PMUC links research and innovations to the market, enhancing Thai SMEs – PMUC

In an era when Covid-19 is creating large impact and massive economic and social changes around the world, data from the Ministry of Commerce indicates that there are still many positive signs in the economy that operators still have the opportunity to turn their businesses around. But there must be preparation, adaptation and development to keep up with the needs of consumers, one of which is the use of research and innovation as well as creativity to grow their own business.

Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) under the supervision of the Office of National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO), which has a mission to provide funding support for research to increase the country’s competitiveness by pushing for collaboration between the public and private sectors both domestically and internationally, allowing research results to be used in commercial applications. 

Prof. Siree Chaiseri, Ph.D.

Assoc. Prof. Siree Chaiseri, Ph.D., director of Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC), revealed that the key gap that prevents Thai research from reaching the industrial sector is “the technology development.” The grants supported by PMUC are not geared towards basic research, but are for research that has already been completed, and is in a process called “Translational Research”, or better known in the industrial sector as the “Development” phase, to develop from the laboratory towards commercial use. PMUC found that the problem of entrepreneurs and researchers who request funding or cooperation with PMUC is “marketing”. Therefore, PMUC tries to connect with agencies that have expertise in the relevant fields, which is in line with the strategy “Marketing precedes production” communicated by the Ministry of Commerce For this reason, the way BMTA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of International Trade Promotion. Ministry of Commerce with 6 innovation partners from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation

“This MOU was made due to the fact that PMUC saw the potential and the opportunity to increase Thailand’s competitiveness. Because different people have different expertise, PMUC is an agency that has the potential to develop technology for entrepreneurs, while the Ministry of Commerce has the capability to support entrepreneurs in the marketing aspect.

“And most importantly, we all see that ‘innovation’ is necessary to add higher value. In this collaboration, entrepreneurs who are interested in receiving funding from PMUC will receive marketing consultation services from the Ministry of Commerce, where PMUC will help to promote collaboration with researchers to meet the needs of the market. Working in a synergistic fashion is key.”

Although PMUC is an agency that has started providing funding support for only a year, currently, the research work supported by PMUC has received considerable attention from the private sector both domestically and internationally, such as the SAR-CoV-2 test kit, with Real-Time Method RT-PCR. (Health and Medical Program); high-value products from xanthone extract in organic mangosteen peel. (High-value Agriculture and Food Program); Rechargeable batteries made from battery waste. (Circular Economy Program); and robots to help in the assessment, care and rehabilitation services for the elderly and stroke patients. (Future Mobility, Robotics and Automation Program), etc.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siree added that PMUC believes that the “shelved research” that we often hear people talk about can in fact be used commercially. However, it requires cooperation from many sectors such as the Ministry of Commerce or partner agencies under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation. This will enable entrepreneurs to take advantage of research or scientific processes to upgrade Thai products towards becoming high-value products, and moving towards a new era of trade economy driven by innovation-based business and creativity to enhance the country’s competitiveness internationally.

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