33 years Suranaree University of Technology Driving towards an Innovation and Sustainable University
33 years Suranaree University of Technology
Driving towards an Innovation and Sustainable University
Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) is celebrating its 33rd anniversary since its establishment on July 27, 2023. The university is embarking on a transformative journey from a research university to an entrepreneurial university, excelling in academics, research, and entrepreneurship. SUT's core mission revolves around nurturing skilled manpower, fostering knowledge creation, and driving innovation in the fields of science and technology. With a strong commitment to sustainable development, the university aims to achieve the status of a social enterprise, as outlined in the SUT 2025 policy, in the 3rd year of Associate Professor Dr. Anan Tongraar's term as the Rector of Suranaree University of Technology.
Achievements under the SUT 2025 policy
Achievements in 3 operational dimensions include:
1) World University Ranking by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings & Impact Rankings in 2023, SUT maintains the 6th place in Thailand from the world university rankings. SUT has also risen to the joint top 10 in the country in sustainability development, moving up from the 15th place last year.
2) Achievements of students/alumni include graduates' employment and self-employment rate has reached 80-85%. This is a noteworthy improvement from the challenging COVID-19 outbreak period, when the rate was less than 70%.
3) Revenue generation for budgetary self-reliance as per the 2025 policy, in the fiscal year 2022 SUT has made substantial progress with a revenue increase to 1,061 million baht, or more than 24%, compared to the previous fiscal year. For the fiscal year 2023 up to the third quarter, the revenue grown to 1,095 million baht, a further progress from the fiscal year 2022. Out of the 16 performance indicators measured by the SUT Scorecard, 11 have either met or surpassed the targets since the third quarter of the fiscal year 2023.
Another important achievement for SUT is that in the academic year 2023, is the successful admission of 4,400 new students, an increase of 123% compared to the initial target of 3,600 students, setting a new record of the highest number of new student admission. This outcome is testament of the university’s proactive curriculum promotion policy and dedicated efforts for all involved. As a result, SUT‘s reputation has been steadily growing and has attracted increasing interest among students.
SUT Adaptation in the Era of Disruptive Technology
SUT has developed an Education Platform teaching and learning system with various courses or subjects to meet the needs of learners of all ages (Lifelong learning) and the development of the workforce in the future (Manpower for the future). At present, the number of former students or high school students attending university is steadily decreasing, whereas the demand for learning and developing professional skills of working-age people is steadily growing. Recognizing this shift, SUT emphasizes the development of Non-Degree, Up-skills/Re-skills/New-skills, short course training courses for part-time teaching in conjunction with Credit Banks. SUT is also reaching out to other groups of learners. For young learners, academic camp activities are organized for elementary or middle school students. For elderly learners, short-term training courses are offered to increase income for retirees, etc.
Regarding research, SUT has emphasized producing Impactful Research & Innovation, focusing on the mission of transforming, transferring, and developing technology. This enables SUT to create economic, social, and environmental impacts by collaborating with organizations, the community, and society at large. By aligning its research and innovation efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SUT actively contributes to sustainable development, reflecting its dedication as a university that serves society.
Furthermore, SUT has expedited the adaptation of its organizational structure, manpower analysis, and budget allocation to address the evolving circumstances effectively. Special attention has been given to the optimization of SUT enterprise units, such as Suranaree University of Technology Hospital and Technopolis, enabling them to fulfill their missions and successfully attain their predefined objectives.
SUT Role for Social Accountability Linking with Public, Economic, and Industrial Sectors
SUT aims to create partnerships with organizations, communities, and society with the goal of promoting sustainable development. Embracing the concept of shared purpose and mutual benefits (WIN-WIN), SUT strives to create synergistic connections with the economic and industrial sectors. For instance, SUT engages with the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Federation of Industries to promote research and innovation outcomes from the Centers of Excellence (CoE). This fosters the transformation, transfer, and development of technology, paving the way for research findings to be utilized in establishing innovative businesses. Additionally, SUT collaborates with the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Chamber of Commerce to explore opportunities for positioning Nakhon Ratchasima as a high-quality beef hub, with its abattoir and beef trimming facility, which adhere to GMP standards.
SUT has been actively leveraging its knowledge in science and technology to drive sustainable local development. Building on the success of the ANSEE-Khao Yai project, which combined multidisciplinary team of SUT researchers to promote sustainable energy management and environmental conservation in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai World Heritage Site, SUT in partnership Khao Yai National Park and the local community, developed the new “Klong Plakang Thailand-Canada Friendship Trail,” which is the first educational nature trail in the Wang Nam Khieo District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, funded by the Embassy of Canada to Thailand. The “Klong Plakang Trail” mobile application was developed as the first-of-its-kind smart trail in Thailand’s national parks, by actively involving the local community to take part in the trail management and establishing a pilot model of sustainable development for other eco-tourism destinations. Through these collaborative efforts, SUT aims to contribute to the betterment of not only the local area but also inspire sustainable practices in other eco-tourism locations.
Furthermore, SUT actively collaborates with numerous enterprises to foster co-operative education and work-integrated education (CWIE), aiming to enhance the employability of its graduates. This aspect has always been a focal point for the university, reflecting its commitment to providing students with valuable real-world experience and skills that align with industry demands.
Goal of “Innovation and Sustainable University"
The aforementioned achievements are testament of the satisfactory performance in SUT past operations. The university's educational management has undergone significant improvements to cater to learners of all ages. The Credit Bank has made commendable progress, offering greater flexibility to learners. To meet the evolving demands of the future workforce, SUT has proactively introduced new courses in collaboration with enterprises. One such initiative is the Modular Program, which has expanded the number of subjects in the credit system from 82 to 163 modules. As a result, the number of learners has surged from 8,014 to 18,477 during the academic year 2022. Additionally, SUT has established a Joint Modular Program in partnership with like Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University and Rajamangala University of Technology Isan.
In terms of research, the number of research papers published both quantitatively and qualitatively increased continuously. The university’s commitment to producing high-impact research and innovation is evident, resulting in an increase in the number of intellectual properties. Many of these research endeavors have led to tangible benefits creating significant impacts in economic, social, and environmental dimensions.
The number of Student/Alumni Startup/Spin-off and Investment Funds has been consistently rising every year. This progress reflects SUT’s commitment to becoming a university that is entrusted by society. Our focus remains on the mission of transforming, transferring, and developing technology through University-Community Engagement, all aimed at fostering sustainable local development in alignment with the principles laid out in the SDGs guidelines.
In line with the SUT 2025 policy, the long-term goal for SUT is to become an "Innovation and Sustainable University." While we acknowledge that certain ambitious indicators, such as ranking as the 3rd university in the country or the top science and technology university, may require considerable effort and time to achieve, they serve as crucial challenges and sources of motivation for the entire SUT community to embrace the disruptive technology and changing landscape. We understand that reaching the finish line aligned with our set goals might be distant, but what remains certain is that we are on the right track and making significant progress.
“To realize the vision of becoming an "Innovation and Sustainable University," collaboration and support from all stakeholders are vital. This includes the University Council, colleagues, SUT community, students, and all other parties involved. From a SWOT analysis perspective, SUT has numerous strengths and promising opportunities to emerge as an outstanding university. With this in mind, I invite everyone to contribute to developing SUT with SUT Spirit of unity and dedication. Together, let us create a university of lasting endurance of SUT PRIDE.”