First Thai Graduate Thesis Defended Under Russian Academic Supervision

For the first time in 120 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and Thailand, a Thai graduate student defended her thesis under the guidance of a Russian academic advisor.

Sivalee Trakulvichean, Ph.D., King Mongkut University of Technology Tongburi in Thailand (KMUTT), successfully defended her thesis under the guidance of a Russian scientific advisor, Yuliya Otmakhova, Head of the NSU Food Safety Center. The thesis defense was held at the School of Bio-Resources and Technologies at KMUTT.

Before coming to Russia, Trakulvichean received a Golden Royal Jubilee scholarship that allowed her to choose where she wanted to study economics. She opted for Novosibirsk State University and the Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering SB RAS with Julia Otmakhova as her academic supervisor. The topic of her thesis was the evaluation of promising areas for the use and processing of cassava (cassava) raw material waste, which is an important component of Thailand's export potential. The results of the study were published in the international scientific publication Waste Management & Research. The verysis of Trakulvichean’s dissertation research was based on primary data that was collected together with her main scientific adviser, Warington Songkashiri at the Center for Advanced Technologies and Management. This is a joint research center between KMUTT and the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Thailand. After the publication of two articles indexed in «Scopus», the international data base of scientific publications, Trakulvichean was invited to defend her thesis and submit her work to the academic counsel.

Otmakhova described how Trakulvichean ended up in Novosibirsk:

Songkashiri, who is a highly qualified researcher and actively involved in international research projects and the Royal Thai Project, and I were selected by the organizing committee of a conference dedicated to Niels Bohr that was held in Copenhagen 2013 to be co-chairmen of sections and jointly prepared a conference resolution. He then suggested I get accreditation so we could work together as scientific advisors for graduate students. That is how Sivalee was able to come to Novosibirsk. Twice she came to Russia for an extended period to develop a model for her thesis. She also participated in the scientific program at the Technoprom Forum in 2015-2016. And, of course, we were in constant correspondence as I conducted remote consultations. Sivalee traveled throughout Thailand and collected data on the starch industry and recycling methods.

After her thesis defense, Trakulvichean plans to continue her work at the University and develop models for assessing the economic and environmental performance of food and agriculture projects in Thailand.

Otmakhova emphasized: «We will continue our cooperation in the framework of international research programs for food security and models for assessing the economic and environmental efficiency of food industry waste disposal, we will focus in particular on biofuel».

A year ago, NSU and King Mongkut University of Technology Tongburi signed a Memorandum of Understanding. NSU was the first Russian university KMUTT developed a partnership with. The universities plan to develop joint projects to conduct economic evaluations for applications of promising Russian and

Thai technologies that affect the improvement of consumer and technological characteristics of raw food materials and food products. In addition, Russian and Thai experts will research and develop natural supplements to extend the shelf life of premium segment products using biotechnology, develop «bioeconomics» research and conduct joint interdisciplinary research in the development of innovative food products with high added value.

According to Mikhail Fedoruk, NSU Rector, the leading Russian scientists working at the University are able to conduct interdisciplinary research at any level of complexity. The experience of implementing such interdisciplinary projects allows our scientists to train excellent international specialists who are in demand not only by Russian, but foreign employers and clients.

King Mongkut University of Technology Tonburi is one of the leading universities in Thailand. It was founded in 1960. In 2009, it received the status of a National Research University and maintains international relations with 160 universities from 47 countries. In 2012, KMUTT entered the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first time and rated in the 351-400 group, immediately took the top position among universities of Thailand. In addition, KMUTT is ranked 352nd in the QS World University Rankings in the field of engineering and technology and 161-170th among Asian universities. The University provides training of highly qualified personnel in the fields of engineering, architecture, food markets and agriculture, information technologies, and other industries.