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News Year 2019

NSTDA welcomed the delegation of Forschungszentrum Jülich (Jülich) led by Prof. Dr. Harald Bolt, Member of the Board of Directors, on 18-19 July 2019 for a framework agreement signing and the 1st annual workshop. The Framework agreement concerns an establishment of a joint laboratory on bioeconomy which will consist of collaborative projects in research, technology demonstration and capacity building, with the focus on the following themes:

  • Precision, smart and digital agriculture
  • Phenotyping platform and automation development
  • Enabling technology development
  • Value added products and a sustainable bioeconomy

The collaboration will be fostered and facilitated through an annual workshop and ambassadorship program.

NSTDA and Jülich have carried out CASSAVASTORe project -- studying storage root development for the breeding of new cassava varieties -- and SAPPHIRE project -- involving smartphone-based applications for acquisition of plant phenology and plant tissue-specific data. The new agreement will build upon the success of these two projects and explore addition projects by engaging more research teams from both sides.

In addition to the agreement signing function, the two-day program also consisted of the 1st annual workshop in which researchers from NSTDA and Jülich presented their research work and ideas for potential collaboration and a meeting of executives to frame the mechanism of collaboration.

NSTDA and the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (OSMEP) proudly hosted Technology Investment Conference 2019: Smart Ageing on 18 July 2019 at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bangkok. The conference aimed at promoting the development of technology solutions and the growth of businesses that could serve the needs of the elderly. The event attracted over 200 local and international participants, mainly stakeholders of the silver economy, including angel investors, venture capitals, corporates, universities technology transfer, and researchers.  

Highlights of the conference included talks given by CEOs and experts from world-renowned organizations such as the Global Coalition on Aging, World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF), HexGn, Amazon Web Service, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and Frost & Sullivan (APAC), as well as exhibitions showcasing smart solutions for the seniors from  local and international innovators and startups.

As part of the conference, a signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding was held among three parties comprising NSTDA, OSMEP and the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF). The MOU aims to enhance capacity of angel investors in Thailand and neighboring countries and link them to angel investors from all over the world through WBAF.

NSTDA, the Institut Pasteur and EURAXESS ASEAN co-organized Training Workshop on How to Prepare a Successful Proposal for the Marie Curie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) on 8-9 July 2019 in Bangkok. A comprehensive and interactive workshop covered all aspects of effective proposal preparation for MSCA -- from proposal structure to defining the impact, evaluation financial aspects and proposal submission process -- with a focus on the MSCA Individual Fellowships and the MSCA Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Programme (RISE). It is designed for researchers planning to submit a proposal for the current MSCA IF call with a deadline of 12 September, and the next MSCA RISE call which opens on 5 December 2019.  The workshop was attended by 30 ASEAN researchers selected from an open call for applications.

Mrs. Francesca Gilli, Attaché, the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand, delivered welcome remarks to participants and trainers. The workshop was conducted by two European experts with vast experience in providing professional support to researchers to develop proposals and manage projects funded by the European Commission (EC) -- Ms. Maëlle Pichard and Dr. Vania Rosas who are an officer and a collaborator of the Institut Pasteur Grants Office, respectively.

Advancement in science and technology can offer innovative solutions to the elderly and people with disability. MTEC-NSTDA has successfully developed a prototype of wheelchair motorized attachment called M2E 1.1. The equipment --  consisting of a power supply unit, a motor unit and a control unit --  is able to convert a manual wheelchair into an electric wheelchair at the cost of 7000 baht, making an electric wheelchair much more affordable. This motorized attachment has passed industry safety testing performed by the Electrical and Electronic Products Testing Center (PTEC).

To make this solution assessible to the public, MTEC-NSTDA has established a program with technical colleges to transfer the technology so that these technical colleges can assemble and install the equipment to a manual wheelchair and provide maintenance service to target users in their respective area. The collaboration has already been set up with Chonburi Technical College and Thai-Austrian Technical College, Sattahip. Twenty units of wheelchair motorized attachment have been manufactured and distributed to target users through these two technical colleges.  MTEC-NSTDA is planning to expand the collaboration to other technical colleges throughout the country to bring this innovation to users nationwide.

Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), in collaboration with Ministry of Education, organized the Conference on the Ethics of Science & Technology and Sustainable Development on 5-6 July 2019 the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao in Bangkok.  The Conference provides an open forum for the exchange of idea and information on the ethics of science and technology and its implications to sustainable development and to create public awareness on the issue. The meeting also presents an opportunity for networking and future collaboration among participants and observers.

