Chiang Mai University

Name of University

Chiang Mai University



Date of establishment of the ASTRA HUB

31 March 2023

Number of staff members (and their roles) working in the HUB

One manager is responsible for establishing strategic objectives for the operation of the Hub’s direction and activities, aimed at enhancing funding opportunities and fostering networks with faculties, universities, HEIs stakeholders, and funding agencies both domestic and international levels.

10 Researchers are responsible for training and coaching, offering guidance on drafting project proposals for HEIs staff, and providing consulting support services tailored to the specific needs of the private sector. Moreover, they try to submit their own project proposals aligned with their interests in order to secure additional funding independently through utilizing the resources available at the hub, such as computers, video conference systems, meeting rooms, etc.

Four Administrative staff: These four administrative staff already hold administrative roles within the university and are involved in policy-making and organizational management direction, both at the university and faculty levels. The administrative staff will provide guidance, financial support, and assess the feasibility of connectivity/integration of the ASTRA Hub’s activities into the policy plans of the organizations they oversee, including (1) Human Resource Division; (2) Research Administration Division; (3) Office of the University, CMU; (4) Financial Support Unit (Faculty level).

One support staff is responsible for coordinating activities with various departments both within and outside the university, including documentation support and disseminating information about the hub’s operations to HEIs stakeholders.

Summary of the work    The “ASTRA R&D Innovation and Consulting Hub, CMU, Thailand” serves as an additional platform to strengthen capacity building, offer assistance, and facilitate CMU staff, particularly new researchers with limited access to international funding opportunities. The assistance provided by the ASTRA CMU R&D Hub will enhance skills in drafting project proposals and facilitate access to relevant research collaboration networks for researchers. This will increase opportunities to secure additional funding.

The following activities were done during the implementation of the hub’s pilot operation in its first year, with a focus on its financial sustainability and long-term benefits to the target groups:

Official opening of the hub and the signing ceremony for the hub’s mandate.

The launch event of the hub and the signing ceremony for the hub’s mandate were organized on March 31, 2023, in order to raise awareness about the establishment of the ASTRA CMU R&D Hub among HEIs staff and relevant HEIs stakeholders. A total of 52 participants warmly joined in this event, including CMU academic staff, administrative staff, and researchers from various departments. In addition, relevant HEIs local stakeholders, including representatives from government and private sectors, business groups, entrepreneur groups, and local news agencies, actively participated in this occasion. They warmly visited the ASTRA Hub and engaged in discussions to share ideas regarding collaboration between their organizations and the university. The conversation involved building a network of researchers and enhancing opportunities to seek further research funding on an international scale.

Development of a donor and fundraising pipeline for exchange opportunities with regional partner universities.

A database was developed to record the existing funding opportunities of the ASTRA CMU R&D Hub, including both open and forecast funding opportunities, totaling more than 70 items. Furthermore, the database of developed donor and fundraising pipeline from each hub was consolidated into a regional pipeline, in order to foster the exchange of research information and increase opportunities for collaboration at the regional level among partner universities involved in the ASTRA project.

Coaching and consulting to prepare project proposals in real scenarios.

The ASTRA CMU R&D Hub conducted the coaching and consulting activities both mini-online and offline sessions of proposal preparation in real-case scenarios in order to pursue at least one funding opportunity. The staff of the hub took the role of mentors and coaches, providing extensive support and technical suggestions to CMU academic staff throughout the proposal development process, including guidance on application procedures, techniques for writing proposals, and submission processes. As a result, the CMU academic staff who received guidance on preparing project proposals from the ASTRA CMU R&D Hub have submitted two project proposals for research funding. Moreover, in order to secure additional funding and foster the hub’s financial sustainability, the ASTRA-CMU R&D Hub staff jointly developed three project proposals to apply for research grants from funding organizations both at the national and international levels. One of these project proposals is from brainstorming sessions among ASTRA members during participation in a joint workshop held in Luang Prabang, Laos

Therefore, during the 1st year of pilot operations of the hub, a total of five project proposals were developed. One project successfully secured funding, three projects failed, and the rest of them has been currently under consideration.

Networking strategy with potential clientele.

After the hub’s conducting market research to acquire insights into the requirements of target groups (Clients) regarding R&D/Consultation Project needs and their potential interest in collaborating with the ASTRA-CMU R&D Hub in the future, the networking action strategy for the ASTRA CMU Hub was developed, focusing on engagement with businesses in the local industries, in particularly with Micro-SMEs group, Arts/Design/Media businesses, and ICT companies. Then bilateral/multilateral in-person meetings were held with local industries and private businesses to introduce ASTRA CMU Hub in order to offer its services. The Hub has successfully established a network with potential clients. This network enhances opportunities for further academic/research collaboration between the hub and local industry groups as well as private business sectors.

Monitoring and reporting on the 1st year of the pilot operation of the hub.

The 1st year of pilot operations of the ASTRA CMU R&D Hub would be assessed by EU expert partners during a three-day monitor visit under the implementation of the ASTRA project, aimed at evaluating its performance in terms of capacity building, sustainability, and stakeholder engagement.

Expanding the network through institutional cooperation at the international level during the 1st year of pilot operations of the ASTRA CMU R&D Hub.

The outcomes of the 1st year of the hub’s implementation have established a robust network of academic and research collaboration between Chiang Mai University and leading universities, as well as expert group organizations, spanning across the Asian region, the United Kingdom, and the European Union more than 11 institutions.

Number of national research proposals pursued

Two project proposals were developed by the academic staff under the hub’s operations, further details are in the table.

  1. Educational Tourism Innovation
    Sectoral Social Innovation Project 2024
    ≈ 53.333 EUR
    National Innovation Agency (NIA), Ministry of Science and Technology
  2. An Integrated Framework for Evaluating the Cognitive Workload and Aberrant Driving Behavior of Professional Motorcyclists
    Strategic Fund 2024
    ≈ 154.667 EUR
    Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMU-C)

Number of international research proposals pursued

Three project proposals were developed by the academic staff under the hub’s operations, further details are in the table.

  1. Curriculum development for zero waste management in the hospitality and tourism sector
    ≈ 792,890.88 EUR
    European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme (ERASMUS+)
    Under consideration
  2. From Local to Global: Empowering Communities for Economic Transformation through Digital Connectivity and Capacity Building for Micro SMEs
    Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund 2024 (LMCSF 2024*)
    ≈ 797,915 EUR
    The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Thailand, (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China)
  3. Innovative Curricula for Life-Long Learning of Sustainable Tourism Workforce
    ERASMUS-EDU-2023-CBHE (Capacity building in the field of higher education)
    748,054 EUR, ≈ 86,840 EUR
    European Commission, Erasmus+ Programme (ERASMUS+)

Number of private sector actors engaged

The ASTRA CMU R&D Hub has engaged in discussions with nine private stakeholders from the private sector, including representatives of local businesses, industries, and entrepreneurs. With the aim to enhance and broaden the hub’s network with potential clients in order to offer tailored R&D/Consulting Project services to target groups, the hub’s services were presented to the private sector and also engaged in discussion on further collaboration between the ASTRA Hub and the private sector.