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It is no laughing matter when Thailand announced it is striving to become a knowledge based economy and a key player among AEC member countries. In order to achieve this humongous challenge, Thailand must up its investment in projects related to research development and innovation. Last week, Dr. Janekrishna Kanatharana, a Vice President of the National Science and Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Director of Thailand Science Park revealed that the country's only operating science park is pushing to facilitate the creation and development of innovation clusters comprise of local and multinational firms, national technology centers, and universities within and around the Thailand Science Park at the northern outskirt of Bangkok, in Patumthani province. To date, the total infrastructure investment of the science park is USD 150 million.
Dr. Janekrishna said the Phase II of Thailand Science Park, which started earlier this year, will focus on the development of innovation clusters. Alignment, collaboration, and synergy amongst the four national research centers of NSTDA and 70 tenant companies will be accelerated to support the Auto-Parts and Food Innovation Clusters. In addition, Thammasat University, Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, and Asian Institute of Technology, which is located near Thailand Science Park, along with 5 industrial estates nearby will be engaged to fasten the flow of innovation among players in the value chains. The above setting makes for a greater pool of innovation to help accelerate competitiveness of larger companies, a wider market channel to foster growth of technology start-ups and SMEs, as well as steady increase in researchers to match need of industries are to go in tandem. "We compare our development approach to that of spinning a yarn shuttle" said Dr. Janekrishna. "We start by spinning our existing Phase I components to form the two innovation clusters. As the spinning rate increases, more parties will be drawn in to form a bigger shuttle".
When asked about the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will take place in 2015, Dr. Janekrishna said some economists have referred to ASEAN as the 9th largest country in the world - the 3rd Asian dragon. Existing free trade agreements and various investment incentive schemes will no doubt create a greater opportunity for the ASEAN countries as a whole. With an expected annual growth of 6%, ASEAN is the 2nd largest economic region and this is something that investors cannot ignore. "Thailand will play an important strategic role once AEC is established in 2015, and Thailand Science Park is inviting international companies looking to place their research and innovation hubs in ASEAN to take this opportunity to join its ever growing and vibrant community," said Dr. Janekrishna.
A leading agency on nanotechnology development in Thailand established on 13 August 2003. NANOTEC is one of four research agency operating under the jurisdiction of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).
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