Discours à l’occasion du Campus Tour à King Mongkut’s University of Technology (KMUTT) - le 16 octobre 2018
Dear Vice President of KMUTT, Dr. Bundit Fungtammasan
Dear participants from France and Thaïland,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi for hosting us here on its campus. I can tell you it is a real pleasure to be with you on the occasion of this fifth edition of the campus Tour.
This event consists in visiting more than twenty universities all around Thailand. It is organized on an annual basis and supported by my embassy in coordination with Campus France which promotes higher education and scientific cooperation in France.
1/ As you may know, France benefits from a long and proud tradition of scientific and technological research and innovation that underpins the nation’s achievements in fields such as aeronautics and space, transportation, electronics, telecommunications, chemistry, biotechnologies, health and mathematics.
The most recent illustration of this tradition was when French scientist Gérard Mourou, a pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and laser, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, together with his previous PD-student Donna Strickland from Canada.
Let me add a few figures : France spends approximately forty-five billion euros a year for Research and Development, which represents around two point twenty-five per cent of its GDP. We count more than sixty-three thousand PhD students, of which forty-one per cent are foreigners. There are seventeen per cent of foreign scientists in the public sector and five per cent in the private industry.
All in all, more than four hundred thousand people are working in R&D, sixty per cent of them in private companies. As for public patent filings, France has been ranked second in Europe and sixth in the world. And we have the same ranking for the number of scientific publications.
2/ The second point I want to make is that we are keen on strengthening bridges with our foreign partners, to establish long terms relationships resulting in common research programs and other forms of collaboration.
Scientific and higher education cooperation is indeed at the top of the bilateral agenda between France and Thailand. The Embassy develops and supports academic collaboration and research partnerships with a special stress on young researchers. Since 201, we have provided incentives for high quality scientific exchanges through a number of tools, such as the Franco-Thai scholarship program, the Junior research fellowship program and the Franco-Thai joint research program.
Those co-funding programs, managed in coordination with the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) and Thai universities, ensure relevant and sustainable collaborations in research, and whenever it is possible with the contribution of public-private partnerships, especially in the fields covered by “Thailand 4.0”.
3/ With key research labs and joint graduate schools in Information Technology, Engineering, Architecture, Energy and Environment, KMUTT provides excellence in education and research for its 60,000 graduates. Your autonomous university is particularly innovative in knowledge integration, and is active both at the national and international levels. KMUTT has contributed not only to the success of our mobility programs (with laureates of Master and Ph.D degrees, as well as laureates for Post-docs and PHC-SIAM), but also to other cooperatives events such as the recent workshop co-organized with our embassy on smart-cities, early September.
We believe that your co-funding of the existing programs and hosting more researchers from French institutions could facilitate our cooperation efforts even beyond the bilateral relations. For example, the on-going collaboration with CIRAD could be strengthened to support the bio-economy strategy and form a partnership with Africa.
To conclude I would like to thank you for hosting this edition of Campus Tour and attending the presentations of the French government’s on scholarship programs and other forms of cooperation perspectives. This session is a wonderful opportunity to have discussions on students’ expectations, and to share experiences to reinforce our collaboration in the future. I have no doubt that it will reinforce the determination of KMUTT students to go abroad and I wish you a very meaningful and enjoyable session today.