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PHUKET: The National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI) last week called a meeting in Phuket of the 10 Asean countries to discuss scientific advancement and flow of manpower as the inception of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) looms.

“The objective of this workshop is to provide a forum in which experts can exchange their views and ideas about the advancement of science and technology as the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes to fruition,” said Dr Pichet Durongkaveroj, Secretary General of STI.

The two-day Asean Talent Mobility Workshop was held on Thursday and Friday in Patong, and was attended by experts from Thailand and the other nine Asean countries, as well as advisers from the European Union and South Korea.

“We want to explore potential development of Asean Talent Mobility (ATM) programs as a platform for the exchange and movement of highly-skilled human resources among Asean countries and other interested parties,” said Dr Pichet.

“National and regional mobility policies and strategies need to be aligned in order to foster successful collaboration on Asean ATM programs. This will allow the AEC to be more economically competitive.”

After two days of meetings and presentations, Dr Pichet said a lot of useful information was exchanged in the fields of science, technology and innovation focusing on the Asean region.

“We will take what we have learned and apply it to allow for the flow of commerce, investment, industry and manpower,” he said.

Thailand has more than 50,000 people employed as researchers in various fields of science.

“However, we do not have enough researchers to cover all fields. This is why it will be crucial for us to join together as members of AEC and allow for the movement of manpower between countries. It will provide opportunities for talented workers and researchers to pursue their work in the field they are passionate about,” added Dr Pichet.

More meetings will be held in upcoming months to further discuss scientific advancements after the AEC comes together.

— Chutharat Plerin