shoot tips and young leaves of female mother trees carefully selected based on proven health and variety characteristics were grown in a medium to induce calluses. This process took around 1-2 years. With a more efficient bioreactor system using liquid media, Dr. Yeetoh expects that it will take another 6 months to reach the plantlet stage and her current batch should produce more than 1,000 plants by early next year.
This technology will enable the domestic production of date palm plants, resulting in cheaper plants for growers. The project demonstrates the application of advanced technology to improve the production of economic crop, helping farmers and growers by reducing production cost. It is an example of Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) model that has been declared a national agenda.
Ve-Chick is the latest innovation from MTEC-NSTDA, offering alternative protein for healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle.
Dr. Kamolwan Israkarn, member of MTEC Food Materials Research Team, explained that the team employed knowledge on food structure design and the soy protein properties, along with the use of binding substances acting as a binder and the appropriate dietary fiber to create soy-based chicken meat with a similar texture to chicken. Flavoring agents are added to give it a taste like real chicken.
Chicken meat contains approximately 20 grams of protein per 100 grams. Ve-Chick contains 16% protein and 6-10% dietary fiber by weight. Unlike chicken, Ve-Chick is completely free from cholesterol and growth hormone residue.
Ve-Chick is now available in two forms, both with very accessible price. Pre-cooked product is in the meat form and premix in the powder form.
Ve-Chick manufacturing technology is available for licensing for commercialization or research collaboration for product development. This technology not only offers alternative source of protein, but also supports food security and environmental sustainability.
A virtual press conference was held on 5 May 2021 to launch the 2nd Kibo Robot Programming Challenge. Kibo Robot Programming Challenge aims at fostering STEM knowledge (science, technology, engineering and math) among young generations and preparing future workforce for the development of space industry. The press conference was joined by Dr. Chularat Tanprasert, NSTDA Executive Vice President, Mr. Ono Atsushi, Director of JAXA Bangkok Office and representatives of partner organizations.
Though required in relatively small quantities, micronutrients are essential for crop growth and development. Some micronutrients are easily precipitated in soil, and their utilization is, therefore, not efficient. To improve micronutrient utilization efficiency, Dr. Khomson Suttisintong, NANOTEC researcher, developed a chelated fertilizer prepared from amino acids bonding with mineral micronutrients to form organic complexing agents enabling better delivery of micronutrients. Designed for foliar application, this novel fertilizer can potentially boost farm productivity by 20% and reduce the use of fertilizer by 50%.
NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul has been selected to serve on the Ethical Governance, Standards of Excellence, and Quality Leadership Committee of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF). WBAF aims to foster innovative financial instruments for startups, scaleups, innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs and the Ethical Governance, Standards of Excellence, and Quality Leadership Committee will help guide WBAF to achieve the highest quality standards.
On 5 April 2021, a press conference was held to announce a joint investment between NSTDA, Thaifoods Group Public Company Limited and a group of investors and researchers in a new biotech startup Genepeutic Bio aiming to manufacture and commercialize CAR T-cell therapy for treating leukemia patients.
The collaboration between NSTDA and the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) of Taiwan was initiated in 2018 with the launch of NARLabs- NSTDA Joint Research Program in 2020 as a funding facility for collaborative projects. Three joint projects were supported in the 2020 Call for Proposals, ranging from the diagnostic technology for EGFR mutations from circulating tumor cells in non-small cell lung cancer to the use of Taiwan Data Cube to monitor the change in paddy field land use and the novel bioassay for rapid screening of COVID-19.
Thailand Energy Storage Technology Association (TESTA) in collaboration with the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) organized “Workshop on Mainstreaming Electric Mobility in Thailand: Baseline and Alternative Energy Solution” at the 42nd Bangkok International Motor Show 2021. Held in the morning of 30 March, the workshop aimed at promoting the use of electric vehicles (EV), especially electrified 2 wheelers, in Thailand as a way to cut back on the pollution and increase energy efficiency in the transport sector. The conference was opened by Dr. Pimpa Limthongkul, TESTA President and Energy Storage Technology Research Team Leader, MTEC-NSTDA. Speakers at the workshop included Mr. Bert Fabien from UNEP, Dr. Peerawat Saisirirat from ENTEC-NSTDA, and representatives from the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI), Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited and Swap & Go Company Limited.
As part of NSTDA Annual Conference 2021, Presidents’ Forum 2021 took place on 26 March 2021. This event brought together leaders of scientific and academic institutes from Thailand and overseas to share their perspectives on science, technology and innovation issues. The theme of Presidents’ Forum 2021 was Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG): Turning Challenges into Opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 World with four distinguished keynote speakers: Prof. Dr. Chen Chien-Jen, Distinguished Professor Genomics Research Center, Taiwan; Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal, President, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK), Turkey; Prof. Joachim von Braun, Director, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany; and Prof. Emeritus Dr. Kraisid Tontisirin, Former Director of Food and Nutrition Division, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Approximately 150 participants from 10 countries attended the online forum.
The project “Joining forces to exploit the mycobiota of Asia, Africa and Europe for beneficial metabolites and potential biocontrol agents, using-OMICS techniques (MYCOBIOMICS)”
led by Prof. Marc Stadler, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Germany, in cooperation with Dr. Jennifer Luangsa-ard, Team Leader of Plant Microbe Interaction Research Team, and research institutes from Europe and Africa, was successfully funded by the European Commission’s H2020-MSCA-RISE framework for a total amount of EUR 1,375,400 (THB 51,035,377).
A royal opening ceremony of NSTDA Annual Conference 2021 (NAC2021) took place on 25 March 2021. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening ceremony remotely from Sra Pathum Palace as NAC2021 is held on a virtual platform to respond to the new normal.
In her opening remarks, Princess Sirindhorn congratulated NSTDA for its 30th anniversary and for three decades of strengthening Thailand’s science and technology. She hoped that NSTDA would carry on its commitment to be a driving force in the national development through science and technology. She declared the conference officially open and wished it a great success.
NSTDA and the Asia Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA) recently celebrated the MOU extension to support the collaboration in research, development, technology transfer and human resource development in seed technology. The ceremony was attended by executives of the two organizations, namely APSA President Mr. Wichai Laocharoenpronkul, APSA Executive Director Dr. Nanokwan Chodchoey, NSTDA Executive Vice President Dr. Prasit Palittapongarnpim, and NSTDA Senior Division Director Ms. Wannipha Tongsima.
Train-the-Trainer Program under Lancang – Mekong Cooperation to Enhance Production Capacity and People’s Livelihood by Improving the Value Chain for Cassava Cultivation and Application: Clean Cassava Chips, Native Starch, Modified Starch, Ethanol and Biogas Production Project was awarded a grant of THB 13,732,488 for a period of 3 years (2020-2023)
At the World Congress of Angel Investors - WBAF 2021 recently held on a virtual platform, NSTDA was presented with the Most Startup-Friendly Technology Institute of Asia award. The award recognizes NSTDA’s effort in fostering tech companies in Thailand in order to drive new S-curve industries.
MG and NSTDA recently announced a partnership to establish standards and develop a certification system for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The move comes as MG is expanding the number of MG SUPER CHARGE stations to 500 this year.
COXY-AMP, a rapid COVID-19 colorimetric detection kit developed by BIOTEC-NSTDA, in collaboration with the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, has been certified by the FDA Thailand for meeting the performance requirements as stipulated in the Notification of the Ministry of Public Health B.E. 2563 requiring performance evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 test kits and reagents to be manufactured in or imported to Thailand.
NSTDA and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) held a joint press conference launching the the 1st National Science Technology and Innovation Fair 2021 (NSTIF 2021), a national science competition. The press conference was joined by NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NRCT Secretary-General Dr. Wiparat De-ong and two notable alumni of NSTDA science competitions, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Taweetham Limpanuparb, Program Director of Chemistry, Mahidol University International College and Mr. Natt Piyapramote, Senior Software Engineer, Agoda Services Co., Ltd.
TAIST-Tokyo Tech Virtual Graduation Ceremony 2020 recently took place to celebrate the graduation of its students under the new normal conditions. Thailand Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – Tokyo Institute of Technology, or TAIST-Tokyo Tech, is a joint graduate program between Tokyo Tech, leading Thai universities and NSTDA.
Nepalese Ambassador to Thailand His Excellency Ganesh Prasad Dhakal paid a visit to NSTDA Headquarters at Thailand Science Park on 8 March 2021. He was accompanied by Mrs. Tara Sharma, Third Secretary and Ms. Shinakarn Wongbhumiwatana, PA to H.E. Ambassador.
On 2 March 2021, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, along with NANOTEC Executive Director Dr. Wannee Chinsirikul and NECTEC Executive Director Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai, participated in the press conference announcing the upcoming NSTDA Annual Conference 2021 (NAC2021) to take place from 25-30 March 2021 with the theme “STI Driving BCG Economy for Sustainability”. To embrace the new normal environment, NAC2021 – comprising seminars, exhibition, open house, job fairs and STEM activities - will be held entirely on an online platform at https://www.nstda.or.th/nac/.
