UK-Thailand Partnership condensed over joint astronomical research under Newton Fund

SWISSÔTEL Nai Lert Park, Bangkok, Thailand

12 September 2016

Science and Technology Facilities Council - STFC, United Kingdom joined hands with National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) – NARIT, Ministry of Science and Technology to enhance research and innovative collaborations in astronomy, as a symbolic threshold to mark the new beginning of the following Capacity Building in Software and Hardware Infrastructures and Data Handling through Astronomy.



        The Signing Ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions was held earlier today by Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum – NARIT Executive Director and Dr. Katharine Hollinshead – 21st Century Challenge Programme Manager of STFC as signatories. The event was officially witnessed by Ms. Margaret Tongue – Deputy Head of Mission from the British Embassy Bangkok and Dr. Saran Poshyachinda – NARIT Deputy Director. The event gathered over 50 attendees from both UK and Thailand as research astronomers in the related fields are encouraged to attend the STFC – NARIT Scoping Workshop over the following 3 days.



        The workshop aims to create collaboration and partnership among UK and Thai researchers in astronomy under the Newton UK-Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund, in order to promote bilateral joint astronomical research. At the end of these fruitful workshop and discussion, it is hoped that researchers will be able to later on develop the outline of at least four project proposals in which focus specifically on four main categories including mechatronics, VLBI (Very-long-baseline interferometry) and public outreach to support STEM subjects in schools. Ultimately, the scoping workshop offers a great deal of opportunity for those project proposals to be funded by Newton Fund.

        The Newton Fund promotes the economic development and welfare in partnering countries, through science and innovation partnerships. It aims to strengthen science and innovation capacity and unlock further funding to support poverty alleviation. It is managed by UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and delivered through 15 UK delivery partners in collaboration with 16 partner countries. The 2014-launched-fund initiates £1.3 million, which is equivalent to THB 60 million for upcoming projects to be approved from this scoping workshop in the above mention.



        Prof. Boonrucksar mentioned over his remark that “today marks a very special occasion that our collaborative efforts under Newton Fund are finally put in place. I also believe that STFC will share with NARIT the drive towards innovative culture and spirit in Thailand and the UK alike. I am glad to say that the pool of expertise that we have today will allow NARIT to undertake a more significant role in leading research worldwide as part of the efforts to remake Thailand as a knowledge based economy.”



        Dr. Katharine Hollinshead was also delighted to oblige by quoting in her remark of Sir Isaac Newton’s “We build too many walls and not enough bridges, and STFC is committed to build more bridges with NARIT from now on.”

We will keep you posted on more updates of the scoping workshop that is already on its way this afternoon. Stay tuned for constructive ideas and projects to be emerged out of this excitingly new-era collaboration!