A group of 19 participantscomposed of six members of the Regional R & D Coordinating Committee (RRDCC)/Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG), three program coordinators, one Consortium Director, one RRDCC Chairman, and eight ViCARP/VSU staff conducted on September 23-27, 2013 a Continuing Education on Agricultural Research and Technology Management in Bangkok, Thailand.

The study program aimed to enhance the country’s enabling mechanism for technology management. It also provided the ViCARP-RRDCC and the RTWG members of Eastern Visayas, who are the frontliners of technology management in the region, to be exposed to the success stories and best practices in agricultural research and technology management of Thailand.

The group visited the Thailand Science Park where the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) that houses the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) are located. They were welcomed by Ms. Sronkanok Tangjaijit, personnel of BIOTEC, who did the briefing on the different programs undertaken by the Center.

In his part, Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, ViCARP-RRDCC Chair and VSU President who also served as head of the delegation, presented an overview about VSU and ViCARP.

Dr. Sirawut Klinbunga, on the other hand, presented the success stories and best practices in agricultural research and technology management in Thailand. The presentation was suplemented with a tour to the different laboratories such as the Monoclonal Antibody Production Laboratory, Microarray Laboratory and Plant Physiology, and Biochemistry Laboratory.

As a premier research institute in Thailand and Asia, BIOTEC operates research units and specialized laboratories hosted by various universities, employing over 544 staff, of which 155 are Ph.D. researchers, 245 research assistants, and 144 laboratory technicians. BIOTEC research covers a wide spectrum from agricultural science to biomedical science and environmental science. Apart from research laboratories, BIOTEC activities also include policy research, outreach program, training and international relations.

The group also visited the Scientific Equipment and Research Division (SERD) of the Kasetsart University Research and Development Institute (KURDI). SERD conducts scientific innovation and new knowledge in two main research areas: 1) agriculture and food biotechnology, and 2) bioenergy and environmental sciences. It also manages the five different units that serve both for research and academic activities.

These include the following: Biotechnology Unit – conducts research and provides instruments in molecular biology, plant conservation and plant improvement using genetic engineering, tissue culture and protoplast techniques; Environmental Science Unit – conducts chemistry and environmental sciences research and provides scientific equipment to students and researchers; Microscopy Unit – conducts research and provides microscope services such as light microscope with digital camera, transmission and scanning electron microscope with the energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer; Mycotoxins Unit – conducts mycotoxins research which include risk assessment and management of mycotoxins contamination in agricultural commodities and food, diversity of mycotoxin-producing fungi and development of efficient and rapid method for determination of mycotoxin; and Administrative and General Service Unit –coordinates within and outside division and provides services on building facilities including audiovisual aids.

After their exposure and immersion to some scientific activities, the group never missed experiencing the Thai culture. They had experienced a dinner on board of the Chaopraya Princess Cruise Ship, visited the Wat Arun and the Grand Palace, witnessed a cultural show at the Sampran Riverside Auditorium, and observed the view of Bangkok City at night as seen from the 77th floor of Thailand’s tallest Baiyoke Sky Tower.

According to Ms. Pauline S. Caintic, Science Research Assistant of ViCARP, they learned a lot by being able to observe and understand the system and practices of technology management in Thailand as they demonstrated the use of technological innovation for economic development.

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