The National Innovation Agency (NIA) was established by the Ministry of Science and Technology on October 1, 2003. It operated as an autonomous agency, under the supervision and policy guidance of the National Innovation Board, but outside the normal framework of the civil service and state enterprise. From September 2, 2009 onwards, NIA was restructured and became the “National Innovation Agency (Public Organization)” or NIA, while remaining under the umbrella of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
NIA undertakes a broad-based and systematic approach in facilitating innovation development in Thailand, both in terms of making improvements and pioneering new initiatives. More precisely, NIA focuses on fostering strategic innovation and sectoral-industry innovation, which enhances national productivity, encourages economic restructuring and social development as well as promoting national competitiveness. NIA also focuses on coordinating industrial clusters both at the policy and operational levels, promoting innovation culture and building up innovation systems, with a broader aim to transform Thailand into an innovation-driven economy.
The establishment of NIA is considered an important innovation by the Ministry of Science and Technology in changing the administrative course of the Innovation Development Fund (previously under the direction of the National Science and Technology Development Agency) and the Revolving Fund of Research and Technology Development (previously under the direction of the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology). Because of their similar missions, the two funds were combined to create a nationally recognized agency to undertake and support innovation development, in both the ways of improvement and initiation, in order to encourage economics restructuring and increase national competitiveness, especially in strategic innovation which affects the productivity of the nation.
NIA functions as a central unit in coordinating, networking and partnering different organizations from various fields such as education, technology, finance or investment but mainly focuses on utilizing knowledge management to achieve innovation, particularly to induce innovation on cluster platform which uses innovation as the principal tool in improving the quality of life and as a driving tool for competitive economics.
The course direction of NIA will be three main objectives:
- To accelerate national innovation capacity by providing support for innovation development
- To promote innovation culture and create awareness of innovation at all levels of Thai society
- To develop the effective National Innovation Ecosystem
NIA has set up 3 strategies to achieve the goal to develop the national innovation ecosystem as follows:
Strategy 1: Upgrading Innovation Capability
To accelerate innovation capacity, NIA has established 2 programs
- Strategic-Based Innovation
The direction of strategic innovation by NIA is based on the concept of thinking outside the box by analyzing the technological situation at global level, prediction of trends, strong points, challenges and possible futures for Thailand. NIA has established 5 strategic programs.
1. Innovation for Kitchen to the World
2. Organic Agriculture Business
3. Bio-Based Materials
4. Biomedical Industry
5. Clean Energy Industry
- Sector-Based Innovation
NIA has established 3 areas, namely, Bio-Business, Eco-Solutions, and Design & Solutions, which hopes to drive sectoral growth in knowledge-based industries, clusters or entire industrial sectors, thereby expanding the national productivity base.
Strategy 2: Innovation Culture Promotion
NIA has placed great importance on promoting innovation culture and creating awareness of the importance of innovation at all levels of Thai society. NIA employed various means to create an environment conductive to innovation and learning such as Innovation Management Course, Innovation Management School, National Innovation Awards etc.
Strategy 3: Building up Innovation System
Future national competitiveness is closely tied to national innovative capacity and the ability to exploit new and existing markets, improve value added products, and protect innovation. NIA has developed a series of initiatives which aim to enhance its own core competencies with the global to provide services in several areas. NIA’s own resources, networks, and collaboration with existing innovation clusters will thus be effectively used to facilitate establishment of innovation projects, and also to further enhance innovative capability at enterprise or institutional level.