R&D spend growing in 'leaps and bounds'

R&D spend growing in 'leaps and bounds'

The country's research and development (R&D) investments are expected to amount to 200 billion baht this year, up 32% from last year, according to Office of the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office.

The investments accounting for 1.2% of GDP are largely made on R&D in the automotive, food and technology sectors, said Kitipong Promwong, the office director.

He said R&D investments have grown in "leaps and bounds" in recent years. Last year, they expanded 36% from 2017.

In the next three years, the office wants to push R&D investments to 280 billion baht per year, he added.

Mr Kitipong said the government also aims to produce more graduates with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) degrees. By 2027, the country hopes to see those with Stem degrees make up half of the total yearly graduates.

More Stem-degree graduates are needed to shore up shortages of specialists in the new S-curve industries in the area of the Eastern Economic Corridor.

The Industry Ministry said the government is promoting 12 targeted S-curve industries in advanced technology and innovation to push forward the country's economy.

The 12 promoted industries are next-generation automotive, intelligent electronics, advanced agriculture and biotechnology, aviation and logistics, medical and comprehensive healthcare, biofuel and biochemicals, food processing, high value and medical tourism, automation and robotics, digital, defence technology and educational technology.

Mr Kitipong said the 12 industries will need about 107,000 workers over the next four years. Of these, 34,500 will be needed in digital, 29,000 in the aviation and logistics, 20,000 in medical and comprehensive healthcare, 12,000 in automation and robotics and 9,000 in biofuel and biochemicals.

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