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Biotechnology: Does Thailand need a new plan?

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Biotech in 21st century will be what telecom was to 20th. Call for new plan to catch up with Singapore (224 billion baht) vs. Thailand (5 billion) 

biotech

Photo above of a worker at the Microbe Bank is at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the state biotechnology research arm, in Pathum Thani province. It is one of 525 micro-organism banks in the world and the largest in Southeast Asia.

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SCIENCE

Biotech fails to blossom

30/04/2012
Chatrudee Theparat

The government and private sector should pay more attention to biotechnology and use innovation to help drive the economy, experts say.

Unfortunately, the development of biotechnology in Thailand has been quite slow, with some blaming the government's vision

Charoonkiat Patharamontrisin, adviser to the Representative Standing Committee on Science and Technology, said that because Thailand is a tropical country, biotechnology should play a crucial role in 21st-century development.

But current policy provides meagre support, and even manufacturers and commercial banks appear reluctant to support biotechnology.

"Singapore achieved its target of 224 billion baht in income from biotechnology in 2010, while Thailand saw just 5 billion baht," he said at last week's seminar organised by the Science and Technology Ministry.

Many speakers at the seminar agreed that Thailand should set an intensive strategy to develop the biotechnology industry.

To take faster steps toward development, the country can form joint ventures with foreign companies to aid expansion.

Yuthasak Kanasawat, executive director for investment strategy and policy at the Board of Investment (BoI), said the industry would play a significant role in the the 21st century, similar to the role telecom occupied in the 20th.

The BoI began promoting biotechnology in 2007, providing an eight-year corporate tax exemption and waiving tariffs on imported machinery.

Mr Yuthasak said the agency widened the policy in 2010 to cover science and technology development, the creative industry and environmental preservation.

Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi acknowledged the need to improve Thailand's policies related to the bio-based economy, bio-refineries and the green industry.

He said the government has not set a clear direction for the biotech industry.

(Source: Bangkok Post, SCIENCE, Biotech fails to blossom, 30/04/2012, Chatrudee Theparat, link

 Biotechnology Development Vocabulary

biotechnology - the application of biology to develop commercial products (using genetics, microbiology, animal cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, cell biology) to produce elecctricity, drugs (pharmaceuticals), new agricultural crops, food products, gene therapy medical treatment  (See Wikipedia and definitions)
biotech - Short word for "biotechnology"
development - the gradual growth and formation of something
the development of biotechnology

bio-refinery -
a factory for producing electricity from natural animal or plant material, uses "biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, heat, and value-added chemicals from biomass. The biorefinery concept is analogous to today's petroleum refinery, which produce multiple fuels and products from petroleum" (See Wikipedia)

blossom -
1. to develop and become successful; 2. when a flower opens
biotech fails to blossom


micro-organism banks - a biological repository storing micro-organisms for future research, also called "microbe bank" (See list and article)
micro-organism -
a very small living thing that can only be seen with a microscope such as a bacteria, virus, fungi or protozoa (See Wikipedia)
biorepository -
a place to maintain examples of animals, plants or bacteria (biological specimens) and information about them for future use in research,  from animals, including humans, vertebrates, invertebrates, arthropods, and other life-forms (See Wikipedia)
repository - a place where large quantities of things are stored and kept safe คลัง, ที่เก็บ

the state biotechnology research arm
arm - a part of an organisation that deals with a particular subject or activity หน่วยงาน ส่วนหนึ่งของ
state - government รัฐ

The Microbe Bank is at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the state biotechnology research arm, in Pathum Thani province. It is one of 525 micro-organism banks in the world and the largest in Southeast Asia.

sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)
private sector - all the privately-owned businesses in the economy
pay attention to -
pay more attention to

innovation - a new way of doing something นวัตกรรม
drive - a planned effort to achieve something การผลักดัน,ความพยายาม
drive the economy - make the economy grow and development, improve

The government and private sector should pay more attention to biotechnology and use innovation to help drive the economy, experts say.

current - of the present time ปัจจุบัน
policy - a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
blame - say that someone or something is the problem (that caused failure and goals that were not achieved)
vision - the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way วิสัยทัศน์
government's vision