On 3 March 2021, Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) presided over a press conference announcing a collaboration between NSTDA and the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) on the development of industrial-scale manufacturing process of favipiravir API. The press conference was participated by GPO Director-General Dr. Witoon Danwiboon, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, BIOTEC Executive Director Dr. Wonnop Visessanguan and executives and researchers of the two organizations.
NSTDA Deep Tech Acceleration Program officially kicked off on 25 February 2021 with a bootcamp for 29 teams of researchers and entrepreneurs in three industrial sectors, namely food technology, assistive technology devices and internet of things (IoT) for smart industry. The 4-day bootcamp offers participants comprehensive knowledge and tips shared by tech startup experts on how to build and succeed in innovation-based businesses, as well as strategy and tools to take ideas to market and thrive in the business. Speakers at the bootcamp include Mr. Surawat Promyotin, Director of Sasin Sustainability and Entrepreneurship Center; Dr. Panachit Kittipanya-ngam, CEO /Co-Founder of a startup ZTRUS; Dr. Jessada Wannasin, an associate professor at Prince of Songkla University and Founder of GISSCO and Dr. Anongnat Somwangthanaroj, an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University and CTO of a food packaging & food contact materials startup.
NSTDA, researchers of Kasetsart University and farmers in Ban Don Hwai village recently celebrated the launch of Ban Don Hwai KUML Mung Bean Seed Production Center in Uthai Thani province, the first community mung bean seed production center in Thailand.
NSTDA Characterization and Testing Center (NCTC) announced a launch of Cannabis Analytical Testing Laboratory and signed an agreement with Play La Ploen Herbal Center Community Enterprise located in Buriram province to perform cannabis testing for the enterprise to ensure their products meeting international standards.
NSTDA and Thammasat University Hospital have signed an MOU for the R&D collaboration on digital healthcare to support the transition into smart hospital. The partnership was announced by NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul and Hospital Director Dr. Pharuhat Tor-Udom.
Twenty-five years ago, BIOTEC-NSTDA embarked on the forest survey and building an entomopathogenic fungal collection under the leadership of Dr. Nigel L.H. Jones. Through the collaboration with universities and the Department of National Park Wildlife and Plant Conservation, BIOTEC research team has collected and identified over 400 entomopathogenic fungal species in Thailand, placing Thailand on the world map as the hotspot for this type of fungi. Because of their high insecticidal effectiveness, entomopathogenic fungi are commonly used as biopesticides. They are also a good source of bioactive compounds for various applications.
On 9 February 2021, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, along with executive directors of four NSTDA research centers, held a press conference highlighting NSTDA R&D achievements and outlook into the future. As NSTDA is celebrating its 30th year anniversary in 2021, this press conference is the first of a press conference series to feature NSTDA’s work over the past three decades in various facets. The focus of this event is on agriculture and food sector.
Dr. Narong explained that NSTDA R&D in agriculture and food aims at making improvement on productivity and quality of farm commodities and products, reducing production costs for farmers and manufacturers, enhancing competitiveness and minimizing environmental impact. Priorities are given to economic crops and farm animals such as rice, cassava, sugarcane, poultry and aquaculture. Achievements over the past three decades were provided as follows:
BIOTEC Executive Director Dr. Wonnop Visessanguan further highlighted R&D achievements in 2020 which include the discovery of 47 new species of insect-pathogenic fungi adding to its unique microbial collection which holds more than 90,000 microbial species. These microorganisms have potential applications in food and agriculture sector such as biocontrol products. Production technology for biocontrol agents for controlling pests and weeds such as Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae have been developed and transferred to enterprises and farmers. As for food and feed industry, BIOTEC has been collaborating with industrial partners to create products and technologies that have successfully reached the market. Examples are a feed preservative eLysozyme for shrimp feed industry, the production technology of beta-glucan and yeast probiotic for animal feed industry, the fermentation technology of fruit vinegars (mangosteen vinegar, pineapple vinegar, coconut vinegar and black garlic vinegar) and production of mushroom as an alternative protein source. These projects have generated over 180 million THB investment from the private sector and contributed to the country’s economic growth. For 2021, the center will continue to work on rice breeding and employ participatory varietal selection approach to facilitate new variety adoption of glutinous Hom Naga, Hom Jinda and Thanya 6401. Two new tomato varieties from the collaboration with Maejo University will be released this year.
MTEC Executive Director Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul elaborated on MTEC rubber research that has created over 10 billion THB socio-economic impact. The preservative developed by MTEC is designed for extending shelf life of fresh natural rubber latex for rubber sheet production. It offers an alternative to toxic ammonia and sodium sulfite, commonly used preservatives. The center also developed a novel latex concentrate for mixing with asphalt cement for road construction. The material was used to build 4,610 km of road covering 73 provinces. A novel process developed by MTEC to recover rubber solids from sludge waste and reuse them enables circularity in Thai rubber industry. MTEC also employs its expertise to help the industry design rubber with properties meeting certain specifications at competitive production cost and provide solutions to over 50 companies. New products and technologies to be released in 2021 include a coagulant for rubber cup lump coagulation, removal of allergenic protein in natural rubber latex gloves and other new products such as educational toys. The center will also focus on developing green processes for rubber manufacturing and engage in the standardization of rubber and rubber products to increase the competitiveness of Thai rubber industry and facilitate its participation in global trade.
NANOTEC Executive Director Dr. Wannee Chinsirikul discussed the 2021 R&D strategy that the center will focus on chelation technology, in combination with nano chemistry and nano characterization to improve quality and productivity of economic fruits such as durian and mango and provide innovative solutions to the animal feed industry. The technology enables the development of amino acid chelated foliar fertilizer and amino acid chelated trace minerals for the feed industry. R&D will be conducted to develop different amino acid chelated mineral formulae specific to each type of farm animals, i.e. pig, chicken and dairy cattle. The center will be working with Mitr Phol Group to implement nanosensor-based dextran detection test in 7 sugar mills owned by Mitr Phol Group to mitigate dextran contamination and improve efficiency in the sugar production process.
NECTEC Executive Director Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai explained that the NECTEC’s work in food and agriculture involves the application of IoT, AI and sensor technology to facilitate smart farming. Examples are a smart aquaculture system AQUA GROW, Agri-Map, precision-farming HandySense and farm management system WiMaRC. Agri-Map system has been accessed over 43 million times, and the model has a 90% accuracy in predicting the productivity and sugar content of sugarcane. Its Thai School Lunch – an AI-enabled automated system enabling schools to self-plan nutritious lunch menus at an optimal budget – have 58,046 users covering schools nationwide and will soon have an additional feature to link with logistics system to supply farm products to schools. The center will also explore the use of terahertz technology in food inspection and quality control.
A virtual MOU signing ceremony was held between NSTDA and SIASUN Automation (Singapore) on 10 February 2021 to officiate a partnership aiming to apply automation, robotics & intelligent system to facilitate Industry 4.0 transformation. The MOU was signed by Ms. Toh Guat Lan, Deputy CEO of SIASUN Automation (Singapore) and Dr. Janekrishna Kanatharana, NSTDA Executive Vice President and Director of Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi). Joining the celebration were Mr. Zhao Chen, CEO of SIASUN Automation (Singapore); Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai, NECTEC Executive Director; Dr. Panita Pongpaibool, NECTEC Deputy Executive Director; Dr. Kanit Sangsubhan, Secretary General of Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and Ms. Salinee Phonprapai, East Asia 1 Division Director of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Last year, the cabinet approved 5.4 billion THB budget to establish Sustainable Manufacturing Center (SMC) at EECi. SMC is expected to be a state-of-the-art research and demonstration center of automation, robotics and intelligent system to support Thai manufacturers to transition into Industry 4.0. SMC will serve as a platform bringing together manufacturers, system integrators, innovators, researchers and students to collaborate through available tools and facilities such as Industry 4.0 Assessment Tools, Learning Station/Line and testbed/sandbox.
Under this partnership, SMC and SIASUN - a leading Chinese enterprise specializing in robotics and intelligent system – will set up SMC-SIASUN Innovation Center at EECi to create a complete ecosystem to translate research to commercialization and tailor some advanced technologies to fit with the conditions of Thai industry.
SMC recently launched Industrial IoT and Data Analytics Platform (IDA Platform)- applying IoT and data analytics to optimize decision-making, enable intelligent operations and improve operational and energy efficiency. 15 factories have been selected to participate in the pilot project to test the equipment and system. The project will be expanded to cover 500 factories over a 3-year period.
