(December 25, 2023) At the press conference room, 1st Floor, Phra Jomklao Building, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI): Professor Dr. Sukit Limpijumnong, President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) - an agency under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) along with a team of executives and researchers unveiled the NSTDA’s 2023 performance in driving BCG research to enhance the quality of life of Thai people towards sustainability. He also introduced the “11 BCG Implementation” policy for 2024, emphasizing NSTDA’s commitment to utilize science and technology to support various sectors in the national sustainable development mission, aligning with the Bio-Circular-Green economy (BCG) model.
Prof. Dr. Sukit Limpijumnong, President of NSTDA, said that the NSTDA’s 6.0 policy has set the vision for NSTDA to function as the national powerhouse in science, technology, and innovation (STI) to strengthen Thailand’s research and innovation ecosystem, aligning with the policy announced by Ms. Supamas Isarabhakdi, MHESI which is “Private sector leads, state supports.”
Under the 6.0 policy, NSTDA has mobilized personnel from its various departments to drive the NSTDA Core Business strategy, creating research power to serve society by becoming more proactive in making research and innovation more accessible and reducing bottlenecks in research. Through this strategy, impacts of our research become more evident in society, with positive feedbacks from millions of real users in various sectors.
Research to serve the society
In 2023, two of NSTDA platforms have been implemented by major government agencies, providing public services to Thai people.
1.Traffy Fondue. Traffy Fondue is a city problem management platform through citizen engagement. The platform allows citizens to report problems and service providers to monitor their resolution process via the LINE application (LINE@TraffyFondue). Over 500,000 complaints have been filed through Traffy Fondue. Nationwide usage data showed that people used the service to make complaints 24 hours a day, 45 percent during working hours and 55 percent outside of working hours. Complaints reached officers-in-charge 1.8 times faster (from 1.1 days to 0.6 days) and problems were resolved 4 times faster (from 16 days to 4 days). Currently, Traffy Fondue is implemented by as many as 11,808 agencies and used by 54,768 their staff members. The platform is used in 53 provinces nationwide, with 17 provinces having fully implemented Traffy Fondue in all their provincial agencies.
2. A-MED Digital Healthcare Platform. A-MED Digital Healthcare Platform was developed to address the country's public health service problems. A-MED Care Pharma allows people to access primary health services through pharmacies. The service platform was developed under a collaboration among NSTDA, the National Health Security Office (NHSO), the Pharmacy Council of Thailand and participating pharmacies, enabling universal healthcare cardholders with 16 common illnesses to pick up free medicines at nearby pharmacies.
This helps save travel time for service users and, importantly, can reduce the congestion in hospitals, easing the workload of doctors in examining patients. Over 1,600 pharmacies participate in the “A-MED Care Pharma” and over 1.1 million services have been provided.
In addition, NSTDA has two platforms that serve the industrial sectors. FoodSERP is a one-stop-service platform for food production and functional ingredient. The services encompass the development of production processes and innovation in the functional food, cosmetics, and functional ingredients, performance testing, product quality and safety analysis, as well as product registration. This platform has served 106 companies, community enterprises, and government agencies, enabling the creation of up to 18 commercial products.
The Industry 4.0 Platform offers digital transformation services for manufacturing industries. Its comprehensive services and activities support the upgrade of the industrial sector, helping Thai enterprises transition into the digital era. The platform aims to enhance production efficiency, reduce costs and waste, and minimize negative environmental impacts. This platform currently serves more than 100 factories. Additionally, the Board of Investment (BOI) has introduced measures supporting the Industry 4.0 transformation, using Thailand i4.0 Index as a benchmark for evaluation. Moreover, entrepreneurs can invest 100% of the investment amount, which can be deducted from corporate income tax over a period of three years. A 3-year corporate income tax exemption covering 100% of the investment made in Industry 4.0 upgrades is provided under this measure.
Throughout 2023, NSTDA’s research outputs have resulted in a socio-economic impact of THB 46 billion. This has also led to an STI investment of THB 15 billion. In addition, over 83,000 services have been provided in the forms of product testing and technology consultations.
In term of enhancing competitiveness for businesses and industries, NSTDA supports research and development as well as technology transfer to the private sector and industry, ultimately leading to actual commercial use.
For farmers and communities, the NSTDA has transferred technologies to 14,200 farmers across the country.
To develop and promote research personnel, NSTDA offers support to graduates and career researchers by granting scholarships, awarding a total of 713 scholarships. Activities and science camps have been organized to promote STI learning, benefiting a total of 10,264 students and educators.
