Author: @Bea

A conversation with Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul. President of NSTDA

A conversation with Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul. President of NSTDA

We met Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul a couple of weeks ago in Thailand. He is the President of Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency, an organization focused on increasing Thailand’s reputation as a global competitor in the fields of scientific research and technology, with the aim of modernising the country’s industries, growing GDP, and improving quality of life for the people of Thailand.
Dr. Sirilertworakul holds a BA in Industrial Engineering and a PhD in Manufacturing Engineering. He has extensive experience in research, management, and quality, and was a founding member of the Thailand Quality Awards. Dr. Sirilertworakul also serves as a Chairman on the boards of several innovation and technology-based businesses.

Watch the video:
Read the transcript here ⊲

Narong: My name is Narong Sirilertworakul. Currently, I am the president of NSTDA. That stands for National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand.

Nerina: What are the goals of your organization?

Narong: Actually, NSTDA is the government agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Our mission is to increase the competitiveness of Thailand using S&T in order to provide the technology for our industries, as well as our local community to increase their quality of life.

Nerina: What are the challenges?

Narong: The challenges are the number of researchers because the number of researchers in Thailand is about 15 per 10,000 people or population of Thai people. We would like to increase that up to 25. And also, most of the students right now, they don’t like to study science and technology, so we need to keep in touch with them, and also increase the S&T awareness to our people.

Nerina: You have different fields of research, right?

Narong: Actually, we consist of four national centers. The first center is Biotechnology. The second one is Metal and Materials Technology Center. The third one is Electronic and Computer Technology Center, and also the fourth one is Nanotechnology.

Nerina: Which one is the most promising one, and why?

Narong: Biotechnology because Thailand is the land of farmers. Thailand is the land of biodiversity. We collect a lot of microorganisms. At the moment, we are number one in ASEAN, and probably number five in the world, and also number three in Asia. At the moment, we would like to improve our bio national bank to collect not only the microorganisms. We’re going to collect the seed, and also the animal cells, as well as the human genome as the basics for the crowd that is going to use those resources to improve our production and introduce new industry in Thailand. And also, agriculture is our main product that we export, but normally we export only the resources as raw materials. We would like to improve it and modify it to be a high value-added product using the biotechnologies.

Nerina: What is your vision for the organization?

Narong: NSTDA is one of the major research centers in Thailand. Our vision is to create a new industry to increase the GDP of Thailand to come out of the middle income trap. In order to do that, we need to increase our number of research personnel, as well as increase the number of S&T investment both from the government and also from the private sector. And also, at the moment, we introduced the area we call Innovation Park. It’s called Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation, EECi, and it’s going to be in Rayong Province. In that area, we’re going to introduce the transformational research mostly over there, and also, we’re going to introduce a lot of research partners over there, and work closely with the national and multinational companies, as well as the big companies in Thailand.

Nerina: An important focus is on collaboration among researchers and companies. Why?

Narong: I think when we’re talking about science and technology, I think science and technology has no border. Science and technology is for the whole of mankind. So, we can learn each other even though the environment is different, the way of thinking is different, the raw material is different, but the technology itself is still the same. So, if we can learn, we can share as much as we can because some of the technology, okay, it may be confidential for business, but some of them are open, so at the moment we’re talking about open innovation. When you talk a lot, when you chat a lot, you will learn a lot in certain technologies.

Nerina: What is your personal dream?

Narong: Actually, my personal dream is the same as the reason for our organization because I run the organization. How we improve our quality of life especially for Thai people using S&T. That’s it.

Nada Al-Hudaid

Nada Al-Hudaid
PhD student, filmmaker

I decided to be a Traces.Dreams ambassador because I meet many great people and it is a great opportunity to highlight some of the research topics that have potential for making a change.

I am going to share stories about people, films, and projects that inspire me and help other people in various ways.
I am specializing in the anthropology of religious art and visual representations.

I am a social anthropology PhD with visual media candidate at the University of Manchester. My research is a study of a sub-cultural groups in Kuwait who create rites that enable them to serve the cause of Ahl Al-Bayt within their community, nationally and transnationally with other Shi‘a elsewhere, while striving to maintain their connection with their religious history and to keep certain traditions alive through new forms of adaptations. More specifically, I focused on pious Shi‘a artists and their religious work in Kuwait. This work is based on one year ethnographic research in Kuwait in 2015. Most academic work on Shi‘a are on people who are politically charged or live in an unstable political environments. This, coupled with mainstream media representation of Shi‘a, provide unbalanced perspectives of Shi‘a who live elsewhere. Therefore, my research provide an alternative narrative of Shi‘a who live in a stable and rich country.

Further to my ethnographic research experience, I did a two years masters in visual culture studies at the Australian National University. Also, I did ethnographic research for nine months with an aboriginal center in Canberra and focused on the challenges of higher education among Australian aboriginal students.

