September 11, 2020 a Peerasit Khamnuansin Room, College of Local Administration – Khon Kaen University by the Research and Graduate Studies Section, and Division of Research Administration held a seminar and special talks on “National Research Direction: Research that Challenges Universities”. Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University presided over the opening ceremony, conveyed an opening speech and gave a special talk. Among honorable participants and speakers were Prof. Monchai Duangchinda, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; Assoc. Prof. Maitree Inprasitha, Ph.D., Vice President for Education and Academic Service; Prof. Phewpan Maleewong, M.D., Assistant to the President for Research and Graduate Studies; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Peerasit Khamnuansin, Dean of COLA; and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rachapon Santiwarakorn, Dean of Faculty of Engineering. A lot of lecturers, researchers, and graduate students attended. The key guest speaker at this event was Prof. Dr. Kanok Wongtra-ngan, Vice President of the Committee on Science, Technology, Research and Innovation from the House of Representatives.
Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D. said that Khon Kaen University conducts a lot of research, which leads to creation of projects that benefit the public, such as Poverty Mitigation Project, Health Care Projects including cholangiocarcinoma project, chronic renal disease project; education-related project including Mathematics learning and smart Learning; regional development projects, which are KKU’s intention to improve the region as a center of Me Kong. All of these projects rely on research and here KKU takes a key role to develop the country in many dimensions in order to upgrade people’s living. The special talk on “National Research Direction: Research that Challenges Universities” will spark researchers’ ideas for their research planning and as a result, there will emerge bodies of knowledge beneficial to the society, bringing about good living.
Prof. Dr. Kanok Wongtra-ngan, Vice President of the Committee on Science, Technology, Research and Innovation from the House of Representatives mentioned in his talk that the country’s research direction and challenging research for universities would lead to solution of the nation’s problems. This is the principle strategy of present research. When research can be put into use, the good outcomes will occur to the country. The integrated research applying all sciences that can solve problems is very useful. Administrative systems should be built where achievements in terms of problem solution are emphasized and suitable amount of budget allocated. What is important is that all sciences must take part in research, and the research findings are applied to solve problems in real situations. In this regard, cooperation with community people is a must and the people should be guided until they reach success. Then the outcomes can be extended to other areas. Appropriate use of research in many contexts and environment involves value creation. The results should be produced quickly. This can be achieved by applying science, technology and innovation with creativity, which will in turn lead to more innovations, tools, machines for production and manufacturing of products and services. Research should be emphasized in areas that create incomes for the people and at the same time reduce people’s expenses. Research that can create incomes for the country is in food and food products. The new income-building area is producing goods from nature and natural extracts such as amino acid from crickets, mushrooms, herbs, xanthin from mangosteen peels; which would lead to health promotion products. KKU takes a leading role in this regard. Moreover, tools and devices to extract matters from plants, insects and herbs should be developed because they correspond to the strength of Thailand in 3 aspects, namely, food, health and tourism. It is confident that research work of KKU can be put to use in country development, and this is an outstanding point of KKU. Khon Kaen University has succeeded in the past and will do so in the future in a broader area, applicable in other places both domestically and abroad.
Prof. Monchai Duangchinda, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies said that this seminar enables us to vision clearly that Khon Kaen University’s research does not only aim at publication of research findings, but also drives forward community economy, builds good living for the people, solving the nation’s problems. Such implementation requires research knowledge, in-depth sciences mixed with the works in the field of humanities and social sciences. As such, research outcomes will be utilized and help strengthen the community. As we all know, the gap in the present society is rather big. Those at the top of the social pyramid are already strong. Thus, we should look at the middle class, SME and new businesses that are now facing problems due to the spread of Covid-19. Khon Kaen University sees the problems and is determined to provide assistance to some extent. The target groups are those facing problems because they are out of jobs and farmers who are the majority. One answer is building new occupations with high values. What is important is research related to farming and foods, for it can be extended and adds values to the produces. For example, vegetable and chicken farms can be for another purpose in extraction of important matters. In this respect, production systems have to be designed along with scientific verification. Manufacturing must now link to foods, health, and tourism. Food is the basic story of farmers, for it brings income and more occupations. Health is linked to food because many diseases now develop from food intake such as renal disease, heart disease or diabetes. Khon Kaen University is carrying out research on indigenous animals and foods, which are the indicators of the multiplicity of Isan. If key elements can be drawn from flora and fauna, leading to some indications for health care and improvement, then finally tourism can be involved, i.e., tourists may come to Isan to consume products from farming here, resulting in more income distribution. When the 3 items are brought together, the result is a new topic called Gastronomy Tourism.
Prof. Monchai Duangchinda added that Khon Kaen University has a policy to support research program, which means integration of research in many disciplines together. This corresponds to KKU’s Research Transformation policy, which emphasizes co-working of different researcher groups. KKU has a plan to support this research program through the Research and Graduate Studies Section. It is expected that the multi-disciplinary research will lead to more manufacturing of foods, innovations in medicine and problem solutions for the community, as KKU is dedicated to the social and community. Therefore, research work can vary, in-depth, creating bodies of knowledge, research for communities and research for adding values to the society.
This event is partly using KKU’s vision in development towards being a world class research and development university. It answers the strategy in administrative cooperation and research transformation. KKU aims at increasing researchers so that mega-research project can be carried out in the form of Research Program. Research work will then bring about creation of new products and commercial innovations. KKU therefore promotes research work of personnel and encourages them to be supported in terms of monetary from different funds. Quality research work outcomes that are accepted internationally and that are useful to the public and communities are KKU’s goal.
[ Thai ]
News / Photos: Natthawut Jaruwong