2023 Research highlights in agriculture, energy, environment, and health
The press conference also featured exhibitions highlighting outstanding research work from five national centers. Among these displays are biocontrol products (developed by BIOTEC), which include pest control products, plant disease control products, and weed control products. The research team Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for integrated pest management for durian and yard long beans. These SOPs help farmers maintain and manage their agricultural plots while promoting the appropriate and effective use of biological products. SOPs are available in an e-book format on the online media channels of the research team and partners. Training workshops have been organized to introduce SOPs to farmers. A total of 150 farmers have attended these workshops.
The HandySense Smart Farm is a precision agriculture system developed by NECTEC. It utilizes sensor technology and an automatic control system to improve plantation management, reduce production costs, and increase the income of farmers by at least 20%. HandySense is an open-source technology and is demonstrated in 200 smart farm learning centers nationwide.
M Sense, developed by NANOTEC, is a test kit for measure the level of heavy metal contaminants in herbs and water. At present, three prototypes have been developed: manganese ions (Mn Sense), fluoride (F Sense), and copper (Cu Sense), for field use. The kit is highly sensitive and specific, easy to use, inexpensive, and can be applied in a variety of industries. The results can be determined qualitatively by comparing with a color chart and quantitatively using a portable device called the DuoEye Reader. The accuracy of the kit is consistent with standard laboratory methods, but it is less expensive compared to imported test kits.
“EnPAT” is a biobased non-flammable transformer oil made from oil palm developed by ENTEC. It helps prevent fires from electrical transformer explosions, ensuring public safety while opening up opportunities for the high-value oleochemical economy. “Rachel” is a bodysuit designed by MTEC to aid mobility for the elderly. It can be worn all day long, allowing seniors to move freely and reducing the risk of injury from daily activities. This development employed interdisciplinary knowledge in various fields, including materials science (muscle stimulation), biomechanics and anatomy (musculoskeletal movement), and fashion design (comfortable fit). The product is now advancing to commercial production by leading clothing manufacturers in Thailand.
In addition, NSTDA is also involved in driving the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy and Action Plan. Thailand’s Government AI Readiness Index ranking improved from 59th to 31st after the launch of the National AI Action Plan.
NSTDA is actively engaged in driving the BCG Model at the national level and pilot provinces. Over 600,000 individuals have been trained in BCG skills development program during 2021-2022. Increased proportion of BCG economy has been witnessed in pilot provinces such as Chanthaburi and Ratchaburi.
@2024 Goal, driving BCG research to enhance the quality of life of Thai people towards sustainability
In 2024, NSTDA remains committed to applying research knowledge and expertise to benefit the country and apply research results to various sectors in accordance with the policy set by MHESI Minister Ms. Supamas Issaraphakdi that emphasized application to benefit the public and private sectors. NSTDA aims to drive 11 BCG Implementation projects with the "1 reduction - 2 additions - 1 creation” strategy to improve the quality of life of Thai people.
“1 Reduction” means reducing social disparities. This issue is addressed in three research projects: 1) “Thung Kula Rong Hai” focuses on transferring technologies to farmers and low-income families in Thung Kula Rong Hai area to improve their agricultural products, 2) “Traffy Fondue” is a platform application for managing urban problems by connecting citizens with responsible agencies to increase the work efficiency of staff, and 3) “Accessibility Information and Communication Platform” provides senior persons and persons with disabilities with access to communication, information and digital services.
“2 Additions” means increasing Thai economic growth and improving self-reliance capacity. Two projects aim to boost the economic growth are: 1) “High-value herbal extracts from basil, black ginger, and centella” focuses on the development of an industrial production process for standardized extract to support the food and dietary supplements industry, and 2) “Functional food and functional ingredients production platform” aims to drive the growth of food industry, focusing on functional food, specialized food, and future food. The project will also enhance an ecosystem to promote functional ingredients industry and improve the competitiveness of the country's food and cosmeceutical industries.
Four research projects aims to support self-reliance are: 1) “Digital Healthcare” focuses on expanding the public health service platform to cover primary care and disbursement, emergency medical service, information and disease surveillance services, and remote sign language interpreter for medical purposes; 2) “Animal Vaccine” focuses on testing the efficacy of inactivated ASFV autogenous vaccines prototype and developing the ASFV vaccine production process for domestic production; 3) "Kidney Disease and Diabetes Test Kit" focuses on developing kidney disease and diabetes monitoring kits registered with the FDA and entered into the National Health Security Office (NHSO) system; and 4) “National AI Ecosystem” focuses on developing an ecosystem to encourage the development and application of artificial intelligence technology in the government and industrial sectors.
Lastly, “1 creation” means creating sustainability of nature and environment with two research projects: 1) developing indicators and database of CO2, CE, SDG, national life cycle assessment database, and indicators related to sustainable production and consumption and the circular economy; and 2) “Industry 4.0 Platform” focuses on enabling industries to increase production efficiency, reduce resource use, minimize waste, and transition to green manufacturing.