In addition to my academic work, I am a photographer and filmmaker who worked in producing and directing various short narrative and documentary films. My last work before taking a break to focus on PhD is called Hijabi Girls which went to many film festivals around the world including Cannes film corner. It was also featured on BBC three website and shown on TV as part of a documentary called Through Your Lens in 2015 about emerging filmmakers in the UK.

Marianna Loizzi

Marianna Loizzi
Chemistry Student

I have decided to be a Traces.Dreams ambassador because there is an army of young scientists over there, hidden by the walls of labs and offices, working to make our world a better place, and I truly believe they deserve more visibility.

Therefore, I am going to share the stories of the future generation of scientists, their dreams and their passions.

The focus of my PhD project was mainly medicinal chemistry. More specifically, I tried to understand how, on a molecular level, an enzyme extracted from the cotton plant can produce its products. More specifically, I tried to see how can these enzymes can make different products, and see how their pathways can be modified to make new useful drugs.

The final aim of the project, which is still ongoing with plenty of PhD students and Postdoc working on it, is to get a full understand of these enzymes, and being able to engineer them so they can make the medicines we need, in just minutes. This is a new way to do medicinal chemistry, but I believe this field is shifting towards this new approach. The traditional idea of a chemist spending days if not months in the lab to produce medicines is slowing fading away.

Nature has always been smarter than us, and it provided the world already these little drug-like making machines which could potentially do in minutes what a human chemist can do in days. We just need to understand how they do that! Where do I see myself in 10 years? Oh, who knows! My biggest motivation in life, for how naïve it sounds, is to improve people’s life or at least try. I studied Pharmacy so I could help people getting the right medicines and cure, I did a PhD in chemistry so I could try to discover a faster way to produce medicines.

And now I work for a company that helps the communication between Doctors and Patients so that a better service and healthcare is provided because everyone deserves a good efficient care. The future? We will see! I need to thank my dad for my journey so far. He is the best GP I have ever met, always there for the people, nights, bank holidays, did not really matter. He was more a friend than a doctor to his patients, and even now that he is in retirement, people keep knocking at his door for advice. I would like to become like him, admired not for his success, but for the good he did. and keeps doing, to the world.

Nerina Finetto

Nerina Finetto
Founder and Director

Falling in love is perhaps the shortest way between two people. A shared story, a conversation is probably the second shortest. You fall in love by chance but you have a conversation by choice. Cultivate it!

I was born in Italy, where I studied literature. I researched gender history, made prize-winning documentaries about innovation and technology, produced business television programs and corporate videos in Germany.

I became a mother of four, lost one of them, lost my way, then found it again thanks to the other three. I’m a story listener with a passion for people, a mission for helping great people tell great stories and the vision of making the world a little bit wiser. I am based in Stockholm and work with a small international team.

Ekaterina Pugacheva

Ekaterina Pugacheva
On maternity leave

“As a Social Media Manager, I am proud to grow Traces&Dreams Community in a natural and social way.
I am also keen on facilitating conversations across borders.”

Ekaterina Pugacheva has a Ph.D. in International relations from Saint Petersburg State University. She has over 5 years of experience in event management, digital marketing, and product marketing, gained through positions in major international companies operating in Russia and Asia.

Beatrice Audétat

Beatrice Audétat
Web Designer & Developer

Design means giving shape.

As a Web-Designer and Web-Developer, I am proud to help shape a place where researchers can express their findings and positions, through which future is shaped and new culture is created, – which is what we are in need of, to build a peaceful society.

To me research is the highest form of education.

#followup with Paul Mason

#followup with Paul Mason

Last year, we spoke to the medical anthropologist Paul Mason who told up about his research on tuberculosis. On the occasion of the World Tuberculosis Day, 24 March 2018, we spoke with him again. Listen to Paul and learn more about TB and Daru Island.

Watch the video:

Introducing the World Sustainable Development Forum

Introducing the World Sustainable Development Forum

Few would disagree that there’s growing evidence showing the terrible impact of climate change on our planet, but what exactly is being done about it? Although the Paris Climate Agreement is a step in the right direction, researchers and scientists believe that more focus needs to be given to the technological, economic, and policy dimensions of the challenge facing modern society today, as we are tasked with preserving the planet’s natural resources. Ahead of the World Sustainable Development Forum in Mexico City this week, its President, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, spoke to Traces.Dreams about the aims of the Forum, and the necessity in establishing long-term goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the delicate ecosystems of our planet over the next century.

Watch the video:

Traces&Dreams AB

c/o Impact Hub
Jakobsbergsgatan 22
111 44 Stockholm Sweden
Org. nr: 559336-2196

Join the community

Subscribe here to our newsletters and learn more about narratives, futures, and positive change.

Copyright © Traces&Dreams AB 2023

Privacy Policy