Lanna Hospitality charms British Ambassador and Honorary Consul during NARIT Visit.

Lanna Hospitality charms British Ambassador and Honorary Consul during NARIT Visit.

NARIT, Chiang Mai, Thailand

7 October 2016

The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) turns its temporary headquarters on Huay Kaew Road in the very heart of Chiang Mai into a cozy northern Lanna-style accommodation to welcome His Excellency Brian Davidson – British Ambassador to Thailand, who pays an exclusive visit to discuss on its mission, infrastructures, international collaboration and above all, the recent cooperation under Newton Fund.


Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum – NARIT Executive Director, along with Dr. Saran Poshyachinda – NARIT Deputy Director lead the team of homegrown executives, research astronomers and officers to extend a traditional hospitality to the British Ambassador, who was accompanied by Mr. Ben Robert Svasti – British Honorary Consul, Chiang Mai during his visit to northern Thailand.



In this special occasion, the honorable guests of diplomats and NARIT executives discussed upon various topics including the ongoing project collaborations that NARIT is currently sharing the Memoranda of Understanding with its UK counterparts such as the University of Sheffield, University of Warwick, University of Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University. Prof. Boonrucksar hosted an exclusive presentation on NARIT overall mission, infrastructures (AstroPark – the upcoming headquarters located in Chiang Mai outskirts, 5 nationwide Regional Observatories for the Public located in all regions across Thailand to name a few.) Most currently, they discussed on the matter of Newton Fund – the collaborative partnership between NARIT and STFC – Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, under the Newton UK-Thailand Research and Innovation Partnership Fund.



Earlier in September, NARIT together with the British Embassy Bangkok, initiated the first of its kind “NARIT – STFC Scoping Workshop in Capacity Building in Software and Hardware Infrastructures and Data Handling through Astronomy” to galvanize ideas amidst researchers of both ends to propose their project proposals to be funded by Newton Fund and the Royal Thai Government. Resulting in 8 projects categorized under 4 main themes (mechatronics, VLBI, data handling and outreach to support STEM subjects in schools). They are soon to be proposed to the joint expert panels via the Research Council UK (RCUK) by the middle of November.



The aforementioned Newton Fund project between NARIT and STFC as delivery partners is mainly aimed to foster development in economic, education and innovation by using astronomy as a tool. In this case, it is hoped to enforce the development of an existing 2.4-metre Thai National Observatory (TNO), starting a fundamental network of Thai VLBI and ultimately connect with the worldwide VLBI, capacity building and training focused on human resources to name a few.



His Excellency and the Honorary Consul are both very keen on the updates of such projects. It is agreed upon the end of the visit that we shall see more and more of collaborations between NARIT and the UK counterparts at different levels and aspects in the years ahead.