Air filters are used to remove particulates and microorganisms from the air stream. However, under suitable conditions, retained microbes can propagate and re-enter the filtered air, exposing users to respiratory problems such as allergy and pneumonitis. To solve this problem, NANOTEC research team has employed nano-coating technology to impart antibacterial and antifungal properties to an air filter. Dr. Nuttaporn Pimpha, Team Leader of Environmental Nanotechnology Research Team, Nanohybrids and Coating Research Group, explained that nanoparticles coated on the filter inhibit bacterial and fungal growth. The nano-coating process is simple and cost-effective and can be easily applied by the industry. In addition, the coating material does not alter other functional properties of the air filter.
On 25 January 2021, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul and Mr. Surasri Kidtimonton, Director General of Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation participated in the virtual signing ceremony of an MOU between NSTDA and the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Accompanying Dr. Narong in the ceremony was Dr. Wannee Chinsirikul, Executive Director of NANOTEC-NSTDA.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak emerged in December 2019, NSTDA has been developing innovative healthcare solutions to fight against the disease. As the latest outbreak erupted in December 2020, NSTDA and its partners have presented the following medical devices and healthcare products developed by NSTDA research team to a number of hospitals and health facilities.
The Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) Committee convened on 13 January 2021 at the Government House. Serving as the committee chairman, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that the government will include BCG in its national agenda alongside Thailand 4.0. BCG will be a vehicle to modernize Thailand’s agricultural sector, establish national health security and reduce foreign dependency.
Zinc ions are known to exhibit a broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. This property drew an interest of Unisil Group Company Limited to incorporate zinc ion in livestock feed as an alternative to antibiotics. The company reached out to NANOTEC-NSTDA and received a transfer of technology to produce zinc ion as an antimicrobial agent.
Isolation chamber is a personal protective equipment that prevents the transmission of airborne pathogens during the transport of infectious respiratory patient and reduce infection rate of medical staff. Driven by the rapid progression of COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at MTEC-NSTDA designed a patient isolation and transportation chamber called PETE with multiple key features that overcome shortcomings of products currently available in the market.
19-Xolution, a team of researchers from BIOTEC-NSTDA and the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, was among 20 finalist teams advancing in the rapid COVID testing competition launched by the XPRIZE Foundation aiming to create innovative, scalable COVID-19 testing solutions to help society safely return to everyday activities.
NSTDA’s DDC-Care was presented with an award from Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) at the press conference hosted by MHESI on 24 December 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 1 million people and caused significant damages to the economy. Despite the availability of vaccine, testing remains critical as it helps contain and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic by identifying infected individuals to help prevent further person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
RT-PCR has been adopted as the standard method for COVID-19 detection due to its accuracy, specificity and sensitivity. As the method requires expensive laboratory equipment and trained technicians to perform and interpret results, making the PCR platform inaccessible to the wider population, thus crippling the ability to contain the spread.
A press briefing was held on 14 December 2020 by Healthiness Company Limited to introduce Besuto12 hand cleansing gel. Besuto12 was developed by Healthiness Company Limited, in partnership with AVS Innovation Company Limited - a research company based at Thailand Science Park – and funded by NSTDA under the Fast Track for Medicine and Medical Device Fight COVID-19 Program.
At the press conference held on 7 December 2020, NSTDA announced three recipients to the NSTDA Research Chair Grants 2020. The three recipients are Prof. Prasert Auewarakul, M.D. of Mahidol University, Prof. Dr. Sakamon Devahastin Na Ayutthaya of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi and Prof. Dr. Soottawat Benjakul of Prince of Songkla University. They were selected from 21 proposals. Each awardee receives a 20 million THB grant for a 5-year period to carry out high-impact research projects.
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.
The Mango Export Community Enterprise Bang Phae District, Ratchaburi Province was founded in 2012. The enterprise produces around 200 tons of mango fruits annually, on the area of 58 rai (9.28 ha), for both domestic and export markets. Russia and countries in the Middle East are among its export markets. Both ThaiGAP and GMP standards have been adopted.
The enterprise contacted the Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) of NSTDA for a consultation to find an alternative fruit ripening agent to calcium carbide that it had been using. Calcium carbide is commonly used for artificial ripening of fruits due to economic price and market availability. However, its use is discouraged worldwide due to its side effects to human health.
NSTDA and three partners, namely FDA Thailand, Department of Medical Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, recently launched the collaboration to establish a database of Thai medicinal plants for cosmetics and herbal products intended for external use. The database aims to support Thai herbal product industry in developing high-quality and safe cosmetics and herbal products with comprehensive scientific data and facts as well as applicable regulations.
One of the highlights at Thailand Tech Show 2020 was the Investment Pitching event in which 10 researchers presented their innovations to potential investors for business opportunities. This year, a wide-range of innovations were pitched, including seed purity test, negative pressure patient transportation chamber, air cleaner, COVID-19 test kit, software for evaluating a microorganism’s potential in producing a bioproduct, fabric paint produced from rubber latex, UVC disinfection robot, RF dry blanching technology for dried herb production, antimicrobial food packaging film and container load optimization software.
THAILAND TECH SHOW 2020 - an annual event showcasing inventions developed and services offered by Thai academic and research institutes to potential investors, tech entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs and corporates – held an opening ceremony on 2 December 2020, marking the first time the event is organized in a fully virtual format.
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.
Green Rock is a new construction material co-developed by MTEC and Charan Business 52 Company Limited, a subsidiary of Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (ThaiBev). It was originated from G-Rock innovation, developed by Dr. Pitak Laoratanakul of MTEC, that upcycles by-products from agricultural and industrial activities and creates lightweight pellets used for reinforcing lightweight concrete. The lightweight pellets add weight-bearing and insulation properties to and reduces the weight of regular concrete.
NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul announced at the press conference on 17 November 2020 that NSTDA will be hosting THAILAND TECH SHOW 2020 from 2-4 December 2020. This year’s event will be held in a fully virtual format in order to mitigate congestion of people and ensure the safety of participants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
NSTDA and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) signed an agreement to employ technology and innovation to enhance capacity of SMEs and startups in Thailand. The cooperation will focus on encouraging SMEs and startups to employ an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system which has potential to increase efficiencies, improve productivity, decreased costs and streamlined processes in an enterprise.
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.
On 2 November 2020, an agreement was signed among three parties, including NSTDA, Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) to advance into the 3rd phase of partnership to support research and development to improve SMEs competitiveness. Participating in the signing ceremony were executives from the three parties, namely Dr. Thitapha Smitinont, NSTDA Executive Vice President, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pongpan Kaewtathip, TSRI Deputy Director and Dr. Wiparat De-ong, Acting NRCT Executive Director.
RFID patient tracking & identification system is an innovation that was developed from the 2P @Safety Tech (Patient and Personnel Safety Technology Awards), a program that supports the creation and exploitation of healthcare innovations to enhance patient and personnel safety in hospitals.
On 30 October 2020, NSTDA hosted a KidBright workshop for teachers and students from schools for children with special needs. The workshop introduces teachers and students to KidBright, an embedded board developed by NECTEC-NSTDA for children to learn coding, learn how to code with KidBright and create a project using KidBright.
Tripple A Engineering and Supply Company Limited recently unveiled a mobile robot that the company developed with the assistance from NSTDA Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP).
It has been reported that business incubation program can increase the success rate of new businesses by 30%. Business incubators, therefore, play a pivotal role in transitioning Thailand into an innovation-driven economy. As most universities in Thailand have established business incubators, they have substantial capacity to support innovators and tech entrepreneurs throughout the country. To strengthen Thailand’s innovation ecosystem, Technology Management Center (NSTDA-TMC) has been actively implementing a project to develop capability of business incubators in Thai universities in the past three years.
NSTDA and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) launched a research and innovation collaboration to support and enhance the investigation, suppression and prevention of special crimes to strengthen national security. The agreement was signed by DSI Director-General Pol. Lt. Col. Korrawat Panprapakorn and NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul on 20 October 2020 at Thailand Science Park.
NSTDA and four partner organizations - Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (Public Organization), Electronic Transactions Development Agency, the Department of Women's Affairs and Family Development and the Government Savings Bank – recently launched a collaborative project to provide an e-commerce education and training to prepare Thai workforce to be digitally ready for working in the e-commerce era. The launch event was held on 9 October 2020 and presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai.
NSTDA and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) signed an agreement to collaborate on mangrove research. The agreement was made official by Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Mr. Sopon Thongdee, DMCR Director-General as witnessed by Prof. Sanit Aksornkoae, Chairman of the National Economic and Social Development Council and President of International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems.
On 29 September 2020, a consortium of academic institutes, public and private enterprises met with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and members of the Cabinet at the Government House to present the progress of City Transit E-buses Project.
NSTDA and Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited recently signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of an oil refinery waste management system to support a circular economy. Present at the signing ceremony were Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul, Executive Director of MTEC-NSTDA, Mr. Pativat Tivasasit, Senior Executive Vice President, Bangchak Refinery Business Group, and executives of both organizations.
