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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thai-UK Uni Consortium Elevates Rankings!

British Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), strides forward in fostering Thai-UK cooperation through the ‘Thai-UK World-class University Consortium’ project. This aims to advance and promote education at the tertiary level by establishing international networks and reforming academic teaching, advanced research, and comprehensive institutional development. The goal is to elevate education standards towards producing high-quality graduates, a critical mechanism in driving the country’s economic and social stability. In 2024, a total of seven Thai universities, across 15 fields of study, are participating, including Chulalongkorn University, Kasetsart University, Chiang Mai University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Mahidol University, Thammasat University, and Naresuan University. The target is to accelerate efforts and enhance capabilities to position Thai educational institutions as internationally recognised entities and aim towards the top 100 ranking of global universities in the near future.

Mr Danny Whitehead, Director of the British Council in Thailand stated, “The Thai-UK World-class University Consortium project aims to leverage the expertise and capabilities of Thailand and the United Kingdom, covering scientists, researchers, students, and universities. The project is expected to foster collaboration between Thai and UK universities to address global problems and challenges. These collaborations span various fields, including climate change, sustainable agriculture, peace and security, as well as health and public health. This cooperation helps drive economic development and fosters mutual trust and understanding between the peoples of Thailand and the United Kingdom.”

Mr. Punpermsak Aruni, Director of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Drive and Development Division and Head of Strategic Management Division ,MHESI, asserted, “The development and promotion of higher education stand as pivotal mechanisms in propelling our nation’s stability, both economically and socially. In the year 2024, MHESI stands ready to spearhead a comprehensive overhaul of higher education, positioning itself to respond to and address our nation’s developmental potential. This includes a strategic partnership with the British Council, an international organisation, through the Thai-UK World-Class University Consortium project. Such collaboration plays a pivotal role for MHESI, enhancing and cultivating opportunities for higher education institutions in Thailand by forging alliances with universities in the United Kingdom. Our aim is to elevate capabilities in teaching and university management systems by drawing upon the expertise of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, we are committed to fostering advanced research projects that align with the evolving global landscape, with international linkages in vital areas such as EV-AI Soft Power and medical science. These efforts are geared towards upgrading the knowledge base and competitiveness of Thai universities, positioning them to rival the world’s leading institutions and producing high-calibre graduates equipped to propel sustainable development and resilience for our nation’s future.”

Rattachat Mongkolnavin Ph.D Associate Professor at Chulalongkorn University and Chairman of Committee on Enhancing Quality of Higher Education toward International Standards, Office of the Permanent Secretary, MHESI, stressed, “The collaboration between Thailand and the United Kingdom, as part of the [Thai-UK World-Class University Consortium] project, extends beyond mere cooperation and support within network structures of Thailand’s higher education institutions with international counterparts. It also aligns seamlessly with the Re-inventing University policy framework, aimed at comprehensively revitalising and enhancing the environmental systems of Thai higher education institutions. This holistic approach covers reforms across management systems, curriculum adjustments, and teaching methodologies, all geared towards fostering excellence and enabling universities to compete on a global scale. The overarching objective is to elevate the capabilities of higher education institutions, empowering them to excel internationally. This collaborative effort has culminated in the categorisation of higher education institutions into five distinct groups, each dedicated to reforming the higher education, science, research, and innovation systems to address the country’s developmental and excellence imperatives. These groups are delineated as follows:

1.Global and Frontier Research.

2.Technology and Innovation

3.Area-Based & Community

4.Moral & Intellectual Cultivation

5.Specialized & Professional

The success over the past three years of the project, reflected through 23 collaborative projects between 7 Thai and 14 UK universities, supported by the British Council and Thailand’s MHESI, has begun to yield tangible results. For example, a project between the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, led by Dr Natawan Uthumpruekporn, in collaboration with University College London, has conducted postgraduate medical studies focusing on audiology and self-adjustment for the first time in Thailand, making Thailand a regional training hub. This has attracted physicians from other countries to study at Chulalongkorn University. Furthermore, this collaboration has led to innovations in advanced patient care for hearing-impaired patients and self-screening through a mobile application, which is currently available for free download to the public.

In terms of educational development, Assoc Prof Phatthariya Kijcharoen, Vice Dean for International Relations and Communication at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, has been leading a project in collaboration with the University of Reading for over three years. They have successfully developed an international double-degree programme in Society Design Development Programme, aiming to incubate change agents who will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and qualifications from both Mahidol University and the University of Reading in the UK.

Assoc Prof Suphachitra Chatchawan from the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, who has been collaborating with the University of Liverpool, highlighted the benefits of participating in the programme, stating that it has facilitated joint research efforts between researchers and professors from both universities. This collaboration, utilising the expertise of both parties to address research topics of mutual interest, has resulted in more in-depth research outcomes. Additionally, the development of research through this collaboration has led to Thai students participating in the programme through the Dual PhD Programme, contributing to the development of new researchers in related research fields in the future. New Thai researchers have begun to co-publish with UK researchers as a result of this collaboration.

In its fourth year in 2024, the British Council and Thailand’s MHESI continue to consolidate cooperation with 7 Thai universities across 15 fields of study. These include:

1.Chulalongkorn University, with 7 departments (Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Biological Sciences, Medicine, 2 projects in Geography, and Development Science).

2.Kasetsart University with 1 department (Agricultural and Forestry).

3.Chiang Mai University with 1 department (Medicine)

4.King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi with 1 department (Biological Sciences)

5.Mahidol University with 3 departments (Biological Sciences, Medicine, and Development Science)

6.Thammasat University with 1 department (Development Science).

7.Naresuan University with 1 department (Architecture).

For updates and activities at the British Council in Thailand throughout the year, visit the website at www.britishcouncil.or.th and the British Council Thailand Facebook page or via the LINE Official @studyukthailand.

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