On this occasion, NSTDA organized a session on “Ethical and Societal Challenges toward Genome Technology” with two invited world-renowned experts -- Prof. Carlos María Romeo Casabona, Professor of Criminal Law and Director of the Interuniversity Chair of Law and Human Genome at the University of the Basque Country (Spain) and Prof. Jonathan D. Moreno, Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) -- sharing their views and experiences on the issues.  The two experts were joined by Dr. Surakameth Mahasirimongkol of Department of Medical Sciences and Dr. Prasit Phowthongkum of Chulalongkorn University who reported on policy research and guideline development for genetic testing in Thailand and ethics and regulation of genome technology and the challenge to establish norm in developing countries, respectively. The four experts then participated in a panel discussion on “Ethical and Legal Management of Genome Technology in the Global Context”.

The Conference on the Ethics of Science & Technology and Sustainable Development is part of a week-long event held from 2-7 July 2019, led by the 26th (Ordinary) Session of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the 11th (Ordinary) Session of the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) which the Thai Government had an honor to host.

European Research Day 2019 was held on 1 July 2019 in Bangkok. The event introduced researchers in Thailand to researcher mobility programs and research collaboration opportunities with European countries, as well as a chance to learn first-hand from researchers who have successfully obtained grants and fellowships. The event was opened by H.E. Mr. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of Delegation of the European Union to Thailand and Dr. Lily Eurwilaichitr, NSTDA Vice President.

Research collaboration funding programs and mobility programs introduced to at the event are:

  1. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020 (EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation)
  2. Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Research and Innovation
  3. EURAXESS, an EU-funded program supporting researcher mobility and career development
  4. Research funding opportunities in European countries: the UK (Newton Fund), France, Germany and Spain

 The program also includes advice from experts on proposal preparation and project management such as how to find partners, how to advance research career, and how to successfully manage research projects.

 The event was attended by 170 participants comprising PhD candidates, post-doctoral researchers, researchers from academic and research organizations in Thailand. European Research Day 2019 was co-organized by NSTDA, EURAXESS ASEAN, Mahidol University and supported by the SAFE-Aqua Project, Institut Pasteur, the EU Delegation to Thailand, the Marie Curie Alumni Association Southeast Asia Chapter, the British Embassy, the French Embassy, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

NSTDA, the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and SIRIM Berhad (SIRIM) organized an MOU signing ceremony on 2 July 2019 at Thailand Science Park. The three organizations share common interest in innovation development and standard enhancement for industry.

Representing MIGHT and SIRIM at the event were Tan Sri Dr. Ir. Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, Chairman of MIGHT and SIRIM, Datuk Dr. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, MIGHT President and CEO, and Prof. Ir. Dr. Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani, SIRIM President and Group Chief Executive. Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Prof. Prasit Palittapongarnpim, NSTDA Vice President for Research were present at the signing.   

The cooperation between NSTDA and MIGHT will focus on entrepreneurship exchange and development, technology transfer and industry development, sustainable development and cities, solar industry and testing; whereas the collaboration between NSTDA and SIRIM will concentrate on industrial research, standard testing, provision of services as well as commercialization. The partnership between three parties will also help facilitate research and trade cooperation between companies in Malaysia and Thailand.

On this occasion, a discussion session was held between senior managements of MIGHT, SIRIM and NSTDA. NSTDA supports Thai industry through various schemes offered by the Technology Management Center (TMC-NSTDA), and standard testing and certification through a number of testing labs/centers. The delegation had an opportunity to tour Thailand Science Park facility and visit Electrical and Electronic Products Testing Center (PTEC).

NSTDA and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports established a collaboration to apply science, technology and innovation to support and promote sustainable tourism. The MOU was executed on 17 June 2019 by Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Mr. Chote Trachoo, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Under this collaboration, NSTDA will prepare the Tourism Satellite Account-System of Environmental Economic Accounting (TSA-SEEA) for key tourism clusters. TSA-SEEA measures tourism economic and environmental impacts in a national economy and is one of the key indicators of sustainable tourism. NSTDA will also develop a national guideline on tourism carrying capacity for three types of destinations: mountains, sea and cultural/historical sites. Certification and accreditation system for sustainable tourism standards will be established, especially with regard to the requirements set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

The data acquired from decades of studies performed by NSTDA researchers, especially in the fields of biodiversity and environment, will greatly serve the work to be carried out under this partnership. The data will also be linked to the Tourism Intelligence Center (TIC) and Thailand Tourism Directory.

MTEC-NSTDA and partner universities – Chulalongkorn University, Prince of Songkla University, Chiang Mai University and Suranaree University of Technology – organized the final round of national robot design contest on 8 June 2019 at Pantip Plaza in Bangkok. This national robot design contest is part of the 12th Thailand Robot Design Camp (RDC2019), a program aiming for youths with special talents in robotics and automation to express and enhance their talents and creativity.

