Science Ministry discussed with 12 leading universities for the setup of Ministry of Research and Innovation

Dr. Suvit Maesincee, the Minister of Science and Technology, recently held a meeting with 12 leading universities seeking their cooperation to set the guidelines for the setup of the “National Institute of Science, Technology, and Innovation” which will be an organization under the soon-to-be-established “Ministry of Science & Technology and Higher Education”.

The aim is to join force in building the society of research and innovation.

The meeting discussed the principles of setting up the new ministry and organizations under its supervision which comprises of 4 groups including: 1) policies and strategies 2) research on science, technology and innovation 3) research on sociology and humanities and 4) higher education. The principles received satisfactory feedback from 12 universities joining the meeting which include Chulalonglorn University, Thammasat Universitry, Kasetsart University, Mahidol University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Ladkrabang, Khonkaen University, Chiang Mai University, Songkhla Nakarin University, Suranaree University of Technology, and Naresuan University.

“After the cabinet’s meeting on 3 July 2018, they approved the setup of the new ministry which will be a ministry for the future that will combine all the higher education and research institutes together.  This is to serve the country’s future development in terms of science, technology, innovation, sociology and humanities as well as extension of various industries especially the industries that are in line with the national strategies. The new ministry has two major administrative missions which include 1) policies level and financing and 2) operational level. It also has two operational missions: higher education, research and innovation that covers science, technology, sociology, humanities; and the development and elevation of science and technology infrastructure that can link between state agencies, private sector, educational institutes, research institutes, society and communities together.

As for the structure of the new ministry, it will comprise National Institute of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NISTI) that will be responsible for research and development of higher science and technology, advanced researches, basic and applied researches and they will link with the researches and development that already operated in the universities.

The meeting also agreed that all the research agencies should work together through the mechanism such as Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) and food innopolis and so on. They will setup the board of committee with a chairman. The committee will be from research institute, private universities and agencies under the ministry which will work together as to serve the needs of three levels include: country level, regional level and community level.

Dr. Suwit said, in the next step, we will go deep into details including vision, mission, policies and restructuring processes of organizations under the Science and Technology Ministry and university so that they can work together better. This will also enable the easier movement of personnel between research institutes and universities so they have the chance to do the work that fit their capabilities. This will create interdisciplinary research and budgetary system which should be agenda-based system that can extend to several years until the project can be completed.

In addition, it also includes the laws and regulations that are already in place so that universities can commercialize innovation products. They can also set up a company and we will promote them to spin off to be tech-based startup. We will join with them to do projects between the ministry and universities such as Food Innopolis, Regional Science Park and Innovation Hub which have had satisfactory performance so far.

Universities can also build platform between universities and private sectors to expand the cooperation in the future. This will be in line with the setup of the new ministry too. Another thing that is as important as science is sociology and humanities. All the universities agreed with the idea of setting up a new ministry and it will place more emphasis on this subject matter as well as research at national level such as research procurement which will be the database and analysis that will be used in the consideration of national factors that will impact the country’s society and economy such as climate change, genetic engineering and environmental problems.

However, the official name of the ministry has yet to be concluded but it is believed that the name will place emphasis on the importance of science, technology, innovation and higher education definitely.

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