An agreement has been reached between NSTDA and Energy Absolute Public Company Limited (EA) on a collaborative project to enable energy security for Thailand. The MOU was signed by Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Mr. Somphote Ahunai, EA CEO on 22 September 2020.
September 24, 2020 at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC), Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation by National Science and Technology Development Agency, Khon Kaen University, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok in collaboration with Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand, signed a memorandum of understanding for Partnership Agreement among the founding institutes of Thailand Energy Storage Technology Alliance (TESTA). The purpose is to establish alliances in developing storage technologies along its value chain. The event is presided over by Mr. Kittikorn Loh Sunthorn, Chairman of the Commission and Energy Commission, House of Representatives, with 5 executives from the founding institutes as witnesses. Speakers at the event included Professor M. Stanley Whittingham, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of lithium-ion batteries, along with leading Thai battery users and producers such as GPSC, BANPUNEXT and Thonburi Energy Storage Manufacturing.
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).
Global food production is faced with challenges. While demand for food is rising due to population growth, climate change is lowering the production capacity. Labor shortage has been a pain point in Thai agricultural and manufacturing sectors lately and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem as foreign labors are unable to enter the country. Automation technology therefore becomes a viable solution to Thai industry, especially the food industry which occupies as much as 25% of industry in Thailand.
On 14 September 2020, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and Ministry of Energy (MoE) signed an agreement to design and implement a robust research and development program in energy technology to promote clean energy and strengthen energy security for Thailand. The signing ceremony was officiated by leaderships of both ministries, comprising Mr. Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Deputy Prime Minister and MoE Minister; Prof. Dr. Anek Laothamatas, MHESI Minister; Mr. Kulit Sombatsiri, MoE Permanent Secretary and Mr. Soranit Siltharm, MHESI Permanent Secretary.
On 11 September 2020, NSTDA welcomed a visit of Prof. Dr. Anek Laothamatas and executive team of Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI). This is Prof. Anek’s first visit to NSTDA Headquarters since he was appointed MHESI minister in August 2020.
An agreement between NSTDA and Ministry of Defence was signed on 8 September 2020 to support defence innovation program for national security purposes. The signing ceremony was attended by executives from both parties led by Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Lieutenant General Kongcheep Tantawanich, Director-General of the Defence Science and Technology Department.
NSTDA in collaboration with Food Innopolis recently held Thailand Food Innovation Junior Bootcamp 2020 at Sirindhorn Science Home, Thailand Science Park. The bootcamp was opened to high school students who have strong interest in food innovation. Thirty teams - consisting of 150 students in total - were selected from a pool of 2,000 applicants to participate in the bootcamp.
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.
Application of nanocoatings in the construction industry has increased as the materials can provide a protective layer to the building surface with desired functional properties. Dr. Tanyakorn Muangnapoh, member of NANOTEC Innovative Nanocoating Research Team, has developed a nanocoating with waterproof, dustproof, anti-fungal and anti-algal properties for preserving Buddhist temples. The coating was developed based on extensive study of chemical and physical properties of surfaces of Buddhist religious structures. The coating was tested with the bell tower of Samut Khongkharam Temple in Rayong Province. The bell tower structure was treated with the nanocoating in December 2019 to protect the building surface against fungal and algal growth due to moisture and humidity and prevent cracks in walls. The research team plans to test the coating’s performance in 10 more temples by the end of this year and compare the performance under various weather conditions. In addition to preserving national treasures, this technology also has business potential in industries such as real estate and paint.
NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul revealed the decision of the Cabinet on 25 August 2020 approving the establishment of Sustainable Manufacturing Center (SMC). The new center will be a key infrastructure of ARIPOLIS, a platform for Automation, Robotics & Intelligent System, at the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) in Wangchan District, Rayong Province.
On 24 August 2020, NSTDA executives welcomed Prof. Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and his team at the construction site of the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) in Wangchan District, Rayong Province to inspect the progress. EECi is the Government’s flagship project, aiming to be a new innovation hub offering a complete ecosystem for innovation and a new economic estate specializing in research, innovation, and related testing and evaluation, and NSTDA has been assigned to spearhead its development.
AI Innovation Jumpstart Batch2 BKK: Demo Day, an event showcasing ARI (Automation Robotics & Intelligent System) innovations, took place on 18 August 2020. Implemented by NSTDA’s Software Park Thailand, AI Innovation Jumpstart is a project designed to develop capacity and skills in ARI which are among enabling technologies for new S-curve industries. The project is opened to teams of university students and lecturers as well as innovators and entrepreneurs with strong potential to create commercial ARI innovations. Each selected team gets to participate in the boot camp where they receive training in technical and business skills (design thinking, lean canvas model, etc.), obtains a 100,000 THB grant to develop a prototype and has opportunities to connect with experts for advice and develop business connections.
Dr. Wonnop Visessaguan, BIOTEC Executive Director, was honored with the 2020 Outstanding Scientist Award at the press conference announcing the recipients of 2020 Outstanding Scientist and Young Scientist awards. Hosted by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King, the press conference was presided over by Prof. Dr. Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.
NSTDA, in collaboration with King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Khon Kaen University and the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT), recently organized a seminar to discuss energy storage technology in Thailand and propose the establishment of Thailand Energy Storage Technology Alliance (TESTA). The seminar was opened by Dr. Sumittra Charojrochkul, Director of Materials for Energy Research Group, MTEC-NSTDA. Dr. Pimpa Limthongkul, Leader of Electrochemical Materials and System Research Team, MTEC-NSTDA, introduced TESTA concept to the audience, followed by a panel discussion on status and trend of energy storage technology in Thailand with representatives from Ministry of Energy, the Federation of Thai Industries, PEC Technology (Thailand) Company Limited, Energy Absolute Public Company Limited and Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC).
Since October 2014, the Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) of NSTDA and the Board of Trade of Thailand have jointly implemented a capacity building program for SMEs, cooperatives and community enterprises to improve the quality of fruit and vegetable to meet agricultural standards – such as Thai Good Agricultural Practices (ThaiGAP), global GAP and organic agriculture standards - and practice sustainable agriculture. The program introduces growers to technologies and innovations to facilitate the transformation from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture, or Agriculture 4.0. Under this program, growers and SMEs, including cooperatives and community enterprises, receive technical and financial support from ITAP to enable them to comply with requirements of ThaiGAP. ITAP experts are drawn from Agricultural Standard Research and Development Institute and Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University.
NSTDA and the Chaipattana Foundation has established a collaboration on research and demonstration of shrimp cultivation technologies related to at the model farm of Chai Pattana Foundation in Chachoengsao Province. Chai Pattana Foundation’s model farm serves as an experimentation and demonstration site of technologies related to aquaculture for farmers to learn and apply technologies to their farms. The overall goal is to promote sustainable aquaculture in Thailand.
On 22 July 2020, NSTDA, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) held a press conference to unveil health checkup kiosks at BAAC branches to provide public an easy and free access to a primary healthcare screening tool. One hundred units have already been installed at BAAC branches throughout the country to encourage bank’s visitors to have regular health check-ups. Present at the press conference were Dr. Sakchai Kanchanawatana, NHSO Secretary-General, Mr. Nipat Kuasakul, BAAC Senior Executive Vice President and Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai, Executive Director of NECTEC-NSTDA.
At the press conference held on 16 July 2020 at Thailand Science Park, NSTDA and Mahidol University announced an agreement between the two parties to collaborate on research and development in tropical diseases and unveiled two recent inventions to support the fight against COVID-19. The press conference was attended by executive officers of each party, including Prof. Banchong Mahaisavariya, President of Mahidol University; Asst. Prof. Weerapong Phumratanaprapin, Dean of Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President; Dr. Wonnop Visessanguan, Executive Director of BIOTEC-NSTDA; and Dr. Wannee Chinsirikul, Executive Director of NANOTEC-NSTDA.
On 15 July 2020, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) hosted a “BCG: An Economic Model for Sustainable Development” Assembly to demonstrate the potential of Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model (BCG) in leading Thailand towards the path of sustainable development and engage all stakeholders to set direction and requirements for the country to achieve BCG’s goal. Such requirements include the revision of laws and regulations in order to foster innovation and application, infrastructure investment, market access expansion, financial tools, and mechanisms for knowledge and technology transfer to all sectors.
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.
Under the Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model (BCG) introduced by the Thai government as a new economic model for inclusive and sustainable growth, medical and wellness is one of the four industrial sectors to be promoted based on the competitive strength and potential Thailand possesses. The strategy to bolster this industry includes intensive capacity building in technology and human capital in R&D and production technology for vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as clinical research and product registration of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, all in support of Thailand’s healthcare policy of promoting preventive medicine and precision medicine.
At a joint press conference held by NSTDA and the Krabi provincial administration on 8 July 2020, Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President presented four innovations to Pol. Lt. Col. M.L. Kitibadee Prawit, Governor of Krabi province, to support “Krabi We Care” campaign to launch new normal tourism of this famous coastal city. The four innovations are BENZION disinfectant product, KAO SA-ARD shoe sole cleaning and disinfection machine, QueQ mobile application and Traffy Fondue system.