The finalists competing at the national contest were winners from three regional competitions held during April – June 2019 and hosted by key universities in respective regions – the north hosted by Chiang Mai University, the east and northeast by Suranaree University of Technology and the south by Prince of Songkla University. A total of 202 students from 37 universities participated in the nation-wide RDC2019, with 88 students from 32 universities making it to the national contest. Held under the theme Robot for a Greener Planet, finalists were asked to design solutions to the first mile-last mile challenge for public rail transport system.


 

The winner of RDC2019 will represent Thailand at the International Design Contest RoBoCon 2019 (IDC RoBoCon 2019) to be held from 29 July - 9 August 2019 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

About 1% of the world population, approximately 600-700 million people, suffers from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by consuming gluten. Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye which are basic ingredients in food products, especially baked products such as bread, pies and cakes. Common symptoms include bloating, excess gas, diarrhea, vomiting, migraines and numbness or in the hands and feet. Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is adherence to a gluten-free diet.

BIOTEC research team, led by Dr. Kuakoon Piyachomkwan and Dr. Sunee Chotineeranat, and Kasetsart University successfully developed the cassava flour manufacturing technology, a mechanized process of which bitter cassava containing high levels of toxic cyanide can be processed into high quality cassava flour with less than 10 ppm cyanide content. Since cassava contains no gluten, cassava flour is therefore an ideal substitute for wheat in baked products. The technology has been licensed to Chorchaiwat Industry, and the company became the first company in Thailand to manufacture and distribute gluten-free all-purpose flour under the tradename SAVA.

 

 To diversify the use of cassava flour, Dr. Chaiwut Gamonpilas, an MTEC researcher, employed knowledge in materials science to modify the viscoelasticity and rheology properties of cassava flour to make it suitable for bread baking. This new gluten-free bread flour is made from unbleached cassava flour and contains flaxseed, a good source of fiber.  It is a perfect product for people suffering from celiac disease or consumers prefering healthy food products.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the top health issue around the world, including Thailand, in terms of mortality and economic burden of diseases. NCDs such as heart and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the predominant killers in Thailand, accounting for 71.3% of all deaths in 2015. As a strategy to prevent NCDs and promote a healthy lifestyle among Thai people, NSTDA, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) launched a collaborative project to develop a health checkup kiosk and have the machine installed at BAAC branches for public easy access to a primary healthcare screening tool.

Tilapia is one of the most important fish in aquaculture in Thailand. Vaccination is part of the disease management program of tilapia farming. Among the vaccine administration options, immersion vaccination is by far more applicable to aquaculture compared to injection, as it can be applied to fish in mass rather than individual injection, thus saving time and labor for farmers and eliminating the use of antibiotics.

NSTDA and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE) agreed to collaboration on a project to integrate data from automatic weather stations to enhance agricultural land use efficiency. The MOU signing ceremony was held on 29 May 2019, with Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Mr. Sumran Sarabun, DOAE Director – General.

23 May 2019 - Bangkok, Thailand. The National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), a member of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) in collaboration with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) today announces the launch of ASEAN Microbial Database (AMiBase), a resourceful database that will accelerate scientific discoveries and innovations for the development of bioeconomy.  The press conference was held at the gathering of scientists for the International on Biodiversity (IBD2019) hosted by the Thai Government during 22-24 May 2019 at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World in Bangkok, Thailand.

NSTDA, NECTEC, the National Science Museum and the Science Society of Thailand under the Patronage of His Majesty the King led Thai students to showcase their science projects at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held during 12-17 May 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Thai students took home the following awards:

British Council Thailand, in collaboration with local and international partners, hosted the final round of FameLab Thailand Competition 2019 on 11 May 2019 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. FameLab Thailand is part of the global FameLab, science communication training programs and competitions, organized by the British Council. Co-organizers of this edition of FameLab Thailand include Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Office of the National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council, NSTDA, National Science Museum, THE STANDARD, Chulalongkorn University, True Corporation and EURAXESS.

NSTDA held a press conference on 19 April 2019 announcing the transfer of M-Bone, a hydroxyapatite bone graft substitute technology, to Oss Hydroxy Company Limited, a startup in Thailand specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of medical supplies and devices. The licensing agreement allows Oss Hydroxy to manufacture and commercialize M-Bone for a duration of 5 years.

NSTDA and Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, the State Oceanic Administration extended their cooperation on polar sciences. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the ceremony to celebrate the MOU extension and the opening of Sirindhorn China-Thailand Joint Laboratory on

Thailand automotive industry contributed 12% of the country’s GDP in 2016 and it is the largest in Southeast Asia. With this foundation, there is ample opportunity to move Thailand’s automotive industry up the ladder by enhancing R&D and manpower development in next generation automotive placing emphasis on energy-saving, eco-friendly and safety.

