The concept of industrial partnership with the academia came to fruition with the opening of IDEA R&D Center at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) on 20 January 2017. The new “IDEA R&D Center” and “IDEA-EEM Laboratory” was formally inaugurated by Mr. Hideo Fukushima, Minister, Embassy of Japan in Thailand; Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, AIT President; and Dr. Toru Matsumura, Executive Director, IDEA Consultants (IDEA).
The laboratory has been established following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between AIT and IDEA — a premier Japanese integrated consulting firm dealing with environmental engineering and infrastructure issues. An initiative spearheaded by AIT’s Vice President for Administration, Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto, the venture also entails that IDEA will also second a visiting researcher to station at the IDEA-AIT Lab, in order to facilitate research cooperation with AIT faculty and research staff.
Inaugurating the laboratory, President Worsak described the event as another milestone for AIT in bridging what is known as the “death valley” between the academia and the industry. “The cooperation between IDEA and AIT is an innovative model which bridges the gap between academia and practice,” Prof. Worsak added. Sophisticated research facilities that are earlier available to the industry will also be shared with AIT, benefitting faculty and students.
Dr. Toru Matsumura of IDEA Consultants stated that the collaboration with university assumes importance in light of emerging environmental issues. “We wish to contribute more to Thailand and ASEAN countries courtesy of such collaborative ventures,” he added.
Mr. Hideo Fukushima of the Embassy of Japan described the collaboration as “exemplary.” AIT can benefit from advances in technology, and use the platform for maximizing knowledge and benefits emerging from this activity, he added.
Emeritus Professor Chongrak Polprasert, while thanking IDEA for their generous help, spoke of the environmental challenges emerging from new products and new chemicals that are being used in everyday life.
The facilities at the new laboratory include analytical instruments like Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry, High-performance Liquid Chromatography, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, Total Organic Carbon Analyser, Ion Chromatography. Earlier, Dr. Oleg Shipin of Environmental Engineering and Management program welcomed and introduced the participants.