After the first Asean Science & Technology Innovation (STI) Forum, held in Bangkok last week, Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the forum had come up with three plans to stimulate education in science and technological development in the region.
“As host of the event, Thailand proposed providing $1 million in initial investment capital to set up a Science, Technology and Innovation Development Fund for Asean, so that Asean countries will have a tangible plan to direct responsible development of science and technology,” he said.
After Thailand’s proposal, representatives of other Asean countries responded to the idea and will ask for their governments to approve budgets for contributing to the fund.
Previously, Asean countries have also had its innovation learning group but it has loosen cooperated to motivate science and technology learning in the region.
Pichet said the Newton Fund, which is managed by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in collaboration with 16 partner countries, would support the establishment of the STI Development Fund for Asean.
Moreover, he said that after discussions with Mark Walport, science adviser to the prime minister of Britain, Thailand and the UK had agreed to draw up a memorandum of understanding on support for science and innovation.
After the first Asean STI Forum, three areas of cooperation will be implemented from October 1.
The first plan is to set up of the STI Fund for Asean, initially funded by Thailand at $1 million. Second, Thailand will support Asean human-resource development by providing scholarships for the pursuit of master’s and doctoral degrees. And third, the government sector will assist the private sector in doing research and innovative work in the region.
Pichet said that although Asean had encouraged science education and innovation for many years, it had lacked a centre to continue such support. The Asean STI Forum and Fund should help tighten cooperation in this area and lead the region towards sustainable development.
Asean cooperation in science and technology affects many sectors, such as food, energy and alternative energy, and biodiversity.