NSTDA recently officiated a brand-new Plant Factory Facility, aiming to employ cutting-edge technology to enhance the quality and productivity of herbal plants supplied to pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical and nutraceutical industry. NSTDA Plant Factory Facility utilizes the most advanced technologies sourced from Japan and was built with Prof. Toyoki Kozai, a world-leading expert in plant factory, on board as a project advisor.

NSTDA and the National Applied Research Laboratories of Taiwan or NARLabs have strengthen collaboration with a signing of a memorandum of understanding and an opening of NARLabs Bangkok Office at the Thailand Science Park.  The ceremony was held on 26 March 2019 with executives of both parties led by Prof. Yeong-Her Wang, NARLabs President and Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President.

The Business Incubation Center of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) brought five promising Taiwanese companies to attend NSTDA Annual Conference 2019 (NAC2019) held from 25-28 March 2019 to explore potential business collaboration with Thai academic and industry.  Leading the team of companies’ representatives was Dr. Jason Cheng, CEO of NTUST Business Incubation Center.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the opening ceremony of NSTDA Annual Conference 2019 (NAC2019) on 25 March 2019 at Thailand Science Park.  With the theme of “Moving Towards Thailand’s Future Economy with Science, Technology and Innovation”, NAC2019, held between 25-28 March,

MTEC-NSTDA and the Pollution Control Department (PCD) entered into an MOU to perform life cycle assessment on eco-friendly products and services. The signing ceremony was held on 11 March 2019 between MTEC Executive Director, Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul and PCD Director General, Mr. Pralong Dumrongthai. This landmark collaboration will reinforce Thailand’s commitment to the green public procurement (GPP).

On 18 March 2019, Acting Science Minister Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj announced the success of Food Innopolis and chaired the ceremony to hand over the management of Food Innopolis from the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI Office) to NSTDA.

On 11 March 2019, NSTDA hosted an orientation for 87 students selected to participate in the 2019 NSTDA Summer Student Program. This is the second year NSTDA offers high-school students opportunities to participate in the research activities in four NSTDA research centers, namely NECTEC, BIOTEC, MTEC and NANOTEC. Students will

NSTDA held a groundbreaking ceremony of Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) at Wangchan Valley in Rayong Province on 27 February 2019. The auspicious occasion was participated by General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Prime Minister and members of the cabinet, setting off the construction of what would be a new innovation hub of Southeast Asia.

MTEC-NSTDA and Kasetsart University entered an MOU to collaborate on the on-road test of B10 biodiesel. The MOU was signed by Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul, MTEC Executive Director and Dr. Chongrak Wachrinrat, Acting President of Kasetsart University on 12 February 2019. This test is part of the collaborative project to promote the use of biodiesel in Thailand, executed by MTEC-NSTDA.

NSTDA and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi embark on a collaboration to strengthen graduate programs in science and technology in order to produce highly skilled workforce to supply to industry and drive the nation’s economy. Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President and Dr. Suvit Tia, KMUTT President, participated in the MOU signing ceremony along with executives from both parties on 18 February 2019.

NANOTEC-NSTDA led a team of Thai scientists and companies to showcase their work at nano tech 2019 (The 18th International Nanotechnology Exhibition and Conference) in Tokyo, Japan from 30 January – 1 February 2019. The event presented an excellent platform for Thai innovators to learn about global trend and

Traditional textiles from Thailand’s northern region are famous for their colorful and intricate pattern designs attributed to rich cultural influence from indigenous tribes and neighboring countries of Laos and Myanmar. Their unique production which involves weaving and dyeing techniques passed on from generation to generation also adds character to these charming textiles.

Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, in partnership with NSTDA and the Thailand Maker Community, organized “Maker Faire Bangkok 2019: WE ARE ALL MAKERS” on 19-20 January 2019 at The Street Ratchada in Bangkok. Maker Faire aimed to inspire youngsters and the general public to turn their creativity and ideas into real-life inventions and to help shape Thailand into a Maker Nation, driven by technology, creativity and innovation, to fulfill the Thailand 4.0 vision.

British Council recently announced the launch of FameLab Thailand 2019, the biggest science communication competition. Among Thai partner organizations delivering FameLab Thailand 2019 are NSTDA, National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office, National Science Museum, Ministry of Science and Technology, The Standard, True Corporation and Chulalongkorn University.

NSTDA and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to have DentiiScan, a 3D dental scanner, installed in hospitals under the management of BMA. The second generation DentiiScan will be installed at two BMA’s hospitals, as part of NSTDA’s Big Rock Project financed by the