Research key to national upgrade plan
The Ministry of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation has come up with a proposal that draws heavily on research and innovation to accelerate Thailand's shift to a developed nation within 16 years.
"Covid-19 has shown us that research brings solutions to problems as well as more possibilities of initiating new businesses in a way seen in developed countries," said Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Minister Anek Laothamatas.
Researchers have been prompted to put their skills and knowledge to good use, such as developing negative-pressure intensive care units to treat Covid-19 patients and creating Covid-19 vaccines, he said.
He was speaking at the opening of Thailand Research Expo 2021, an annual event in which more than 500 projects from the public and private sector are showcased in Bangkok from Monday until tomorrow.
One of the advantages of producing innovations in Thailand is that the production cost is about five to 10 times lower than the average global cost of mass producing such newly developed products, Mr Anek said.
"With a strong commitment to developing the country so future generations can enjoy a better quality of life, research and innovation will play a key role as we can no longer rely heavily on an agriculture-based economy," he said.
Research and innovation-based development should also be implemented along with promoting the so-called creative economy, which reflects the country's history, culture and ecology while also conserving natural resources and the environment, the minister added.
"Thailand should become a developed country that works seriously, learns earnestly from the past, believes in a better future and never forgets its past and history.
"Covid-19 has shown to us how society can become stronger while remaining flexible, and also how research benefits the country and decreases social disparity," he said.
Over 100 online forums have been organised during the research expo, which also offers a virtual exhibition of the findings in addition to the onsite show, Mr Anek said.