“NSTDA Meets the Press” event was held on 18 January 2023 for NSTDA President Prof. Dr. Sukit Limpijumnong to announce NSTDA 6.0 policy. Prof. Sukit took the helm of NSTDA in August of last year, becoming the 6th person to lead the premier scientific organization. He set a vision for NSTDA to “function as the national powerhouse in science, technology, and innovation (STI) for the government, private and public sectors to improve and strengthen research and innovation ecosystem that can eradicate major obstacles leading to a great leap in nation development”.
Established three decades ago as Thailand’s forefront S&T organization, NSTDA currently employs over 700 PhD scientists, the largest number in Thailand, specializing in 5 core technologies vital to the national STI development, namely bioscience and biotechnology, materials technology and engineering, electronics and information technology, nanoscience and nanotechnology, and energy technology. Against this backdrop, NSTDA has over the years devised operating tools and built essential scientific and quality infrastructures. Chief among the recent development is the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) designed to serve as an infrastructure for bringing research and innovations from lab to market and for social good by providing a world-class ecosystem for translational research and frontier science, leveraging the country’s technological capabilities and competitiveness.
New Vision Statement
Upon taking the office, Prof. Sukit revamped NSTDA vision statement to reflect its role and mission to navigate new challenges. The new vision positions NSTDA as a national STI powerhouse to leverage innovation capacity of the government, private and public sectors and to strengthen research and innovation ecosystem, enabling a leapfrog development.
Prof. Sukit stated that as a national research agency, NSTDA needs to devise an efficient process to promote innovative research and bring innovations to practice, resolving the country’s pressing issues faced by both the industry and the society. The key is to make innovations applicable and accessible. “If done correctly, Thailand’s research and innovation ecosystem will be strengthened, and all sectors in the society will be able to benefit from science, technology and innovation, resulting in sustainable economic growth for Thailand,” said Prof. Sukit.
NSTDA Core Business
For years, Thailand has been faced with difficulties to bring research and development to practice. To address this problem, Prof. Sukit introduced “NSTDA Core Business” - a new scheme that brings together skills and expertise from various departments within NSTDA to drive technology exploitation process by working closely with partner organizations, enabling research to make socio-economic impacts.
The first phase of NSTDA Core Business will focus on four innovations: a smart city application Traffy Fondue, Digital Healthcare Platform, a one-stop-service center for functional ingredient FoodSERP to serve the clientele in functional food and cosmeceutical industries, and Thailand i4.0 Platform to provide comprehensive digital transformation services to the manufacturing industry.
Traffy Fondue is an AI-powered municipality complaint reporting and management system. The system is now used by 8,544 government offices across 50 provinces. Among these provinces, eight including Nakhon Ratchsima, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Phayao, Lamphun, Prachinburi, Phuket and Phetchabun have fully adopted Traffy Fondue in all of their provincial offices. Over 260,000 complaint cases have been handled, enabling the 15-million-minutes time saving. Meanwhile, A-MED Telehealth Platform has been designed as a back-end system to empower healthcare professionals to expeditiously provide health services, including diagnosis, treatment and monitoring, to home isolation patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform is also linked directly to the national public health disbursement system. A-MED Telehealth has been implemented in 1,400 health facilities, supporting over 16,000 healthcare workers and serving over 1.36 million patients. At present, NSTDA is working with the National Health Security Office (NHSO), the Department of Medical Services and the Primary Healthcare Office on expanding the platform to include A-MED Home Ward offering home-based healthcare and collaborating with the Pharmacy Council of Thailand to introduce A-MED Care – a system that allows beneficiaries of the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) to get free medicines from local pharmacies for treating 16 common illnesses.
Prof. Sukit brought with him extensive experience gained from working in leading research institutes both in Thailand and overseas to empower NSTDA to lead Thailand into the new era and to enable speedy recovery from the impacts of the pandemic with science and technology.
“NSTDA is committed to delivering impactful research and innovation by consolidating its knowledge, resources and expertise to develop solutions to eminent problems. The agency aims to work with industry, academia and the people sector to improve the country’s competitiveness to achieve sustainable growth. In the initial stage, focus will be placed on working with enterprises and local bodies ready for collaboration, encouraging industry to make use of services and facilities offered by Thailand Science Park, and enticing enterprises to form partnership with EECi to co-create and bring innovative products and services to market,” Prof. Sukit concluded.