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R&D projects heading for the fast lane

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 CHULALONGKORN University expects to move 30 research and development (R&D) projects in a range of technology fields from the laboratory to commercial use by the end of this year.



Nongnuj Muangsin, director of the Technopreneurship and Innovation Management Programme at the university, said the university would provide support to the students in the form of R&D facilities, as well as the use of technology and innovative approaches to guide them on the path to establishing startup ventures under its academy programme.
The academy programme covers areas such as design thinking, creative thinking, product innovation, entrepreneurship, and service innovation. Students learn about argmented reality, virtual reality, nano technology, 3D printing and data analytics. 
The academy programme also provides consulting, training and a laboratory environment in an approach that emphasises user experience. The students are encouraged to utilise their knowledge to develop innovative products and services for the market. 
The programme has more than 100 research and development projects in various fields of technology and innovation. One example is Fresh2Joy, an encapsulated beads project that aims to prolong the shelf life of soft-skinned fruit. It tackles the problem of produce spoilage from mould. It has extended the shelf life of soft-skinned fruits from three days to 10.
Another project is for Fresh2Joy powder and solutions. It stabilises active ingredients to prolong the freshness of cut fruit, which usually turn brown. The university plans to take the two projects on a fundraising mission in the US in the near future. 
“I think that the programme will help to create and develop startups, with aspiring entrepreneurs being able to develop their products or services for delivery to the market,” Nongnuj said.
“They will gain from the research and development at the university, along with the other training under the academy program. This will enable them to provide international-standard products and services to the market, both at home and overseas.”
She said that the programme would also facilitate fund-matching arrangements between students and investors, including angel funds, such as the Tech Funds project backed by the Science and Technology Ministry. This would help establish a startup ecosystem at the university.
Nongnuj said a budget of around Bt30 million would be set aside to help the students pursue their goals under the programme. Seed funding of around Bt100,000 per project would be provided in order for product prototypes to be developed, ahead of commercialisation.

Published : April 10, 2018