Unfortunately, the development of biotechnology in Thailand has been quite slow, with some blaming the government's vision

tropical - relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn ในเขตร้อน
tropical country - a very hot country near the equator
role - the purpose , function, or influence of someone or something in a particular situation บทบาท
play a role - have a purpose or function in a situation
play an important role - have an important purpose or function in a situation
crucial - extremely important because it effects the result of something สำคัญยิ่ง
play a crucial role  - have a very important purpose or function in a situation
significant - important สำคัญ
play a significant role - have an important purpose or function in a situation

century - a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
21st-century - the period of time from the year 2000 to 2100
21st-century development
play a crucial role in 21st-century development.
significant
play a significant role 
the industry would play a significant role in the the 21st century, similar to the role telecom occupied in the 20th

Charoonkiat Patharamontrisin, adviser to the Representative Standing Committee on Science and Technology, said that because Thailand is a tropical country, biotechnology should play a crucial role in 21st-century development.

current - now; happening now
current policy
meagre - very small amount จำนวนน้อยมาก
support - help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน
provides meagre support
commercial - for business purposes
commercial bank - a bank that makes loans to businesses and individuals and offers accounts paying interest to depositors (See Wikipedia)
reluctant - not very willing to do something and therefore slow to do it ไม่เต็มใจ ลังเลใจ

But current policy provides meagre support, and even manufacturers and commercial banks appear reluctant to support biotechnology.

target - a goal; the amount you are planning to achieve เป้าหมาย
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings

"Singapore achieved its target of 224 billion baht in income from biotechnology in 2010, while Thailand saw just 5 billion baht," he said at last week's seminar organised by the Science and Technology Ministry.

intensive - involving a lot of effort, energy, or attention
strategy - a plan to achieve long term goals ('strategy' gives the big picture, 'tactics' the details)
intensive strategy

Many speakers at the seminar agreed that Thailand should set an intensive strategy to develop the biotechnology industry.

joint
- done together; belonging to or shared between two or more people ร่วม, ที่ร่วมกัน; ความร่วมมือกัน
joint ventures - a company that is owned and operated by other companies
aid - help; give assistance ความช่วยเหลือ
expansion - when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
aid expansion - help grow bigger

To take faster steps toward development, the country can form joint ventures with foreign companies to aid expansion.

executive - the highest level managers in a company
executive director
investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate)
investment strategy - a long-term plan for making successful and profitable investments
telecom - telecommunications, dealing with telephones การโทรคมนาคม หมายถึง การสื่อสารทางไกลโดยใช้โทรศัพท์ เคเบิล โทรทัศน์ วิทยุและโทรเลข

Yuthasak Kanasawat, executive director for investment strategy and policy at the Board of Investment (BoI), said the industry would play a significant role in the the 21st century, similar to the role telecom occupied in the 20th.

corporation
(noun) - a company that exists apart from its owners (shareholders)
corporate
(adjective)  
exemption
- permission to not have to do something, such as making a payment, following a rule, etc. ข้อยกเว้น
corporate tax exemption -
when a corporation does not have to pay taxes
tariffs - taxes on imports (to make foreign goods less competitive in a country) พิกัดอัตราภาษีศุลกากร
waive - say you don't have to do something
waiving
tariffs - say you don't have to pay taxes on imports
creative - creating and developing new original ideas, especially in art or literature
the creative industry - industries with businesses that require creativity like design (fashion design, interior design, product design)
preservation - keeping something as it is, especially in order to prevent it from being damaged or destroyed การสงวน
environmental preservation - prevent the natural enironemnt (of animals, plants, forest, rivers, mountains) frm being destroyed by people and businesses
acknowledged - say that they know some bad thing is true (not easy to accept) 
improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
improve policies - make policies better
clear - easy to understand
a clear direction - it is easy to see where they are going
set a clear direction  - create a simple and easy to understand plan for the future
set a clear direction for the biotech industry - create a simple and easy to understand and do plan for the industry's future

The BoI began promoting biotechnology in 2007, providing an eight-year corporate tax exemption and waiving tariffs on imported machinery. Mr Yuthasak said the agency widened the policy in 2010 to cover science and technology development, the creative industry and environmental preservation.  Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi acknowledged the need to improve Thailand's policies related to the bio-based economy, bio-refineries and the green industry. He said the government has not set a clear direction for the biotech industry.

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