TH | EN

News Year 2020

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.