In practice, certain agencies within the Thai innovation ecosystem have overlapping responsibilities, though the establishment of the new National Research and Innovation System Policy Committee (through Article 44 of Thailand’s interim constitution) might change things in the near future.

The Cabinet of Thailand and the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) both play a major role in developing innovation policy from a macroeconomic perspective, while most public sector agencies in the national innovation system have historically focused on science and technology.

A major shift in government institution has been the formation of the Ministry of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation (MHESI), which is the combination of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC), National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and Thailand Research Fund (TRF). Alongside Thailand 4.0 and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a special economic zone located on the Eastern coast of Thailand, MHESI has recently launched a 'three-dimensional model' for economic development, the BCG model, which stands for bio, circular, and green economy. This new alignment is a major push for research, science, technology and innovation. However, it is relatively fresh and thus emphasis and know-how is yet to be deeply embedded within the public sector personnel.

We estimate that there are around 645 ‘core’ innovation policymakers in Thailand, representing four levels of seniority, from Cabinet members to Executive Board members, Directors General and Deputy Directors General or Directors across these different institutions of government. This number is very high compared to some of the other countries studied, particularly as it does not include managerial and more junior staff. In comparison, we have estimated around 370 ‘core’ innovation policymakers in Indonesia and 80 in Vietnam, for respective populations of 260 million and 95 million, while Thailand has almost 650 for a population of around 70 million.

Authors

Florence Engasser

Florence Engasser

Florence Engasser

Senior Foresight Analyst

Florence is a Senior Foresight Analyst within Nesta’s Discovery Hub, which aims to create a link between Nesta’s current portfolio and our pipeline of future work.

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Benjamin Reid

Benjamin Reid

Benjamin Reid

Head of International Innovation - Development Programmes

Benjamin is head of the International Innovation team within Nesta's Policy and Research division, examining new global trends and practices in innovation, with an emphasis on emerging…

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Silvia Pau

Silvia Pau

Silvia Pau

Assistant Programme Manager, A Fairer Start mission

Silvia is an Assistant Programme Manager.

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Paulina Gonzalez-Ortega

Paulina Gonzalez-Ortega

Paulina Gonzalez-Ortega

Design Lead, International Innovation

Paulina was the Design Lead for the Global Innovation Policy Accelerator, a 14-country collaborative development programme for senior innovation policymakers.

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Nathan Kably

Nathan Kably

Nathan Kably

Senior Strategy Analyst

Nathan worked on the design and delivery of Nesta's strategy

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Anna Schlimm

Anna Schlimm

Anna Schlimm

Learning Experience Designer, Global Innovation Policy Accelerator

Anna was a Learning Experience Designer for the Global Innovation Policy Accelerator.

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