Latest inside info: High academics are still recommending that TRF (Thai Research Fund) not be merged with NRCT (National Research Council of Thailand) or that NRCT be recreated outside the civil service with a separate entity be created for coordinating everything.
Politicians and other big men have been lobbying Thaksin about how bad TRF is because those big men would have to depend on TRF to fund their pet projects or pet people. NRCT will do that for politicians, but TRF will not. Probably there is an element of trying to keep TRF from being to sure of themselves and too independent--to make them realize that politicians are ultimately the bosses.
More on the NESDB -
December 20, 2003
For whatever reason, quite a few people are interested in the coming change at NESDB. Suthichai Yoon wrote an editorial (End of NESDB's role: should we laugh or cry?, The Nation, December 11, 2003) complaining about the impending change. Porametee Vimolsiri, Executive Director of Macroeconomic Office, NESDB, wrote a rebuttal to to this editorial (Khun Suthichai Yoon: Neither laugh nor cry, The Nation, December 20, 2003 ). This is the kind of thing The Nation has been asking for--a dialogue with those it criticizes instead of pressure to stop its criticizing.
Porametee writes: On Friday, in the article "End of NESDB's Role: Should we laugh or cry?" you bemoaned the changing role of NESDB based on the new administrative framework... Is it possible for the politicians to have total control of planning and to write whatever they wish into the new plan? I believe, despite the half-baked political system you have described, it is not so easy nowadays to write a poor or devious national plan which the people and international investors cannot spot.
Earlier: Who will fund research - December 17, 2003
This info was passed to us by a concerned reader: The end of independence in many things... The Nation newspaper published an article (End of NESDB's role: should we laugh or cry? The Nation, December 11, 2003). It says that, on the basis of a government draft to be finalised next January, the Thai Research Fund will be probably dissolved and pass under the direct control of a new unified centralized research agency led by the Government through the people now at the NRCT (National Research Council of Thailand).
...as far as I know (but I might be wrong!) it has always been in practice impossible (for individual researchers without direct links to the Ministries) to get grants under the (five years!) plans of the NRCT [the five-year plans are also to be eliminated]... it seems that, also for Thailand, the end of independent funding for research has finally arrived!
FYI, NRCT (National Research Council of Thailand) is known for being very bureaucratic, riddled with favoritism, with poor quality control, and outdated in general. Pure civil service mind. In contrast, TRF funds based on output in terms of patents or international journal articles, in any field, so in that sense is strictly accountable.