By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
THE SUNDAY NATION
THAI ACADEMICS are being invited to apply for new research grants in order to collaborate with their British counterparts and spearhead social change with innovations and technologies.
The British Council, together with the Office of Higher Education Commission (OHEC) and the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), yesterday announced the call for “Institutional Links” 2018-19, to provide grants for research corresponding to the Thai government’s 10 targeted industries.
The grant fund of Bt30 million comes equally from the UK’s Newton Fund and its partners in Thailand, OHEC and TRF.
Thai researchers have until June 8 to apply for grants from OHEC or TRF.
Those selected will be granted up to Bt7 million for their research and also get the opportunity to work with counterparts from leading academic institutions in the UK. The British Council is one of the delivery partners of the Newton Fund, which supports research collaboration between the UK and Thailand through the Institutional Links programme.
Grants for this year will be targeted at research related to Thailand’s 10 “S-Curve” industries.
These are: next-generation automotive, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food for the future, robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, digital, and medical hub.
The collaboration between UK and Thailand under the Newton Fund’s Institutional Links would enhance research and innovation development in both countries, said Pongsakorn Tantilipikorn, TRF International Research Network and International Affairs assistant director. “Institutional Links will connect Thai and UK researchers and lead to the exchange of knowledge, technology and innovation which will help internationalise our research work,” Pongsakorn said.
Punpermsak Aruni, OHEC Human Resources Development Policy director, added that Institutional Links also play important roles in building capacity of Thai professors and researchers, who will be helping to link research and innovation and the New S-Curve industries with ambitions for the transition to a digital economy, or “Thailand 4.0”.
Tirayut Vilaivan, a researcher from Chulalongkorn University who was awarded a grant last year, described how he also got the chance to work with researchers from University of Liverpool in developing a simple and cheap paper-based technique to test for chemical contamination in food.
“The project is resoundingly successful and there are already many business operators in the food industry interested in this innovation, so I would like to express my gratitude toward Newton Fund and its Thai partners for helping me with this academic achievement,” Tirayut said.