On 1 July 2020, Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Mr. Mesak Pakdeekong, Director General, Department of Fisheries signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a research, development and innovation in aquaculture. The collaboration expects to formulate research direction and facilitate the advancement of research and innovation to industry and commercialization, in order to enhance the competitiveness of Thai aquaculture industry and raise its profile in the global market.
Four parties from the public and private sectors, including the Marine Department, National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Banpu Next Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Banpu PCL., and Sakun C Innovation Co., Ltd., joined hands to sign an MoU in “Design development, production and standardization of quality electric ferries (e-Ferry) for the safety of water transportation and the promotion of maritime commerce.”
The MoU highlights objectives to raise the production standards of electric ferries while increasing competitiveness at the national and international levels, which will lead to sustainable growth of the industry, as well as encourage all sectors to recognize the importance of using clean energy in the industrial and business sectors. The agreement especially aims to promote the use of e-Ferries in tourism which will not only help save the energy, but also reduce water and air pollution in the long term. By using efficient water vessels, it will help return sustainability to the aquatic ecosystem, as well as offering a better quality of life for people in the community and tourists. Thailand’s first e-Ferry for travel under the new partnership is scheduled to launch officially within this year, serving as a fast, convenient and environmentally-friendly travel option.
Mr. Withaya Yamoung, Director-General of the Marine Department, shared his view, “The Marine Department is the primary government agency to supervise and promote the development of safe, efficient water transportation systems and maritime commerce. In accordance with international standards, our mission is to push forward the aquatic and maritime interconnection with other public transit systems in order to promote convenience, speed, safety and better coverage of intercity travel for the people. Our department strives to ensure the standards and provides direction guidance for the e-Ferry development in Thailand. Under our consultancy, private sectors can benefit from the commercial extension of business, ranging from using modern assembly technology in compliance with government standards, jointly developing and transferring knowledge of electric technology systems, to reviewing the criteria, terms, conditions, and laws for the inspection of electric vessels in accordance with utilized modern technology. Therefore, this collaboration in the development and production of Thailand’s first electric ferries for travel is a crucial step to improve the standards of the country’s water transportation systems and maritime commerce.”
Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul, Executive Director of National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), revealed, “NSTDA has been engaging in the activities regarding electric vehicles for over 10 years. We pioneered the development of battery technology with component systems, such as the BMS cooling systems. Recently, the government cabinet has approved to establish the National Energy Technology Center (ENTEC) to be the research entity with direct responsibilities in this field. Meanwhile, NSTDA continues the research and development of motor with control systems in order to identify new motor technologies that are suitable for domestic production. We also integrated cutting-edge technology, such as IoT, smart systems, and various design and structure analysis systems for electric vehicles focusing on lightweight to save the energy and increase safety. NSTDA is equipped with a research and service team with expertise in the development of standards, assessment, and product certifications. Our team of experts also has hands-on experience working with government agencies and in many fields of industry, such as standard formulations relating to electric vehicles, and IoT technology, such as socket-outlet standards and charging stations, etc. NSTDA will bring these strengths together to promote the operations under this partnership in order to create a sustainable development of the e-Ferry industry in Thailand.”
Mrs. Somruedee Chaimongkol, Chief Executive Officer of Banpu PCL. and Banpu Next Co., Ltd., revealed that “BanpuNext, a subsidiary of Banpu , as a leading smart clean energy solution provider in Asia-Pacific, continues to underline the Greener & Smarter strategy of Banpu by bringing together innovation, knowledge and expertise to support the development and production of the first e-Ferry for travel in Thailand. With regards to our e-Ferry development strategy, we’ve integrated a variety of energy technology solutions, utilizing both hardware and software in the production development, including high-capacity lithium-ion battery (LiB) - a prominent business of Durapower Holdings Pte Ltd—a joint-investment with BanpuNext, developed especially for the usage of e-Ferries. Moreover, the company has embarked on the procurement for e-Ferry charging stations. At the same time, we make sure to equip these stations with cutting-edge software technology, such as the Energy Management System (EMS) for energy storage control, charging and regulation of appropriate usage capacities. This enabled us to analyze the data in order to plan the preventive maintenance for the e-Ferries to always be ready and work with full efficiency. We believe that this joint partnership will help improve water transportation, promote the use of clean energy vehicles with high efficiency, help reduce environmental pollution, as well as create a better quality of life for people in the community, society and tourists.”
Mr. Namchai Sakunchoknamchai, President of Sakun C Innovation Co., Ltd., further explained, “Sakun C has been jointly studying the feasibility of electric ferries alongside NSTDA for many years. The vessels that we had successfully developed can directly support the installation of electric systems. However, there are limitations in many aspects as well as other components such as the electric systems that still cannot respond to the market. Furthermore, there are still issues about the battery usage, the confidence in spending, the warranty, the charging systems, the price range that is negotiables in business, the unclear rules and regulations, and the lack of technical professionals who are knowledgeable about the inspections and operations of the ships. Most importantly, there has been no organizations which can provide clear answers to these issues. Eventually, after we collaborated with BanpuNext, a leading smart clean energy company with robust policies and directions to create a sustainable development of alternative energy, we capped on their professionalism to answer these battery technology issues with the Energy Management System (EMS) and the charging system, as well as the warranty issues. We also had a meeting with the Director-General of the Marine Department regarding the production and registration of the e-Ferries, in which, he has provided great advice and assistance in calling meetings of all relevant parties in order to plan and improve the systems, as well as to develop human resources and work models in lined with current technology. Apart from this, we have invited NSTDA to share knowledge about all aspects of electric systems. This e-Ferry project jointly developed with BanpuNext has now progressed up to 90% and we are currently undergoing various system tests to ensure utmost confidence. These e-Ferries are not manufactured only for research purposes or for personal use. The vessels are produced for actual commercial purposes for the clients who placed orders to bring them to service in the tourism industry in the Southern Seas of Thailand. Therefore, we need to ensure a stringent and thorough standard testing procedure. We hope that this partnership will yield benefits to the Thai e-Ferry business sector.”
MagikTuch is a touchless elevator control panel invented to facilitate low-touch interactions and avoid cross-infection as frequently touched surfaces such as elevator buttons have the potential for infection. It employs motion sensors to operate an elevator by having users holding their hand over the floor button at a distance of 2-3 cm instead of traditionally pushing the button.
On 19 June 2020, an online MOU signing ceremony was held among 13 organizations to forge an implementation of Industry 4.0 via Industrial IoT and Data Analytics (IDA) Platform. The signing was witnessed by Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI).
NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul reveals that the cabinet has approved NSTDA’s proposal to establish a new national center called National Energy Technology Center (ENTEC) on 9 June 2020. The new center will serve as a center of excellence in energy research and work with all sectors to drive the national energy agenda.
BIOTEC-NSTDA, in collaboration with the Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) and the Agricultural Research Development Agency (Public Organization), has developed a bioreactor system to improve production efficiency of economic crops to meet growers’ demand.
On 16 June 2020, executives of NSTDA and Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) participated in a signing of an MOU on medical research and innovation. Representing the two organizations were Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Dr. Nares Damrongchai, TCELS CEO. The partnership aims to support medical research, translate research results into practice, and enhance competitiveness of medical device industry to meet international standards. Both parties will join force to support the utilization of advanced technology to accelerate the development of innovations that benefit public health, ranging from cancer drugs, biopharmaceuticals, herbal medicines, medical software, precision medicine, functional and specialty foods. An ecosystem to foster medical device and service industry will be developed which include mechanisms to promote technology transfer and commercialization. Through NSTDA’s connection with the World Business Angel Forum (WBAF) and NSTDA Holding Company, startups and entrepreneurs will gain access to heath-focused investment capital.
Two of NSTDA’s female researchers were among recipients awarded L’Oréal Thailand COVID-19 Solidarity prizes announced on 11 June 2020. Set up specially to support young talents to develop research and innovation to fight the COVID-19 crisis, the prizes were part of L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards and recognized three Thai researchers, namely Assoc. Prof. Arunee Thitithanyanont, M.D. (Faculty of Science, Mahidol University), Dr. Naruporn Monmaturapoj (Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Center, NSTDA), and Dr. Ananlada Chotimongkol (Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Center, NSTDA). Each awardee receives a 250,000 THB research fund.
8 June 2020. Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) brought a team of eight top executives representing industries, entrepreneurs, academia, government agencies and people sector to meet Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss the use of Bio-Circular-Green Economic (BCG) Model to drive the national agendas which include food security, public health security, energy security, job security, environmental sustainability, as well as social inclusiveness.
