By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
With a mandate to drive a national innovation system to build and strengthen Thailand’s businesses, the National Innovation Agency is planning measures to jump-start a major five part innovation infrastructure starting in 2018.
The NIA will focus on creating innovation that increases the nation’s productivity in five areas: bioeconomy, manufacturing and circular economy, while also paying attention to the social, service and sharing economy.
Pun-arj Chairatana, the NIA executive director, said the next five years would see a concentration on area based innovation, data-driven innovation, market innovation, innovation finance, and innovation capability within the next five years.
“NIA’s direction will help to create, strengthen and sustain national innovation and create innovation productivity throughout the country in the near future,” said Pun-arj.
For the areabased innovation, the agency is planning to develop a regional innovation system (RIS) and 15 innovation areas covering the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and the North, Northeast, and South regions.
For datadriven innovation, the agency will develop and support an innovation focus on three economic sectors – bioeconomy, manufacturing and the “circular economy” – as well as social, service and sharing economies.
In the area of bioeconomy, the agency will focus on biopharmaceuticals, new food products, agribusiness, biorefinery, cosmeceuticals, bioproducts and herbal products.
The areas of manufacturing and the circular economy will have a focus on automotive, robotic and automatic, industrial crafts and design, waste management, green energy and electronics.
Last, the sharing, social and service economy areas will focus on service innovation business, social innovation business, digital industry, and logistic and supply chain management.
“The nine social focused sectors are finance, employment and social welfare, disaster services, environment stewardship, sustainable agriculture, urbanisation, education, healthy futures, food, water and energy nexus as well as tourism & culture,” Pun-arj said.
Also, regarding market innovation, the strategy looks at promoting innovative products and engaging with internationalisation.
In terms of finance innovation, the agency aims to develop mechanisms to create 100 new technology startups, and innovative SMEs able to attract investment of venture capital.
For capacity building, the agency will develop innovation management, new media, and other approaches to support innovation throughout the country.
He added that the agency this year also has a goal to develop 2,000 startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and OTOP via its innovation coupon and NIA Venture.
“We also aim to utilise innovation technology to improve quality of life for communities and the environment in order to create equality of people and reduce the gap between people in rural and urban areas,” said Punarj.
The agency’s budget for this year is Bt347 million to develop, dedicated to helping local businesses adopt and use innovation technology to increase business efficiency and productivity as a whole.
The agency now supports over 353 innovation projects worth Bt396 million, adding Bt1.5 billion in economic value to the country.