Three research funding agencies in Thailand and the UK join hands to promote biotechnology research

On 21 June 2012, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a UK-Government-research-funding body, the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) signed an MOU to support research collaboration and human resource development in the field of biotechnology and biological sciences.


Present at the signing ceremony were Dr. Kanyawim Kirtikara, Executive Director of the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), one of the NSTDA research centers which will execute the MOU on behalf of NSTDA, Prof. Dr. Sawasd Tantararatana, TRF Director and H.E. Asif Ahmad, British Ambassador to Thailand, who represented BBSRC.


This MOU represents another milestone on progress with the ‘UK-Thailand Partners in Science’ program, formalised in September 2009 by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser and the President of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand. In February 2010, BBSRC organized a fact finding mission to Thailand to explore and identify potential areas of collaboration. Three topics were identified with high potential: zoonosis and food borne diseases, crop sequencing and novel biological natural products, and these became the priority in this MOU. To forge the collaboration, a series of workshops and meetings were organized by The British High Commission, BBSRC and BIOTEC throughout the first half of 2011, bringing in UK scientists to meet with Thai counterparts on each specific theme. Currently there are two active joint research projects: one on microbial risk assessment of Campylobacter in broiler chicken production chain in Thailand with participation from Chulalongkorn University, Khon Kaen University, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), BIOTEC and the University of Liverpool; and the other on a type of insect pathogenic fungi, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, consisting of partners including BIOTEC, the Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) and the University of Bristol. Thai scientists will receive research fund from BIOTEC and NSTDA and PhD. scholarships from the Royal Golden Jubilee PhD Program.

Under this MOU, BBSRC is investing £675,000 to complement the Royal Golden Jubilee PhD Programme. This will enable 40 of Thailand’s most promising student scientists to study in the UK for one year of their PhD over the next 5 years. It will help in the exchange of knowledge between our two countries and the development of skills for a new generation of scientists. In the long term, BBSRC hopes that these students will forge new international collaborations with the people they meet during their stay.


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Posted on 21 June 2012