Thai-Spanish Partnership Revolutionises Nutrient-Rich Rice for Healthier Future

Thai-Spanish Partnership Revolutionises Nutrient-Rich Rice for Healthier Future

A landmark collaboration between Thai and Spanish governments aims to transform rice into a more nutritious and sustainable food source, announced at the THAILAND-SPAIN Innovation Forum in Bangkok.

Ms. Suchada Thaensap, Secretary to Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and H.E. Mr. Felipe de la Morena Casado, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to Thailand, on November 28, 2566, jointly presided over the opening ceremony of “Spain-Thailand Innovation & Tech Dialogue Platform on Healthy and Sustainable Food Products & Processes: Functional Foods & Valorisation of Agrifood Waste” the collaboration in the development of innovation and technology focusing on Circular Economy and Agri-Food.

Ms. Suchada Thaensap

Attended by more than 100 researchers, entrepreneurs of leading academic institutions, industrial groups and innovative start-ups from Thailand,  and governments representatives, the forum is a turning-point in  bringing to a higher-level cooperation between Thailand and Spain in research and innovation, exchanging technology-related information, and supporting collaboration between Thai and Spanish researchers and entrepreneurs.

This initiative is a part of the Thailand & Spain Innovating Program (TLSIP), Thailand – Spain bilateral Framework promoting and funding Innovation-driven R&D cooperation between Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC), MHESI and the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) under the Ministry of Science Innovation and Universities of Spain.

Ms. Suchada Thaensap said that the objective of the event is to promote and strengthen the collaboration between Thailand and Spain in the field of research and innovation development and leveraging their power and synergy to create healthier and more sustainable food products and environment with specific focus on functional food and valorisation of agri-food waste. Furthermore, this innovation forum facilitates the exchange between Thailand and Spain on technological trends throughout the food value chain. By bringing together experts, researchers, and industry leaders, we aspire to catalyse impactful collaborations that transcend borders and contribute to the wellbeing of our societies.

According to H.E Mr. Felipe de la Morena, Research and Innovation cooperation is gaining momentum in the bilateral relationship between Spain and Thailand and that, interactions at all levels and across the R&D spectrum have been consistently growing over the last years. He concluded saying that this bilateral innovation forum between Spain and Thailand was an unprecedented joint initiative, resulting from the joint work of MHESI and its agencies (PMUC) with CDTI – Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, Spain, and that he is confident, it will provide a new impetus to our engagements in research and innovation, and to finding jointly, new innovative solutions for healthier and more sustainable food production systems.

H.E Mr. Felipe de la Morena

This landmark cooperation in the field of rice initially focuses on the development of project “Innovarice Thai”, Genetic Improvement between Thai-Indica and Spanish-Japonica elite varieties of rice for low-glycaemic, biofortifications, and productivity by precision breeding, cultivation, and food science. Professor Apichart Vanavichit, PhD, former director of the Rice Science Center at Kasetsart University, leads the research initiative, aiming to develop high-yield, disease-resistant rice with high amylose content, combined with the first purple Indica rice variety. This effort aims to create purple rice with high yields, low Glycemic Index (GI), and high nutritional value, contributing to the reduction of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Professor Apichart Vanavichit

A joint statement and action plan for the period 2024-2026 was signed during the event between the leaderships of PMUC Thailand, and CDTI, Spain. 

In words of Mr. Javier Ponce, Director General CDTI, "this new framework, builds on the Letter of Intent signed  by both agencies in 2022 and will set the tone for more funding support to joint collaborative innovation projects, and tech-based alliances in areas of mutual interest, where Spain and Thailand boast a good complementarity: such as circular economy and clean technologies (renewables, water and environment), agri-food and health between our research and innovation communities, and that will in turn, translate into reinforced competitiveness and new business opportunities”. He also, emphasised on the importance of leveraging and building on existing academic R&D networks between Spain and Thailand, facilitating industrial connects and participation for further transitioning from idea to market.

Mr. Javier Ponce

Associate Professor Dr. Thongchai Suwonsichon, Director of PMUC, shared that as part of the action plan signed between PMUC and CDTI, both agencies will contribute to promote closed contact and exchange between stakeholders across the innovation spectrum in specific forums and matchmaking activities in sectors like renewable energy and personalised medicine in 2024 and 2025. 

Professor Dr. Thongchai Suwonsichon

“PMUC also plays a crucial role of Global partnership in linking Thai universities and private enterprises in various countries, including the United Kingdom, the European Union, and South Korea” Dr.Thongchai said.

Program Management Unit for Competitiveness Enhancement (PMUC) mission to administer research fund to enhance the nation’s competitiveness by fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors in Thailand and from abroad and advancing research outputs to market.

Contact: 08-1922-5149 (Monsiri) 09-2336-4482 (Nischanade) 

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