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.

ASEAN Innovation Roadmap & Bioeconomy Forum was held in conjunction with the third edition of Global Bioeconomy Summit (GBS2020) in which Thailand was invited to co-organize and represent the ASEAN region. GBS2020 was previously scheduled to be held in Germany. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GBS2020 adopted a virtual format with live-streaming discussions and activities from Germany along with live-streaming activities from co-organizing countries to audiences from all over the world.

The bioeconomy forum covered various aspects of bioeconomy in ASEAN, namely Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) Economy Model, business and investment opportunities of ASEAN bioeconomy, national bioeconomy policies of countries in ASEAN, ASEAN & its global bioeconomy collaboration, sustainable consumption & production in ASEAN, and ecosystems & biodiversity utilization in ASEAN. In addition, NSTDA co-organized two GBS2020 workshops on sustainable consumption and bioeconomy & ecosystems, as well as three separate sessions each dedicated to ASEAN bioeconomy initiatives and collaborations with Japan, China, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

The forum on innovation presented information on the ASEAN Innovation Roadmap 2019-2025 which was initiated and formulated during Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019 as well as discussions with experts from ASEAN member countries and ASEAN dialogue partners on current and future initiatives. Highlights on some active ASEAN networks such as ASEAN High Performance Computing (HPC) Shared Infrastructure, ASEAN Large Nuclear and Synchrotron Network (LNSN), ASEAN Hydroinformatics Data Centre (AHC) and ASEAN Young Scientist Network (AYSN) were also presented.

The opening session of ASEAN Innovation Roadmap & Bioeconomy Forum was officiated with the virtual participation of Prof. Joachim von Braun, Member of GBS International Advisory Council and MHESI Minister Anek Laothamatas who also delivered an address titled “Insights from 10 Years of Bioeconomy Strategy Development & Transition Management”. In a separate plenary session, H.E. Georg Schmidt, Ambassador of Germany to Thailand gave a special address on “German Policy Strategy on Bioeconomy”.

A number of Thai experts were invited to speak in the GBS2020 plenary program, including Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai giving a political address whereas Prof. Morakot Tanticharoen, Advisor to NSTDA President, Dr. Kitipong Promwong, NXPO President and Prof. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Advisor to NSTDA President taking part in debate panels.