On 28 May 2020, executives of four organizations including NSTDA, the National Institute for Emergency Medicine, TOT Public Company Limited and Kasetsart University met to celebrate the signing of a MOU to implement digital emergency medical services in Thailand. The executives and honorary guests included Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President, Flt. Lt. Atchariya Pangma, Secretary General of the National Institute for Emergency Medicine, Gp. Capt. Somsak Khaosuwan, Board Chairman of TOT Public Company Limited, Mr. Pipat Khanthong, Board Member of TOT Public Company Limited and Dr. Putchong Uthayopas, Vice President for Information Technology, Kasetsart University.
After temporarily closing for 3 months due to COVID-19 lockdown order, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, one of the largest exhibition and convention venues in Asia, is ready to reopen its business as the government is easing the restriction allowing the opening of conference centers for meetings of up to 50 people each. IMPACT will be employing Germ Saber UVC Sterilizer to disinfect its floor space of over 140,000 sqm.
Thailand is known for its vibrant street food scene. Street food offers convenient, delicious and inexpensive meals and has become part of Thai culture. Stands and street vendors can easily be found along the streets and in markets day and night for locals and tourists to enjoy the taste of Thai cuisine. Despite its popularity, street food suffers from negative reputations for being unsafe and polluting the environment with wastewater discharged directly onto the street, as well as oily fume and cooking odor emissions.
Pet ownership is on the rise in Thailand, with dogs and cats leading the way. People increasingly have close contact with their domestic animals, which can escalate the transmission of diseases, especially fungal skin infections, from animals to humans. Although there are a number of pet medications available for treating fungal infections, some of them contain chemicals with potential side effects of damaging animals’ internal organs such as liver, stomach and intestines. Many of these medicines are imported and therefore can be expensive for consumers. NANOTEC-NSTDA therefore explored the idea of using herbal extracts which can be sourced locally for treating fungal skin infections in pets. In addition to enabling a locally made and less expensive product for Thai consumers, products containing natural ingredients are more inclined to be safe for animals and humans, as well as the environment.
National Science and Technology Development (NSTDA), Innovation Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) under the Technology Management Center (TMC) has launched 'The New Aged Citizens Project' by supporting prospective SMEs to take on the challenge of aging society with a new business model running on the basis of science, technology, and innovation. One of the SMEs in the incubation is Sooksabuy (Thailand) Co., Ltd. The company was supported to develop the Artificial Intelligent (AI) technology as a virtual architectural consultant software to evaluate and recommend real estate properties that are suitable for the retirees. Sooksabuy platform is a powerful tool to immediately respond to the demand of retired users to match the supply of local developers/homeowners with the international standard of design for the elderly.
Medical Devices Demand-Supply Matching for COVID-19 is an innovative digital platform to facilitate the donations of medical devices and supplies by matching the demand and supply sides. Potential donors (individuals or enterprises) and recipients (hospitals and healthcare service providers) can simply register and log in to provide personal information and medical devices and supplies that they would like to match. The platform can match the medical items and their quantities as well as provide contact information for donors and recipients to make contact. The system also includes logistic service to facilitate and track the shipment. The matching system can be applied to other crises in the future. The system can be accessed through the following website: www.mds4covid19.in.th.
On 8 May 2020, NSTDA and Kasetsart University entered into agreements to facilitate collaboration on two projects, DNA Technology Laboratory and Manpower Development. Representing the two parties were Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Dr. Chongrak Wachrinrat, Acting President of Kasetsart University.
Fever is one of the common symptoms of COVID-19, and therefore temperature check has now been widely implemented to screen people entering facilities. Several fever screening solutions are available. An infrared thermometer offers an accurate and inexpensive solution, but measurements have to be taken closely and one person at a time, thus unable to support social distancing and crowded facilities. While a thermal imaging camera can accurately screen several people at the same time, it is a costly equipment.
On 1 May 2020, NSTDA, the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education and the Community-based Health Research and Development Foundation entered into an MOU to establish R&D and knowledge management platform for the elderly and disabled. The MOU signing ceremony was presided by Deputy Minister of Education Kanokwan Wilawan.
BIOTEC Bioengineering and Sensing Technology Research Team has developed a colorimetric LAMP detection assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the causative of COVID-19. The assay is a simple one-step method and the result can be visualized with naked eyes. The total assay time is only one hour. Negative reactions are indicated in purple and positive reactions are indicated by a change to yellow. This assay is currently being validated in collaboration with the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University. The validation should be completed for further discussion with the Department of Medical Sciences and FDA Thailand in this coming June.
MONICA is a brain training mobile application designed to enhance the memory and concentration among seniors. It was developed with human centric design concept and inputs provided by experts of Ramathibodi Hospital and a dementia day care center of Prasat Neurological Institute. The app consists of games making use of pictures and icons - simple for seniors to navigate.
Realizing that nanotechnology has potential to up the value of traditional textiles by providing unique and new properties and functionalities to the textiles, NANOTEC-NSTDA established a pilot plant for transferring nanotextile technology. The pilot plant offers textile nanofinishing services based on NANOTEC’s advanced R&D in developing coating and finishing processes. At present, five finishes are available:
As the COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, efforts have been made to suppress the spread of the disease. NSTDA has introduced two mobile applications – DDC-Care and Traffy Fondue - that support the government and society to cope with this crisis in Thailand. Both apps were developed by research teams at NECTEC and Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Center.
Situated in Thailand’s southernmost province of Narathiwat, Bala Hala Wildlife Sanctuary hosts as many as 10 hornbill species out of 13 species found in Thailand, including rare species like helmeted hornbill, wrinkled hornbill and white-crowned hornbill. Despite living in this rich habitat, these birds are facing housing crisis.
Scientists from BIOTEC-NSTDA and the University of Kent embarked on a joint research to develop novel microalgal-based systems for shrimp disease control in Southeast Asia. The project is funded by the Royal Society through the International Collaboration Awards 2019. Led by Prof. Colin Robinson of the University of Kent and Thai collaborator Dr. Vanvimon Saksmerprome of BIOTEC Fish and Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Team, this project will aid shrimp farmers in managing White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and Yellow Head Virus (YHV), two shrimp viral diseases prevalent in this region.
NSTDA and Chulalongkorn University recently introduced a UV sterilization robot called “Germ Saber Robot”. Germ Saber Robot was co-developed by the National Security and Dual-Use Technology Center (NSD) of NSTDA and the Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering of Chulalongkorn University. The robot utilizes powerful UVC rays to kill germs present in the air and on object surfaces and is navigated via a remote control. It works effectively in disinfecting rooms and equipment that cannot be cleaned with chemical disinfectants or exposed to liquid cleaning agents. The sterilization takes 15-30 minutes, and people and animal must leave the scene as UV radiation causes damage to organic cells. Unlike chemical disinfectants, this type of disinfection does not leave chemical residues.
As COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, Dr. Suwit Mesinsee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), made an announcement on 13 March 2020 that his ministry, in collaboration with public and private sectors, has prepared action plans to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in the following aspects:
On 9 March 2020, NSTDA welcomed the visit of representatives from universities in the Rocky Mountains. The visit aimed to introduce overview of the universities and to explore the possibilities of collaboration.
On 10 March 2020, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul and Chulalongkorn University President Prof. Dr. Bundhit Eua-arporn announced the collaboration on Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP). ITAP is NSTDA’s initiative to promote R&D and the adoption of advanced technologies to enhance the competitiveness of Thai SMEs. Assistance is provided in the forms of experts, R&D management and financial support.
On 11 March 2020, executives of MTEC-NSTDA, NSTDA and CP All gathered to mark the collaboration on innovative food packaging that offers safety to consumers and friendliness to the environment. Executives in attendance included Mr. Wisade Wisidwinyoo, Member of CPRAM Executive Committee, Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul, MTEC Executive Director and Ms. Suwipa Wanasathop, NSTDA Vice President.
To develop the capacities of young people to become innovators, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) introduced Fabrication Lab Project in 2019. The project sets up laboratories fully equipped with engineering and measuring tools and instruments in schools nationwide and develops activities for students and teachers to acquire creativity and skills in design, research and engineering through the creation of innovations in the fabrication labs. A mentorship program has also been established to have universities located nearby to provide guidance to students and teachers.
NSTDA and Maejo University recently reached an agreement to strengthen collaboration on R&D, education, and technology outreach of smart farming technologies, aiming to enhance competitiveness of Thai farming sector. Under this partnership, the two parties will promote smart farming technologies to farmers through technology testing and demonstration at the agricultural facilities of Maejo University.
NSTDA and PPT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) signed an MOU to signify collaboration on the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) and R&D to support industry 4.0. The MOU signing ceremony was held on 21 February 2020 at Thailand Science Park, in the presence of Mr. Phongsthorn Thavisin, PTTEP President and Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President.
A press conference announcing Space Flying Robot Programming Challenge 2020 was held on 24 February 2020. Space Flying Robot Programming Challenge is a robot contest, aiming to find the best team to represent Thailand in the international competition.
