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Spending on research jumped last year: agency

Investment in domestic research to help develop the country is expected to increase by Bt13 billion to Bt36 billion this year, a government agency has claimed.

The National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI) said the proportion of investment from the private sector into research would rise Bt10 billion to Bt21 billion or about 55 per cent while investment by the government sector was estimated at about Bt15 billion.

"This is a good sign," STI secretary-general Pichet Durongkaveroj said at the annual National Research Network meeting yesterday.

Thailand Research Fund director Professor Suthipun Jitpimolmard said investment in research had risen from 0.24 to 0.37 per cent of gross domestic product.

Total GDP was about Bt11 trillion last year.

Reform needed

Research reform, particularly for government mega projects such as the rice-pledging scheme, was also discussed at the meeting. Major research was needed so the new government could effectively run the scheme, it was said.

The establishment of a special committee to oversee the scheme also needed to be set up.

"The new government should fully support the budget for research and development. It must be one per cent of GDP at least," Suthipun said.

Expenditure on research and development (R&D) by the private sector must increase from 51-70 per cent in next two years, he said.

Currently, the industrial sectors that spend the most on R&D are the chemical industry (Bt3.6 billion), the food industry (Bt2.3 billion), petroleum industry (Bt 1.5 billon) and machinery industry (Bt 1.3 billion).


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