The Center, originally known as NCGEB, was first set up under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy on 20 September 1983. After the establishment of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) on 30 December 1991, BIOTEC became one of the NSTDA centers, operating outside the normal framework of civil service and state enterprises. This enabled the Center to operate more effectively to support and transfer technology for the development of industry, agriculture, natural resources, environment and consequently the social and economic well-being of Thai people. Other centers under the NSTDA family include National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC),National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC),National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC) and Technology Management Center (TMC).
During 2007-2008, NSTDA and its centers underwent organization re-structuring, with particular focus on research funding. From 1 October 2008, research funding activities and research program management are coordinated under the Cluster and Program Management Office under NSTDA, and BIOTEC now functions as a research institute, no longer a funding agency.
As a premier research institute in Thailand and Asia, BIOTEC operates research units located at Thailand Science Park and specialized laboratories hosted by various universities, employing over 544 staff, of which 155 are PhD researchers and 245 research assistants and lab technicians (as of September 2010). BIOTEC research covers a wide spectrum from agricultural science to biomedical science and environmental science. Apart from research laboratories, BIOTEC activities also include policy research, an outreach program, training and international relations.
BIOTEC income is sourced from government funding and revenues from providing services/commercialization and non-government entities such as international funding agencies and private foundations.