On 20 February 2020, a press conference was held announcing the first autonomous vehicle driving test in Thailand. The 8-month demonstration has been carried out at SIRI VENTURES Private PropTech Sandbox located at T77 Community since the last quarter of 2019 and will complete by June 2020.
Glutinous rice is a staple food in northern and northeastern Thailand. Its cultivation in these regions is faced with several problems, including stem breakage caused by strong wind, extreme environmental conditions such as flood and drought, as well as diseases such as blast and bacterial blight.
Whey protein has gained increasing popularity in Thailand over the past years. This surge is driven by rising health consciousness among consumers. Whey protein is heat sensitive. Because of its low capacity to withstand processing in higher temperature, whey protein is commercially available in the forms of powder or cold beverage, which are not convenient to consumers as the former needs further preparation and the latter only has a short shelf life of 1-2 weeks and requires refrigeration. This market gap has prompted Tawan Bott & Can Company and BIOTEC-NSTDA to co-develop ready-to-drink whey protein with a longer shelf life and can be stored at room temperature, catering to the modern lifestyle of today’s consumers.
NSTDA, Chulalongkorn University and the Defence Science and Technology Department launched a collaboration on battery research. Under this partnership, a Center of Excellence for Battery Innovation will be established to focus on developing battery innovations that can be manufactured domestically for national security.
The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) held a 2020 NRCT Award presentation ceremony on 2 February 2020, during the opening of Thailand Inventors’ Day. A number of NSTDA researchers were among recipients of NRCT Invention Awards and NRCT Dissertation Awards.
The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the British Embassy, the British Council, and L’Oréal hosted Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, one of the UK’s most distinguished scientists, for a special talk on 30 January 2020 at Compass Skyview Hotel in Bangkok.
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.
Asphalt concrete is a composite material commonly used for constructing and maintaining roads, parking areas, airport runways, sidewalks and sport areas. Despites its high flexibility and durability especially under Thailand’s tropical climate, asphalt’s usage in Thailand is still limited to expansive area because heavy equipment and expertise are required. Although ready-mixed asphalt is now widely available in the market for patching, pothole and repair, this product still requires compaction and time for the material to settle and odor to dissipate.
NSTDA concluded an MoU with Thai Airways (THAI) and its subsidiary, Thai Smile Airways (THAI Smile), on food waste management in supporting the “Save Food, Save the World” campaign. The MoU signing ceremony was presided over by Mr. Saksayam Chidchob, Transport Minister and Mr. Varawut Silpa-archa, Natural Resources and Environment Minister, and attended by Mr. Sumeth Damrongchaitham, THAI President, Mrs. Charita Leelayudth, THAI Smile Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President, and Air Chief Marshal Chaiyapruk Didyasarin, THAI Chairman.
“Hatakaab” is a famous brand in Thailand for over 80 years, well known for its Takaab traditional anti-cough pill. The company and BIOTEC-NSTDA have developed a new product, an anti-cough mouth spray, to be launched in the first quarter of 2020.
Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Company Limited, in collaboration with NSTDA, Ministry of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation (MHESI) and partner organizations in public and private sectors, organized “Maker Faire Bangkok 2020: THE FUTURE WE MAKE” on 18-19 January 2020 at The Street Ratchada in Bangkok. Maker Faire Bangkok 2020, the largest gathering of makers in Southeast Asia, featured demonstrations, workshops and on-stage talks, as well as inventions from local and international makers on display across 60 booths. Fun activities included AI car racing, HEBOCON robot contest and the much-anticipated electric parade show.
The second Saturday of January is marked as the National Children’s Day in Thailand. This year, NSTDA organized Children’s Day activities at three locations - Sirindhorn Science Home in Pathum Thani, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) in Bangkok and the Parliament.
NSTDA and King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB) signed an MOU to collaborate on research and manpower development. The MOU signing ceremony was participated by Prof. Dr. Suchart Siengchin, KMUTNB President and Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President.
NSTDA recently launched Total Innovation Management Enterprise or TIME. TIME is a new manpower development program aiming at developing highly skilled workforce to support tech industry which is considered new engines of growth. This program is built upon the successful pilot Work-integrated Learning (WiL) program previously implemented by the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO), in which industry working experience was incorporated into the vocational education curriculum.
On 20 December 2019, NSTDA held a press conference announcing its Research Highlights 2019 and Research Outlook 2020. Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President, presented the following examples of projects and innovations that have made social and economic impact in 2019:
Awardees to the NSTDA Research Chair Grant 2019 were announced at a ceremony, presided by Prof. Dr. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Former Deputy Prime Minister and currently Advisor to NSTDA President, held on 19 December 2019. Three university professors whose projects range from the development of novel therapeutic interventions, to sustainable construction and innovative road design, were among the recipients to this year’s prestigious awards. According to Prof. Dr. Prasit Palittapongarnpim, NSTDA Executive Vice President and secretary of the NSTDA Research Chair Grant Selection Committee, a total of 20 research proposals were received this year.
As a staunch supporter of STEM education, NSTDA was invited to share its experience at the International Dialogue on STEM EDUCATION 2019 (IDos 2019) held from 5-6 December 2019 in Berlin, Germany. IDos 2019 brought together over 100 educators from 5 continents to discuss the key question of this year’s conference which is “How do we empower children through STEM education to contribute to creating sustainable societies?"
NSTDA and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote technology and innovation development. The MOU was among six agreements between Thailand and Hong Kong concluded on 29 November 2019. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, introduced KidBright AIBot, ASEAN’s first AI teaching robot, to the public at KidBright Developer Conference 2019 held on 27 November 2019 in Bangkok. Developed by NECTEC-NSTDA, KidBright AIBot is designed to teach block coding and programming to students, important skills for artificial intelligence technology.
On 16 November 2019, NSTDA and the Embassy of Japan in Thailand hosted an orientation for 16 gifted students in science selected to participate in a study tour in Japan under JENESYS 2019. The study tour to take place from 25 November – 3 December 2019 will consist of visits to several organizations – research/academic institutes, leading Japanese companies, and museums – located in Tokyo and Niigata Prefecture to enrich understanding in Japanese science, technology and culture.
NSTDA’s Career for the Future Academy in collaboration with partner organizations – the Department of Industrial Promotion, Kasetsart University, and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - organized a capacity building program for participants of GEF-UNIDO Cleantech Programme for SMEs in Thailand on 11-15 November 2019 in Bangkok. The week-long event gathered over 100 mentors and alumni from year 2017-2019 for Mentor Training Workshop and National Academy. The activity was conducted by Mr. Kevin Braithwaite, Vice President of Network for Global Innovation (NGIN) and Ms. Chloe Soroquere, Senior Trainer for GCIP.
Dr. Akkharawit Kanjana-Opas, NSTDA Vice President and CEO of Food Innopolis, joined executives of partner organizations at the launch of MUSC-WTE-GERSTEL: Food Innopolis Learning Center of Flavor and Aroma on 16 November 2019. Executives from partner organizations included Assoc. Prof. Sittiwat Lertsiri, Dean of Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Mr. Sonti Dumrongsilp, Managing Director of World Tech Enterprise Limited and Ms. Tan Surakanpinit, Regional Sales Manager Southeast Asiaof GERSTEL.
MTEC-NSTDA, the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBiA) and partner companies held a press conference on 13 November 2019 introducing biodegradable plastic bags for food waste, an innovation co-developed by MTEC-NSTDA and SMS Corporation. This biodegradable garbage bag will make its debut at the Annual Red Cross Fair 2019 to be held during 15 – 24 November 2019, at Lumpini Park, Bangkok.
NSTDA and Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC) embarked on a partnership to develop high-caliber scientific graduates in the strategic fields for the national development. The agreement signing ceremony was held at VISTEC with Prof. Dr. Jumras Limtrakul, VISTEC President and Dr. Chadamas Thuvasethakul, NSTDA Vice President for Manpower Development. Honorable guests witnessing the agreement signing include H.E. Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Dr. Pailin Chuchottaworn, VISTEC Council Chairman and Mr. Krairit Euchukanonchai, PTT Board Chairman.
On 6 November 2019, Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President in his capacity as the member of the Governing Board attended the 2nd Governing Board Meeting of the Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO). ANSO was founded in 2018 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and 36 other international science and education institutions from around the world, including NSTDA with an aim to promote shared development, sustainable development and the advancement of the UN SDGs through catalyzing and implementing concrete international cooperation initiatives in Science, Technology & Innovation and Capacity Building (STIC).
NSTDA and the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) marked a significant milestone of their collaboration with a conclusion of a Joint Program Framework Agreement officiated on 1 November 2019 at NARLabs in Taiwan. Representing the two organizations in this auspicious occasion were Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Prof. Yeong-Her Wang, NARLabs President.
