THE government will invest Bt30 billion in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) zone and expects the private sector will follow its lead with around Bt100 billion in investments in the zone under the 20 year-project.
Narong Sirilertworakul, president of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), said that agency will construct the first phrase of the EECi by the end of this year with investment of Bt1.1 billion to develop buildings and infrastructure. The first phrase will be completed in 2020 and will officially be launched in 2021.
“The EECi is a complete ecosystem for innovation and a new economic estate specialising in research, innovation and related testing and evaluation, which will boost the country’s competitiveness in the world market. The EECi runs through Rayong and Chon Buri provinces," said Narong.
EECi campuses will house government-funded and private research laboratories, field test centres, and pilot and demonstration plants.
The two campuses are the Wang Chan Valley Campus located on 485 hectares in Rayong and the Space Krenovation Park, on a 19-hectare site in Chon Buri’s Sri Racha district.
The Wang Chan Valley Campus will combine an “Aripolis” for automation, robotics and intelligent systems, and a “Biopolis” for life science and biotechnology, while the second campus will specialises in the aeronautics and aerospace industry.
Narong said that to drive innovation and technology in the EECi and throughout the country, the agency has signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with its partners for research and development in the areas of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), technology and knowledge transfer and innovation in order to create networks and ecosystems of new technology, deep technology, bio-refinery and other forms of innovation as well as develop a pilot plant in EECi.
The partners include the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) and CMKL University.
The agency also has Northern Science Park, Northeastern Science Park and Southern Science Park to develop as hubs in order to create a network of the science parks. This will encourage the private sector, both domestically and internationally, to invest in the EECi as well as in universities at home and abroad to enable the transfer of technology and research development under collaborative efforts.
He said that within the next five years, the government expects to inject around Bt5 billion, jumping to Bt30 billion, under the 20-year project, which started this year. The agency also expects the private sector’s expected investments of around Bt100 billion in the EECi over the 20 years will enhance the country’s competitiveness.