Chula’s strategy to push CU Innovation Hub (iHub) to produce quality graduates and a new breed of startups to drive Thailand 4.0 through innovation now pays off with a 16-billion-baht valuation of innovative products.
Currently, innovation is what drives global economic trends, as reflected in national policies of many countries, namely Made in China 2025, Manufacturing USA, Japan’s Society 5.0, South Korea’s I-Korea 4.0, and Malaysia’s Industry 4WRD. Based on its 20-year national strategy, Thailand has laid down Thailand 4.0 development plan that will transform its economy from “efficiency-driven” to “innovation-driven” by 2036.
Innovation development needs “innovators” to bring a positive change to the country and the world. Many countries are working to create such incubators and offer desirable incentives to attract top talent from many countries.
Though Thailand started to promote the Thailand 4.0 policy in 2017, the number of high-quality workers is still limited. Chulalongkorn University, therefore, established the Chulalongkorn University Innovation Hub, or CU Innovation Hub, aka iHub to accelerate the creation of quality graduates to help drive the country to the future.
iHub and its mission to create a new breed of startups
CU Innovation Hub (iHub) was founded in 2017 mainly to promote and support the creation of innovations that will usher the Thai society into a new way of life, learning, and creativity; to produce graduates who will become the leaders of the future via technology and intellectual properties and dare to create a disruptive change in conventional industries, and challenge the traditional mindset in the workplace. “Thailand 4.0 will never reach its 2017 goals of becoming a developed country without quality human resources who will solve the country’s problems with new and sustainable solutions,” said Dr. Santhaya Kittikowit, Chula Vice President for Innovation and New Development, and Director of CU Innovation.
Apart from creating a new breed of startups, Dr. Santhaya said that CU iHub also supports innovation, patents, use of intellectual property, application for society, income generation, and creation of economic value for Thailand. With five areas of concentration: Health/Aging, Education, Bio-Circular Green Food & Agriculture, Sustainable Society, and Deep Tech Supercluster, iHub had 300 startups under its umbrella in 2021 with a market valuation of over 16 billion baht.