On Thursday October 31st, 2019, Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, President of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) along with the executives and research team attended the collaborative meeting and signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NSTDA and Whetron Electronics Co., Ltd. Whetron is the tier one automotive parts company, with its clients from major automotive industry around the world.
Cassava mosaic disease caused by Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus (SLCMV) was recently reported in Thailand. Severe outbreak of mosaic disease can potentially destroy as much as 80-100% cassava production in Thailand.
MTEC-NSTDA, recently unveiled Magik Growth, a plant grow bag made from spunbond nonwoven fabric. The technology was developed by Dr. Natthaphop Suwannamek and team from Advanced Polymer Technology Research Group. Due to the nature of fabric, this innovative grow bag offers far better aeration and water drainage in comparison to a conventional plastic grow bag, and therefore resulting a healthier plant. Magik Growth is ideal for plants that can be harvested within 30 days to 1 year such as melon, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, chili, pumpkin, and greenhouse plants. It is also an eco-friendly product owing to its reusability.
Ms. Suwipa Wanasathop, NSTDA Vice President for Thailand Science Park, was recently elected to serve as the President of Asia Pacific Division of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP). She took over the role from outgoing president, Mr. Haofeng Lai who is General Manager of Shanghai Caohejing Hi-tech Park Innovation Center. Over the next two years of her term, Ms. Suwipa intends to promote collaboration among science parks and areas of innovation in the Asia-Pacific region and reinforce partnerships between science parks in the Asia-Pacific and those in other regions to stimulate global innovation and investment.
A student team from Princess Chulabhorn Science High School Phitsanulok earned three awards at Korea Science & Engineering Fair 2019 (KSEF 2019) held between 17-22 October 2019 in Daejon, Korea. Making up the team are Mr. Piyawat Kaewyom, Mr. Pasin Amwong and Mr. Wichayut Koedchai, with Ms. Natpatsorn Laonetr and Ms. Duangjai Promma serving as team advisors.
NSTDA research team responsible for developing DentiiScan 2.0, the first Thai-made cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) dental scanner, was presented with Outstanding Technologist Award 2019 by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. The team of nineteen researchers was spearheaded by Prof. Pairash Thajchayapong, former NSTDA President and currently serving as Senior Advisor to NSTDA President, with two key team leaders – Dr. Saowapak Thongvigitmanee leading software development and Dr. Kritkrai Sitthisereepratheep in charge of hardware development.
Raptors are predators at the top of the food chain and therefore their presence serves as a barometer of ecological health. Several raptor species are, however, being threatened by habitat loss. Study of their habitats during breeding and wintering seasons, as well as migration path and stopover sites provides a useful insight for raptors’ conservation.
Dr. Udom Sae-Ueng, Researcher from BIOTEC-NSTDA, was crowned the winner of Falling Walls Lab Thailand 2019 – a science communication contest organized by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and partners – on 8 September 2019. He impressed the jury with his presentation on “Breaking the Wall of Pathogenic Bacteria”. As the winner of Falling Walls Lab Thailand, Udom will compete in the global Lab Finale and attend the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin in November 2019, as well as receive the EURAXESS prize to visit a research lab or university of his or her choice in Europe.
Delegates of Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHSRI), led by Minister Suvit Maesincee, attended STS forum 2019 held from 6 to 8 October 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. The mission provided opportunities to share the S&T progress in Thailand and discuss potential collaboration with other countries.
NSTDA and the Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand (D.P.O) signed a research collaboration agreement to apply innovations in nanotechnology to create value to Thai dairy industry. The agreement was officiated on 4 October 2019 at Thailand Science Park by Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Dr. Narongrit Wongsuwan, D.P.O. Director.
On 26 September 2019, NSTDA, local administration offices, the Land Development Department and Betagro Group signed an MOU to collaborate on “Smart Tambon Model” project. Smart Tambon Model aims to employ science, technology and innovation (STI) to support the development of local communities. The project will be piloted in seven sub-districts (Tambon in Thai) located in five provinces, namely Chong Mek (Ubon Ratchathani Province), San (Nan Province), Chai Sathan (Nan Province), Khao Din Phatthana (Saraburi Province), Huai Bong (Saraburi Province), Kham Pha-ung (Roi Et Province) and Chum Kho (Chumphon Province)
NSTDA President, Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, along with executives of Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, participated in the 7th Forum on China-ASEAN Technology Transfer and Collaborative Innovation which was held under the auspices of the 16th China-ASEAN Expo held in Nanning, China. China-ASEAN Expo China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) is an annual event, aiming at fostering relationships and promoting the cooperation between countries in ASEAN and China in various fields.
NSTDA and the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 5 September 2019. The MOU aims to support higher utilization of bioenergy, human resource capacity development, and the work towards the establishment of an ASEAN Bioenergy Research and Development (R&D) network Centre in the region. The MOU signing ceremony, officiated by Dr. Aree Thanaboonsombut, Deputy Executive Director of MTEC-NSTDA and Dr. Nuki Agya Utama Executive Director of ACE, was part of the 37th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) and Related Meetings in Bangkok between 2-6 September 2019, with the theme of "Advancing Energy Transition through Partnership and Innovation".
On 9 September 2019, an MOU signing ceremony was held between Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and Ministry of Interior (MOI) to employ information technology to enhance city management and services offered to its people, paving way to become smart city. Representing the two ministries at the signing ceremony were Mr. Pathom Sawanpanyalert, MHESI Deputy Permanent Secretary and Mr. Boontham Lertsukekasem, MOI Deputy Permanent Secretary.
NSTDA organized Thailand Tech Show 2019 on 5-6 September 2019 at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World. The fair was opened on 5 September by Dr. Atchara Wongsaengchan, Deputy Permanent-Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation. Thailand Tech Show is an annual event aimed at showcasing inventions developed and services offered by Thai academic and research institutes to potential investors, tech entrepreneurs and industry. The event featured seminar, technology pitching, displays of 234 innovations from 41 Thai academic and research institutes as well as companies covering various technologies, ranging from medical science, to agriculture, aquaculture, machinery, cosmeceutical, food and beverage, electronics and educational media.
NSTDA, Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) and Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) – three Thai member organizations of e-Asia Joint Research Program (JRP) – co-hosted the 8th Annual e-Asia JRP Board Meeting on 5-6 September 2019 at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, Thailand. e-Asia JRP provides fund to support international joint research projects in the East Asian Region on the multilateral basis as well as promotes researchers’ interaction through workshops. The meeting was attended by the Board Members and representatives from fourteen member organizations from ten countries and members of the Scientific Advisory Committee. The Board discussed management matters, approved proposals received from the 8th Call for Proposals and made decision on the framework of the 9th Call for Proposals.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in collaboration with EUAXESS ASEAN, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) and NSTDA, organized the Falling Walls Lab Thailand 2019, a contest which provides a great opportunity to Thai students, researchers and entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas, research projects and social initiatives and learn how to communicate effectively. The winner will compete in the global Lab Finale and attend the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin in November 2019, as well as receive the EURAXESS prize to visit a research lab or university of his or her choice in Europe.
NSTDA welcomed the visit of local representatives from the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and Embassy of France in Thailand to its headquarters at Thailand Science Park on 28 August 2019. The visit aimed at introducing latest development in research initiatives of CIRAD and IRD and funding opportunities for Thai-Franco collaboration to NSTDA researchers in order to foster collaboration between and among research institutes of the two countries.
NSTDA, in collaboration with the Science Park Promotion Agency, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, organized ASEAN Science Park Management Conference 2019 on 28-30 August 2019. Held at Thailand Science Park - the first park dedicated to research and innovation in Thailand, the conference aimed at promoting sustainable growth of science parks and facilitating the networking among science parks both in Thailand and overseas to enhance their capabilities and services. The conference was attended by approximately 100 participants representing science parks, academia, enterprises, and business accelerating organizations from Thailand, ASEAN member countries and beyond.
NSTDA and Mahidol University entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to develop a master plan for the development of medical device industry in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi). The MOU was officiated by Dr. Janekrishna Kanatharana, NSTDA Executive Vice President and Prof. Banchong Mahaisavariya, Acting President of Mahidol University.
NSTDA organized science camp for students to learn about agricultural innovation. Over 100 junior high school students from three schools in Pathum Thani area participated in the activity which was held at Sirindhorn Science Home located at Thailand Science Park.
The activity introduced students to science behind plant factory, a new research facility at NSTDA. Students learned about light, the effect of light spectrum on plant growth and how to conduct scientific experiment on plant growth from researchers and participated in fun activities such as building a plant factory, making a simple LED circuit for plant factory and growing microgreen. Students can apply the knowledge and skills learned from this science camp to their future science projects.
NSTDA and the Agricultural Research Development Agency (ARDA) signed an MOU to collaborate on the development of Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) – a new innovation zone designed to serve as Thailand’s new growth hub. The MOU signing ceremony was held on 20 August 2019 with the presence of Dr. Suwit Chaikiattiyos, ARDA Executive Director and Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President.