System reform is necessary in order for Thailand to achieve the goals set by the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy and Strategy (2020-2027) in terms of producing quality manpower and employing knowledge and innovation to attain sustainable development and developed nation status. The reform is being implemented according to the following guidelines:
1. Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Structure
- The new system should be flexible in order to respond to changes and uncertainties in a timely manner and focus on competitiveness enhancement utilizing people-public-private partnership mechanism.
- In the research and innovation system, there should be organizations specifically designated for each of the following roles: policy and strategy, budget allocation and grant provision. Undesignated organizations can undertake more than one role in order to strengthen the research and innovation system.
- To diversify the areas for granting and avoid the domination of the single funding agency system, new units to provide grants for area-based development and industrial competitiveness should be established as autonomous units under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.
2. Policy, Strategy and Plan Management
- Policy, Strategy and Plan of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation should align with the National Strategy and aim at reaching evidence-based policy that can be applied to all stakeholders.
- Policy and strategy should be designed with participation of stakeholders and to connect to action plans of each area. Higher Education Plan and Science, Research and Innovation Plan must align but not overlap, and responsible organizations should be identified so that action plans can be further elaborated, and funding can be properly allocated.
- Strategic objectives and key issues should be identified based on the demand-driven principle and macro socioeconomic strategy and in line with the National Strategy. Cluster/Sectoral Platform Management – a collaborative network of funding agency, implementing agencies and users – should be established to facilitate efficient budget allocation and utilization.
3. Budget Allocation and Management
- Budget framework and allocation should be in line with the National Strategy, Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy, Higher Education Plan and Science, Research and Innovation Plan, and reflect the national budget, i.e. within and outside the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.
- Budget review process must be carried out with the Bureau of the Budget with the result-based and performance-based budgeting principle.
- Science, research and innovation fund shall be allocated in either of the following manners:
- Direct to designated implementing organizations in the form of multi-year block grant for projects of the following types: large-scale projects, infrastructure development projects and integrated projects comprising various components (e.g. technology transfer and standard setting) or multiple stakeholders; or
- Through a granting agency via calls for proposals.
- Higher education fund could be established at the later stage to achieve excellence in higher education and promote highly skilled manpower development to meet the demands of the country.
- A management platform should be designed and established to promote accountability and underpin result-based & performance-based budgeting concept.
- Transition to the new budget allocation system should be implemented gradually, allowing organizations to prepare themselves to deal with the changes introduced.
4. Monitoring and Evaluation
- Monitoring and evaluation system should be designed to promote result-based accountability and trust in governance.
- Mechanisms to provide feedback should be put in place to support double loop learning.
5. Data Integration
- Database should be designed and established following these criteria: identify goals, objectives and data users; create mutual understanding among concerned organizations; set up a data portal; aim for comprehensive data sources; and align with the budget allocation process.
- Database should cover various aspects of policy, e.g. industry, investment, knowledge domain, for instance.
- Big data analytics should be incorporated.
- Right of access should be taken into account.