Fund seeks to bolster Thailand innovation
text size

Fund seeks to bolster Thailand innovation

ISPF supports R&D development

Mr Gooding, centre, at the launch of the International Science Partnership Fund, which supports research and innovation collaborations with Thailand.
Mr Gooding, centre, at the launch of the International Science Partnership Fund, which supports research and innovation collaborations with Thailand.

The Thailand-UK partnership for International Science Partnership Fund (ISPF), worth up to £337 million, has been launched to support researchers and innovators in science in the partner countries.

The ISPF covers the period 2022-25 and focuses on four main themes: the resilient planet; transformative technologies; healthy people, animals and plants; and tomorrow's talent.

Meanwhile, Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) aims to have R&D reach 2% of GDP by 2027, up from from 1.33% this year.

It is seeking a budget of 19 billion baht for fiscal 2024 for the R&D fund, up from 15 billion baht in the last fiscal year, aiming to utilise research to create a national impact, and particularly reduce poverty and household debt.

"Thailand is the heart of Asean and has resesearch capabilities and leading universities and we have a long history of cooperation in science, research and innovation," said Mark Gooding, UK ambassador to Thailand, at the official launch of the ISPF Thailand UK partnership yesterday.

Recently, the UK's Department for Science, Research and Technology (DSIT) allocated £319-337 million from 2022 to 2025 to provide opportunities for British researchers to collaborate with global partners.

"In this regard, the past successes in research and development cooperation between Thailand and the UK, coupled with the launch of ISPF, will serve as catalysts in preparing Thai researchers to participate in the fund. This aims to strengthen research and development capabilities of both nations," Mr Gooding said.

Susie Kitchens, DSIT's deputy director of Global Research and Innovation, said Thailand is one of the key priority partners globally in the ISPF and the UK has identified areas of interest for Thailand, mainly in artificial intelligence, genomics, healthy ageing, agriculture, engineering biology, net zero and the circular economy.

Mr Gooding said Thailand's cooperation with the UK has been longstanding, involving collaboration among researchers, universities and various research institutions. This collaboration includes efforts under the Newton Fund, leading to advancements in science and technology for both countries.

These advancements include enhancing the research capabilities of over 1,700 personnel, collaborating on more than 115 major projects in health, agriculture, energy, the environment and natural resources, as well as developing science and technology policies.

In addition to the Newton Fund, Thailand also collaborates with the UK under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which supports research to address development challenges in the country.

Thailand has collaborated with the UK in 10 programmes under ISPF. Among them are international interdisciplinary research projects, international writing workshops, leaders in innovation fellowships, as well as transforming systems through partnerships.

Additionally, there are expected collaborations in programmes such as the International Fellowship Programme, the networking award and parallel activity for alumni, the Global Health Policy Workshop, the international career development programme, Global Challenges Research, Translational Research Partnership, Future Research and Policy Change, Early Academic Fellowship scheme for Women in Research and Innovation as well as the Research Partnership.

Dr Sirirurg Songsivilai, chairman of the National Commission on Science, Research and Innovation, said in the past few years Thailand has reformed research funding and the country's combined funds are worth over £500 million per year.

Under the ISPF collaboration, Thailand aims to have 10 local fund delivery partners by next year.

"Besides the UK, we have international partnerships for collaboration while also supporting R&D and scholarships with CLMV countries," said Dr Sirirurg.

Do you like the content of this article?