COMPREHENSIVE FOOD-TECH INCUBATION NETWORK
published : 18 Jun 2021 at 15:52
As part of the Thai government’s consistent support for R&D and scaling innovation in food technology, the country houses integrated R&D centres linking the public sector’s high-quality facilities with universities and private sector labs.
Central to the network is Food Innopolis, an integrated food innovation complex located at the Thailand Science Park, Pathum Thani Province. Under the supervision of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the complex offers comprehensive services to R&D and business development, ranging from rental space for laboratory facilities, sourcing personnel and technical assistance in R&D and business development as well as applying for approvals for entrepreneurs from Food and Drug Administration.
Food Innopolis also offers networking and knowledge sharing services to members and easy access to the public sector’s facilities in food technology, food standardization and food testing. These facilities include Food & Feed Innovation Center, Bioresource Center, Central Lab, Sensory Evaluation Center, and Synchrotron Light Research Institute which offers molecule-based research analysis, which are also located at Thailand Science Park.
To-date, more than 40 local food conglomerates, multinational companies and SMEs have established R&D activities in the innovative food cluster for products including seafood, poultry, dairy, nutritional & functional foods as well as in the areas of food safety, automation and robotics.
Food Innopolis has opened a facility at EECi in Wangchan Valley, an R&D complex located in the Eastern Economic Corridor. Focusing on application of digital technology in farm, food innovation and food production processes, Food Innopolis aims to drive Thailand to be a regional centre of the future food industry, advanced agriculture and biotechnology.
Future Food Lab zone adds a similar one-stop service centre to the facilities at Thailand Science Park. The Lab provides assistance to businesses in R&D and scaling innovations. The brief includes providing lab access to facilities and experts to help with developing prototypes, finding raw materials, marketing, and applying for regulatory approval.
The EECi compound also offers an IoT test bed service for areas including precision farming, smart harvest and packaging, robotics for fruit harvesting and packaging, automated pilot plants, smart logistics, smart warehousing, retail distribution, and software system integration. The facility is also a research area for big data, AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning applications to support database development and traceability for the farm and food industry.
To strengthen the country’s food tech ecology, the facility helps develop similar operational concepts in seven well-regarded provincial universities that have a history of producing skilled human resources in the field of agricultural technology. These universities include Kasetsart University, Chulalongkorn University, Mahidol University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Chiang Mai University, Kon Kaen University, and Prince of Songkla University.