NIA joins force with Israel for innovations in smart farming, autonomous vehicle, cyber security

National Innovation Agency (NIA) signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) for bilateral collaboration on innovation development focusing on knowledge exchange, technology development between Thai and Israeli companies.

Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, NIA executive director said the international collaboration, especially the outstanding startup nation like Israel, will lead to technology transfer, business opportunities and joint venture of the private sector of both countries, paving the way for startup nation and expanding innovation products of Thai to the global market.

Both countries will set up a working force and call for proposal. NIA will fund to Thai entrepreneurs if they can do matching, while IIA will fund to Israeli firms.

Ami Applebaum, chief scientist and chairperson of IIA said Israel will bring its strength in precision farming to help boost productivity for Thai farmers.

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Strength in algorithm software has lead global leading auto makers establish the R&D in Israel getting ready for autonomous vehicles to support the auto manufacturing in Thailand, and expertise in cyber security in digital transaction.

This collaboration is the beginning and if Thai companies are interested to set up their offices in Israel or have partners there, IIA also has a program to support multi-national companies.

The success of Israeli startups came from a faith of people that “nothing is impossible” which the country was challenged by growing plants in the desert, military stability that people must become soldiers at young and learn new technology in military, maturity and skill in team work.

“Our people have worked with multinational companies in Israel and we have learned a lot from them, some established their own startups,” he said.

To be a country driven by innovation, Thailand must improve the education system from kindergarten to university, creating quality people, especially engineers. “Without quality people, it’s hard to drive for innovation”.

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Dr. Pun-Arj added that Israel has an interesting development of startups and can be the model for startup promotion and innovation business in Thailand in many aspects such as funding, resource management and productivity creation especially in agriculture, collaboration of the public, private and education. Israel government has supported the private sector, drawing multinational companies to establish research centres working with local researchers and education institutes. The ratio of startups per population has been consecutively increasing, to 8000 companies at present (source: Stock Exchange of Thailand) with 1:10 success rate, considered high compared to other countries.

As the world’s leader in defense technology and cyber security, Israel can be the model for Thailand in supporting the ecosystem in four major areas: scientific competence for developing cyber security research; cyber industry development procedure focusing on policy and regulations; technology; and cyber security human resource.

At present, Israel took the world’s 11th spot in innovation and the world’s first ranking in several categories such as linkage in innovation of corporates and research capability, ICT export, venture capital. The country is also the fourth most application development, business and services creativity, cultural influence and industrial standard certification ISO:9001.