Chevron announces “Enjoy Science” program to drive Thai STEM and invite youths and general public to join 3D printing design contest in “Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World”
Researchers suggest that one of Thailand’s challenges to improve its competitiveness in the global arena is the education system. Many students and workforces still lack necessary skills such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills. On the other hand, there is not enough supply of workforce in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. With this regard, Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd. has joined forces with the National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Office (STI), the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the National Science Museum (NSM), the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) the Department of Skill Development (DSD), and Kenan Institute Asia in announcing the “Enjoy Science” program – a public-private partnership conceived to enhance Thailand’s long-term national competitiveness through educational development in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) across general and vocational education systems. This five-year, nationwide initiative is backed by a budget of 900 million baht.
Pairoj Kaweeyanun, Chevron Thailand president, said, “Chevron strives to build lasting partnerships that contribute to local economies. Education has been a focus for Chevron over our 50-year history in Thailand. We fully understand the influence of education on sustainable social and economic development, especially in the key subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math or STEM. These subjects represent the foundations for national competitiveness, especially as we prepare to enter the era of digital economy. This is the root of the “Enjoy Science” program, which aims to elevate the system-wide standard of education in STEM subjects. Additionally, the program will also dedicate its resources toward the development of vocational education, which will facilitate long-term national development in key industrial sectors through a quality workforce with the right skills to address private sector needs. These efforts will be carried out through public-private partnerships and curriculum development efforts that grant students and teachers alike access to practical experiences that are relevant to actual business needs. As a result, this can lead to reduced unemployment, increased income, and a smaller gap in terms of skilled labor demand.”
The “Enjoy Science” program features activities designed to enhance academic capability in the teaching of STEM subjects for teachers and academic leaders. The program also lends support to the development of STEM nationwide, in order to improve the quality of STEM education. Partnering with civil society, academia, the private sector, and the government organizations, the program aims to improve the quality of workforce in the technical career including building six training hubs and developing interactive and practical training approaches and curricula that meets industry needs. It is estimated that Enjoy Science will directly benefit over 500,000 people.
At the event, Chevron Thailand, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), also announced the launch of “Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World” 3D printing innovation and design contest as a highlight project under “Enjoy Science” program in order to promote science and technology among young people and public.
Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, NSTDA president, said, “NSTDA strives to support the development of manpower in science, technology and innovation fields. In recent years, 3D printing has come to the fore, and it will likely become part of our daily lives in the near future thanks to its unique ability to print materials into different shapes and forms as the designer desires without the need for lengthy manufacturing and logistical processes. That is why 3D printing technology is seen as an important innovation by experts in various fields, including education, medicine, design and architecture. Thailand too can greatly benefit from this technology by adapting it to our needs. Through this design contest, we are looking for novel ideas that can be further developed into quality projects with benefits to the people of Thailand or ideas that have high business potential.”
To mark the importance and the advancement of Thailand’s 3D Printing technology, an exhibit of 3D-printed works from Thai innovators was presented at the launch event – including bio-printed artificial organs. Dr Kriskrai Siithiseripratip, senior researcher at the NSTDA’s National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC) and an expert in applying 3D printing technology to design artificial organs and medical equipment revealed that “3D printing technology will greatly help improve Thai people’s quality of life and prolong the patients’ life. Artificial organs can now be printed with the help of CT scan. Medical specialists are able to use the information retrieved by CT scan to improve diagnosis and treatment planning such as surgery. These 3D printed organs can be used to replace damaged organs such as skulls in events of accidents. Its process results in precision of organ shape and size and is far less time-consuming as opposed to the old method of hand-carving.”
The event showcased the NSTDA’s recreation of the Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhornae dinosaur, which was named to honor Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. In order to promote Paleontology among Thai students, the replica was 3D-printed according to the skeleton discovered in 1982 in the hills of PhuWiang in Khon Kaen province, Thailand, using ABS or Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene as ink.
3D drawing pen was also available for hands-on experience at the event. The pen utilizes plastic thread made of either acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (“ABS”) or polylactic acid (“PLA”) that is melted and then cooled through a patented process while moving through the pen, which can then be used to make 3D objects by hand.
“Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World” is now open for design submissions until June 8, 2015. The contest is divided into two categories for students (high school and undergraduate or equivalent) and the general public. Interested persons can submit their 3D designs together with the design description – including each item’s unique qualities and purposes – in no more than two A4 pages and their names, addresses and contact numbers to 3D@nstda.or.th. Alternatively, submissions are also accepted through the messaging inbox of the “Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World” Facebook page. Applicants need only to send their submissions through one of these channels. A list of 100 selected projects and contestants will be revealed on June 15, 2015, and the winners and runners-up will receive prizes worth 680,000 baht including a round-trip ticket and accommodation to visit the Maker Faire in Germany as well as a 3D printing kit.
For more information and full contest rules, please visit the “Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World” Facebook page.