The THB100 million project will function as a central network and a global exchange hub of R&D data and technology transfer amongst scientists within the Thai Union Group.
Mr Thirapong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union Group noted: "I strongly believe that investing in technology and innovation will enhance our business competitive advantage and strengthen our position in the global seafood industry. Thai Union Group is regarded as the world's largest processor of shelf-stable tuna products and is ranked amongst the largest seafood producers in the world. Therefore, tuna is considered important raw material to our business.
"We need to leverage cutting-edge technology to further develop our production processes and value-added product portfolio in order to achieve optimum efficiency and create most sustainable growth. The Global Innovation Incubator (GII) is a catalyst of our business and industry development. Innovation is one of Thai Union's core strategies which will help accelerate our ambitious goal of $8 billion in annual revenues in the next six years."
Mr Chansiri continued: "However, the value creation of innovative technology requires a cooperation of all our key stakeholders including customers, consumers, business partners, government sector and academic associates. This will ensure that such innovation introduced to the market will result in best commercial sense and meet every discerning demand of consumers all over the world.
"Thai Union recognises the importance of innovation and technology and commits to focus on investing in more R&D activities throughout our global business operations. We entered into a research-intellectual collaboration with highly notable the Faculty of Science, Mahidol University and set a significant step forward allowing researchers and scientists from Thailand's prestigious academic institutions to share knowledge and exchange data from research development including those of TUF's scientists around the world."
Professor Dr Skorn Mongkolsuk, Dean of Faculty of Science at Mahidol University added: "Mahidol University places great importance on the support and promotion of R&D activities in the areas of science, technology and innovative development in cooperation with the private sector. Such initiatives will lead to a better quality of life, food security, job creation, better economy and society and Thailand's ability to compete on the global stage. Mahidol University has pooled its resources and faculty comprising of the nation's leading research scientists for GII, working together to raise level of competitiveness of Thailand's food industry to international standards. This initiative will bring national pride to Mahidol University and benefit the country in the future."
Dr Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, Global Innovation Director of Thai Union Group concluded: "It is my great pleasure that TUF's first Global Innovation Incubator (GII), a joint cooperation with Mahidol University, is officially ready to perform R&D operations on various projects. Research data and information exchange amongst TUF's global subsidiaries will enable us to reach optimal benefits. The GII will start its R&D works in January, 2015. Our target is to come up with new innovation within one to two years for the world to see. The first focus area will be the development of raw materials and tuna-based products for the maximum benefit for global consumers."
Dr Tuyawat added: "Most important of all, I am very proud of the fact that over 60 leading research scientists from Thailand and overseas demonstrated an extraordinary level of cooperation in order to elevate the status of a Thai-owned company to the leading position in the world's food industry. This achievement is proudly recognized by the team members of Thai Union Group and the people of Thailand at large."
The functional structure of GII consists of six major platforms as follows:
- Platform Project 1(Fundamental Studies of TUNA)
- Platform Project 2 (Health & Wellness Benefits from TUNA)
- Platform Project 3 (New Processing Technology)
- Platform Project 4 (Co-products Science and Technology)
- Platform Project 5 (Sensory properties of tuna products and consumer research)
- Platform Project 6 (Perfect TUNA product research and development)