TAIST-Tokyo Tech Implementation Agreement Phase IV Signing Ceremony

TAIST-Tokyo Tech Implementation Agreement Phase IV Signing Ceremony

The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) of Japan, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology (SIIT) Thammasat University (TU), Kasetsart University (KU), and Mahidol University (MU), have entered into the TAIST-Tokyo Tech Implementation Agreement Phase IV (2022-2027). The signing ceremony was organised on 19 April 2022 in a hybrid format at the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), Thailand and online.

The agreement creates and strengthens the education and research collaboration network among Thai universities, an internationally recognised foreign university (Tokyo Tech), and research institutes, in order to increase human resources skilled in research and engineering.  Each partner brings their expertise in advanced engineering to develop the curriculum in line with international academic excellence. 

TAIST-Tokyo Tech Phase IV will produce graduates in three academic graduate programs, namely, Automotive and Advanced Transportation Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, and Sustainable Energy and Resources Engineering, plus one certificate program on Rail Transportation.  The curriculums have been revised from previous phases to meet the needs of students and current industry trends.

MHESI Permanent Secretary Prof. Dr. Sirirurg Songsivilai presided over the signing ceremony with co-signers including NRCT Executive Director Dr. Wiparat De-ong, Tokyo Tech President Prof. Dr. Kazuya Masu, NSTDA President Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, KMUTT President Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suvit Saetia, KMITL Dean of School of Engineering Assoc. Prof. Dr. Somyot Kaitwanidvilai, SIIT Director Prof. Dr. Pruettha Nanakorn, KU President Dr. Chongrak Wachrinrat, and MU President Prof. Dr. Banchong Mahaisavariya.  Mr. Oba Yuichi, Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Japan, graciously attended the ceremony to offer his congratulations.

In his welcome remarks, Prof. Dr. Sirirurg Songsivilai stated that human resource development and innovation creation are the prime missions of MHESI. “Higher education must meet the demands of the national development and global trends,” he said. “TAIST-Tokyo Tech Phase IV is well-aligned with the Ministry’s mission. The cooperation under this program encompasses co-developing curricula in areas where manpower is lacking in both quantity and quality and enriching students’ research and engineering skills by engaging them in research with industrial partners.”

“The cabinet has approved a budget of 143.73 billion baht to MHESI for FY 2023, which is among the top six ministries receiving the highest allocation. The budget allocation was made according to the new budgeting system allowing block grants and multi-year budgeting. The fund will be spent to drive national agendas such as the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) and to build competitiveness for sustainable development.  The cabinet also approved the proposal to establish the Higher Education Fund on 11 January 2022 to serve as a tool in driving manpower development and academic excellence. A program like TAIST-Tokyo Tech can potentially be supported under this Fund when it is fully operational.”

TAIST-Tokyo Tech Program has been in operation since 2007 (Phase 1 from 2007 to 2011, Phase 2 from 2012 to 2016, and Phase 3 from 2017 to 2021).  Since its inception, the program has produced 460 research and engineering graduates at master's degree level. Of these, around 60% work in industry, 20% in universities and government agencies, and 14% have continued studying at PhD level in Thailand and abroad, mostly in Japan. These graduates have published more than 300 journal articles and conference papers, with approximately 46% of the journal articles published in Q1 or Q2.

In the Phase IV implementation, NRCT will provide financial support for tuition fees and monthly allowances for students enrolled in the program. Thai university partners will share partial financial support to their students. Tokyo Tech will support travel expenses to send the faculty staff to deliver lectures and supervise students. NSTDA will manage the overall program. The support from NRCT will cover one batch of 70 students for the academic year 2022. Scholarships financing for academic year 2023 until academic year 2027 will be contingent upon the performance report and budget situation.  

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