New bill aims to boost R&D and incentivise researchers

The cabinet has approved a draft bill that promotes the use of RD and lets researchers own the right to transfer their research to private companies.

Nathporn Chatusripitak, an adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office minister, said on Tuesda that once the bill comes into force, researchers who won financial support from the government’s research agencies will be eligible to own the right to transfer the research to the private sector for commercial purposes.

Under the current structure, researchers sponsored by the government have no rights to their work, which belongs, by law, to the state agencies that provide financial support.

“The researchers are the ones who know the best the benefit of their work,” Mr Nathporn said. “The government is hopeful that the bill will help promote the development of startups and small and medium enterprises. The bill also aims to enhance sharing between universities, researchers and the private sector.”

According to the new bill, if the research is not used for a commercial purpose within two years, the rights will default to the owners of the fund.

“The bill is based on the systems used in Japan, India and South Korea, where such laws have produced a big jump in intellectual property,” Mr Nathporn said.

The Science and Technology Ministry reported that Thailand’s investment in RD was 114 billion baht, equal to 0.78% of GDP in 2016. The government’s investment in RD accounted for 27% of the total.

The cabinet also approved in principle a draft bill on educational innovation areas.

The new bill aims to increase efficiency, reduce disparity and attract related agencies to participate in education management.

The educational innovation area initiative is expected to be developed in three provinces: Rayong, Sri Sa Ket and Satun, according to Mr Nathporn.

Rayong is the province with the highest economic output in Thailand, while Sri Sa Ket is the country’s eighth-poorest province and Satun has a multi-ethnic population.

“The scheme can later be applied nationwide,” Mr Nathporn said.

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