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The UK launches Newton Fund with Thailand

The Newton Fund is worth upto 1 billion baht over five years for science and innovation partnership with Thailand.

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The UK launches Newton Fund with Thailand

Through the Newton UK - Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund worth upto 1 billion baht over 5 years, the UK and Thailand will build strong, sustainable, systematic relationships that enable research and innovation to contribute to Thailand’s economic development and social welfare.

The UK announced the Newton UK - Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund with support of upto £10 million over five years, for science and innovation partnership with Thailand. The launch was attended by Prof. Dr. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Deputy Prime Minister, HE Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Thailand, Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Science and Technology and Prof. Robin Grimes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

At the launch, Prof. Robin Grimes, who is a Fellow of UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng)( signed two MOUs on behalf of the RAEng for the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship Programme with Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Thailand Research Fund (TRF).

Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Thailand said:

Through the Newton fund, the UK is using its strength in research and innovation to promote the economic development and social welfare of Thailand. Funding of upto £2 million per year will be available for collaboration with Thailand and the intention is that this is a genuine partnership with an equivalent contribution from Thailand, and joint decision making between the UK and Thai delivery partners on the focus of the activities.

Prof. Dr. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister said:

A key government policy is development and promotion of the use of science, technology and innovation. Budget for R&D will be increased, especially on the topics related to national demands. More scholarships and research funds will be provided for joint projects. The Newton UK-Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund will contribute significantly to our policy in areas in which UK has world-level expertise.

Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Science and Technology said:

The Newton UK – Thailand research and innovation partnership fund is a good example of international scientific cooperation assisting Thailand to develop strong, sustainable and systemic science, technology and innovation resources and infrastructure.

Prof. Robin Grimes, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Chief Scientific Adviser said:

We are proud of the UK strength in science and innovation. With just 0.9% of the global population, UK researchers account for 6% of research all articles and 16% of the most highly cited papers. UK researchers have received more than 80 Nobel Prizes in science and UK is home to 4 of the world’s top 10 universities. Pound for pound, UK researchers are the most efficient in the G8 and attract more foreign-funded R&D than any other country. But we recognizes that science in international and cooperation with countries such as Thailand provides great opportunities including encouraging new ideas, fostering innovation for growth and meeting global challenges such as climate change, energy security and pandemic diseases.

Further information

About the Newton Fund

The UK announced the creation of the Emerging Powers Research and Innovation Fund with £375 million for collaboration with 15 countries over five years from April 2014, known as the Newton Fund, by supporting partnerships with countries such as Thailand the UK will use its strength in research and innovation to promote the economic development and social welfare of partners. By working together on bi-lateral and multi-lateral programmes with a research and innovation focus, the UK will build strong, sustainable, systemic relationships with partner countries. This collaboration will support the continued excellence of the UK research base and innovation ecosystem as well as unlocking opportunities for wider collaboration and trade.

The Fund will cover three broad categories of activity: * People: capacity building, people exchange and joint centres; * Programmes: research collaborations on development topics; and * Translation: innovation partnerships.

Priority areas will be agreed between the partners and it is expected that joint funding will support projects such as:

  • joint research on development topics;
  • student and researcher fellowships and mobility schemes;
  • challenge funds to develop innovative solutions on topics of interest to developing nations;
  • science and innovation capacity building.

About the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship Programme

The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships are a collaboration between UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, and Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency and the Thailand Research Fund. The scheme is an example collaboration under the Newton UK - Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund. It aims to build the capacity of researchers for entrepreneurship and commercialisation of research. Fifteen Thai researchers will be selected based on the excellence of their research, the potential of their idea for commercialisation, and their potential in taking the idea forward. They will benefit from a focussed period of training in the UK, access to expert mentors, and opportunities for international networking. In the short term they will develop, with the support of the programme, a commercialisation plan for their innovation. In the longer term they will benefit from on-going support at their home institution, and access to an international network of peer innovators and mentors, in taking their commercialisation plan forward.

Published 14 January 2015