IDRC support for research in Thailand began in 1971. It changed significantly as the country’s economy grew and Thailand became an upper-middle income country. We began to emphasize support for Thai institutions that can coordinate regional research.
One example is the forward-looking initiative on avian influenza, led by the Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research — one of at least 30 research institutions in six countries. Research topics include the risks of bird flu transmission from migratory birds and the impact of control measures on small poultry producers.
Understanding a changing economy
We’ve also supported research on economics, with a particular emphasis on globalization’s impact on poverty and women’s work. In 1994, we helped create the Asian Development Research Forum, based at the Thailand Research Fund in Bangkok.
Scholars in this policy research network led groundbreaking studies on such topics as pensions, health care, migration, and women’s role in family care. They played a significant part in placing previously under-appreciated issues, such as aging and long-term care, on the regional policy agenda.
In 2003, one of their studies in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam provided new knowledge to stimulate rural employment. Research teams assessed how off-farm and non-farm activities, such as wood processing, are becoming essential to rural economies.
During the 1990s, we supported several phases of research on aquatic biodiversity. Researchers from Canada, China, Indonesia, and Thailand applied tools of modern biotechnology, such as DNA fingerprinting, to conserve genetic biodiversity and breed better fish.
In Thailand, researchers worked with fish farmers to identify aquaculture needs and breed a variety of barb better adapted to local environmental conditions. The new breed generated higher yields for fish farmers. Thai researchers also identified strategies to restock watersheds and preserve fish biodiversity.
279 activities worth CA$39 million since 1971
IDRC support is helping
improve job equality for migrant women in border areas
determine links between changing agricultural practices and human health
explore inland aquaculture and climate change adaptation strategies in northern Thailand
improve flood management planning to counteract climate change disasters, such as the 2011 flood with damages of US$46.5 billion