The key to free Thailand from the middle-income trap is to employ technology and innovation to create high-value goods and services to drive an innovation-based economy and society. As industry is an essential player in the development of innovation-driven economy, it is necessary to empower enterprises to innovate and create technology that will bring about commercially viable products and services. Limited access to funding, market and technology is the main reason preventing innovation in firms to take off. To address this problem, NXPO has introduced a new program called Thailand Business Innovation Research (TBIR).
What is TBIR?
TBIR is a funding program aimed at encouraging local enterprises to engage in research demanded by the government sector. The program consists of the following actors:
- Government agencies – Government organizations mainly provide funding and take on the risk of research and innovation. They identify needs for technology and innovation that will enable them to either fulfill their mission or solve current social problems or create economic impact. They will also serve as initial users of such technology and innovation before connecting to other potential users.
- Enterprises – Enterprises play a role of inventors of technology and innovation demanded by government agencies. In addition to creating innovation, enterprises also increase their potential through TBIR.
- Universities – Universities provide R&D support and mentorship to enterprises.
TBIR comes with a mechanism to promote government-university-industry collaboration through joint research, technology/knowledge transfer and access to research facility, thus ensuring that all resources are directed towards the creation of innovation in firms.
TBIR is expected to create a big impact to the economy and the society, enabling government agencies to develop solutions to pertinent problems and building innovation capacity of industry.
As the main task of government agencies is to promote social and economic development in order to improve its people’s quality of life, it is vital for government agencies to embrace and employ technology and innovation to enable them to fulfil their commitments and TBIR is a mechanism that can help facilitate this process by connecting government agencies to solution providers in the private sector. Innovations fitting the TBIR framework are, for instance, public health service system, traffic monitoring system and water management system.
With a large number of SMEs in Thailand, TBIR is expected to drive the growth of SMEs by acting as a financing facility providing research grants to SMEs and startup companies. By allowing enterprises to own intellectual properties derived from the research grant, thus expediting the commercialization process, this program helps turn SMEs and startups into innovation-driven enterprises which are the primary engine to fuel an innovation-driven economy.