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Effective Policy to Enhance Thailand’s Innovation Ecosystem 

The Thailand Science, Research and Innovation (TSRI) agency has joined forces with the World Bank to enhance national innovation policies and foster productivity growth in Thailand. Conducting a Policy Effectiveness Review (PER), the partnership between the Thailand Science, Research and Innovation (TSRI) agency and the World Bank aims to evaluate the implementation of Thailand’s innovation policies, with a specific focus on the private sector’s science, technology, and innovation initiatives.

The review will involve a thorough analysis of Thailand’s current science, technology and innovation policy instruments. The primary objective is to align these policies with the specific needs and requirements of the country in these domains, ensuring their effectiveness and relevance. By undertaking this review, the TSRI and the World Bank seek to enhance the effectiveness of Thailand’s innovation ecosystem and foster sustainable economic development through targeted policy interventions.

A report from World Bank cited that East Asia development will underscore the pivotal role of innovation in pushing a sustained economic recovery. Nevertheless, when it comes to innovation, several countries in the region, including Thailand, fall behind the frontrunners in this field. Thailand is positioned within the second cluster, alongside Malaysia, Vietnam, and Mongolia, with Malaysia being the closest to the leading group.

Associate Professor Dr Pattamawadee Pochanukul, the President of TSRI, expressed that the collaboration between TSRI and the World Bank is intended to facilitate knowledge transfer and the exchange of ideas, particularly focusing on the analysis of science, research, and innovation policy instruments in Thailand. The outcome could help Thailand to create relevant mechanisms and technology, science, and innovation measurement, which can espouse the innovation capabilities of the Thai private sector at a larger scope. “This is the key factor in increasing Thailand’s economic competitiveness.”

Based on existing national innovation system research, innovation performance in Thailand is hindered by several factors, including the skills gap, characterised by a scarcity of technical workforce, inadequate collaboration among different government agencies, limited scientific output, and weak connections between firms and research centres, poses a significant challenge.

Furthermore, although imported intermediate inputs and technology are accessible, there is a notable absence of systematic mechanisms for firms to absorb and apply technology effectively. Access to finance is also identified as the primary constraint for growth among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In order to stimulate innovation, policymakers should give precedence to specific policies, considering the varying technological capabilities of the private sector within the country. These capabilities exhibit substantial disparities between large firms with international connections and small domestic enterprises.

Cecile Thioro Niang, the Practice Manager for Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation for East Asia and Pacific at the World Bank, believes that innovation holds the potential to propel Thailand towards attaining high-income status. This partnership is expected to contribute valuable insights into the development of effective innovation policies that drive sustainable productivity growth.

Moreover, considering the risks and costs associated with climate change for Thailand and its neighbouring countries, prioritising innovation and the adoption of new technologies becomes imperative. Implementing cleaner and more energy-efficient production methods will be crucial in reducing carbon emissions.

TSRI will finance this technical assistance programme through the utilisation of the World Bank’s Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) framework. Within the framework of RAS programmes, the World Bank collaborates with middle and high-income countries upon their request, offering advisory services, analytical support, and implementation assistance to address significant development challenges.


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