According to a recent report, The National Nanotechnology Centre (Nanotec) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 11 network centres from seven universities for phase 3 of the Research Network for Nanotechnology Project.
The agreement aims to build a research network in nanotechnology and encourage the real use of R&D works to ultimately benefit the nation, both economically and socially.
Phase 3, starting this year, aims to form specific research networks that would have the common interest in research topics for both Nanotec and network centres, which in turn could co-supervise graduate students and further develop practical works that could be utilised commercially.
The executive director of the nanotechnology centre said that the targeted area consisted of five research frameworks are nanotechnology for medical and public health; environment; food and agriculture; metrology and characterisation; and energy.
Nanotec is collaborating with 11 network centres from seven universities — Mahidol University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Chulalongkorn University, Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology, Kasetsart University, Khon Kaen University, and the Suranaree University of Technology.
The collaborations among Nanotec and the universities participating in this network centre project are one of the major missions that could promote R&D according to Thailand’s Nanotechnology Roadmap, and the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy that is considered to be the master plan driving the country towards Thailand 4.0.
For the nanomedicine framework, Nanotec and the Ramathibodi Hospital plan to further develop the Nanotec diabetes diagnostic kit, with Ramathibodi Hospital carrying out clinical trials.
Nanotec with Siriraj Hospital is developing Lymphoma-targeted nanoliposome particles, and are working with the School of Bioresources and Technology at KMUTT to develop nanosensors for health monitoring purpose.
In environment framework, the centre works with the Environmental Engineering Faculty at Chulalongkorn University to develop the industrial wastewater treatment system via nanotechnology.
In food and agriculture framework, Nanotec is working with the Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, and Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, to develop a portable sensor for heavy metals and contaminant gauging, and smart sensors and systems for agricultural purposes.
Another report noted the importance of university-industry collaboration for a smart future.
Critical to a programme’s success is government support.
Today, there are 30,000 students from over 100 universities in Thailand who go out annually to approximately 10,000 companies. Each student is assigned a mentor from the company and a project with specific expectations and they work under real work conditions.
It’s what the expert quoted in the report describes as a “share-winning outcome” where every one of the four parties secures a beneficial outcome.
Students get practical experience and a chance to be employed by the company; the university is able to get a sense of how to improve or adjust their curricula to suit industry needs; the company benefits because actual projects are completed; students bring new ideas and solutions to problems; and the government benefits from the system as a whole.
If you don’t pay the students, the industry then does not care sufficiently about the outcomes and they leave the students in the corner because it doesn’t cost any money. Governments have to be strong, and universities and industry have to be strong too.