ASTRA R&D Hubs in full operation

The four ASTRA R&D Hubs that were established with the support of the EU partners in the participating Universities in Laos and Thailand have been in full operational capacity for more than a year! The results of their work, which have been monitored through in person visits by the EU partners and via an established continuous support scheme, are now visible and concrete. The local team members involved in the management and operation of the Hubs have been trained in the framework of the project and have led to an efficient implementation of the R&D strategy that was developed in 2023.   

The Hubs have managed to have an impact on the promotion of social science research projects in all Universities and have also managed to contribute towards the internationalization, the modernization and enrichment of the Universities’ service portfolio. Some of the achievements and facts of the first year of the Hubs’ operation are presented below:


20 June 2024

ASTRA International Conference, National University of Laos, Vientiane

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National University of Laos – LAOS

The ASTRA R&D Hub in the National University of Laos has been operating officially since its formal launch event on 4/4/2023 and is comprised of 6 university staff members responsible for its management and for the implementation of the R&D strategy.

Since then, they have organized three trainings for local young researchers and private actors and have developed three research proposals for national funds on the fields of social science and ICT. Moreover, they also managed to pursuit two international (EU) funding opportunities and have managed to create a network of interested stakeholders at the national level for further cooperation and promotion of research results for the benefit of local society.

Savannakhet University – LAOS

The R&D Hub in Savannakhet University held its official launch event on 3/4/2023. Six trained university staff members comprise its management team. In one year they have managed to develop and submit two institutional, one national and two international research proposals on the fields of social science and ICT.

Moreover, they have created a comprehensive pipeline of funding opportunities that also serves as the main tool for the consulting services they provide to local actors from the private sector.

Chiang Mai University – THAILAND

The ASTRA R&D Hub in Chiang Mai University has been operating officially since its formal launch event on 31/3/2023.

Its management team is comprised of 16 members (one manager, ten researchers, four administrative staff and one support staff). They managed to develop and submit two large scale proposals for national funding and three for international funding (two from the EU and one from China).

Moreover, they have been providing coaching services to both internal University researchers and external stakeholders on research and development strategies. By developing a pipeline of more than 70 funding programmes that serve as relevant opportunities and by engaging a network of nine local private stakeholders, the Hub’s operation not only will be sustained after the project’s end but will become even more effective in the future.

Prince of SONGKLA University – THAILAND

The ASTRA R&D Hub in Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand held its official launch event on 30/3/2023.

Its management team is comprised of 9 members (one manager, two researchers, five administrative staff and one technical staff). They managed to develop and submit four large scale proposals for national funding and international funding, 3 of which were successful and one still under consideration. Moreover, through the targeted networking activities and the organization of outreach national event, they have directly engaged more than 50 interested stakeholders, both internal to the University and external, representatives of the local private sector in Phuket.

Most importantly, close cooperation has been established with the Phuket Tourist Association and the Thai Hotel Association for the promotion of research and education projects specifically targeted to address the needs of the local tourism industry.

ASTRA National Events

In spring 2024 all four Universities from Laos and Thailand organized National Promotional events in order to showcase the results of their ASTRA R&D Hubs operation and to reach out to a wide audience of potential partners and collaborators at the local and national level. In total 200 people attended the events in the two countries, which constitutes a significant audience of interested stakeholders especially in view to the upcoming final International Conference.

20 Mar 2024
05 April 2024
29 Nov 2023
10 May 2024

National University of Laos – LAOS

Chiang Mai University – THAILAND

Savannakhet University – LAOS

Prince of SONGKLA University – THAILAND

ASTRA International Conference: Vientiane, 20th June 2024

The final ASTRA International Conference will be held in Vientiane on 20th June, hosted by the project coordinator, the National University of Laos.

This final event is expected to gather more than 60 attendees, representatives of the Higher Education sector from across Southeast Asia, policy makers, private sector representatives, social scientists and academics, in order to inform them about the results and impact of ASTRA on the participating Universities and subsequently on their local contexts. The goal is to create an engaged and informed network of relevant stakeholders, through which the operation and activities of the R&D Hubs in Laos and Thailand will be sustained after the end of the project, contributing to a positive impact on the broader Higher Education sector in the two countries. Keu note speakers and academics will outline the importance of social science and ICT research for the local communities, representatives from the four ASTRA Hubs will present the results of their work and discussions will be fostered towards the integration of the ASTRA services and approaches into the operation of more Universities.