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Project Thailand

Memorandum of Understanding with Chulalongkorn University

Chulalongkorn University is the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Thailand offering high quality education and conducting world class research. Durham University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chulalongkorn University to establish collaborative relations between the two institutions and to promote friendship and co-operation. This agreement encompasses all faculties, departments and schools within both universities. It is hoped that this MoU will encourage mutually beneficial relationships in the areas of teaching and research through exchanging information and materials that are of mutual interest, and through the organised exchange of academic and administrative staff.

This link has been fostered by several members of Durham University faculty including Dr Douglas Halliday the Dean Postgraduate Dean and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics, Professor Jonathan Rigg, Head of the Department of Geography and Dr Nigel Clarke Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry.

Professor Jonathan Rigg has research collaborations with scholars at Chulalongkorn University and Chiang Mai University and with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). He also has personal links with scholars at Kasetsart University, Khon Kaen University and Naresuan University in Phayao. His work focuses on trajectories of rural change, poverty and livelihood dynamics, and rural-urban relations.

With the Social Research Institute at Chulalongkorn University (CUSRI), Jonathan has recently completed a village study of rural-urban dynamics in the Central Plains and Northern region, part of a larger comparative project which has included parallel research in Vietnam, Ghana and Tanzania, funded by the Danish aid agency. The work with AIT, funded through an EU grant, focused on understanding the sustainability of peri-urban aquatic production systems (fish and vegetables) around Bangkok. It also included studies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. On-going collaboration with Chiang Mai University is through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded project on the agrarian transition in Southeast Asia. It is also multi-sited, with research in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Project web links: www.caac.umontreal.ca/en/chatsea_intro.html; www.papussa.org; and www.geogr.ku.dk/projects/ecosoc/rud.

Dr Nigel Clarke, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry has developed strong links with the Chemical Engineering Department at Chulalongkorn University though his project work in collaboration with Dame Professor Julia Higgins, Imperial College London.

In 2004, Ms Noppawan Motong (now Dr Noppawan Motong) a PhD student at Chulalongkorn and winner of the Thai government Jubilee scholarship spent one year working in Durham under Dr Clarke's supervision and utilised Durham University's unique ion-beam capabilities, which enabled her to probe the diffusion of liquid crystals within polycarbonate. Her project was concerned with the potential of liquid crystals to act as flow modifiers for the processing of polycarbonate, a plastic that has many applications, including the main material in CDs, DVDs and computer casing. Her results showed that small amounts of liquid crystal could dramatically aid processing, thus reducing the cost and energy required to manufacture any given polycarbonate based product, without significantly damaging any of the physical properties. This work has been published in the Journal of Polymer Science and the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.

Further areas of academic collaboration are now being developed with Chulalongkorn University through Project Thailand, as detailed elsewhere on this website.

Office of Civil Service Commission Scheme for Scholars

The Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC) is the central agency in charge of advising public sectors on managing human resource. It evaluates and aims to improve the working environment and quality of life for government officials in order for them to achieve their professional and personal goals.

The OCSC is a government agency under the Prime Minister's Office, headed by the Secretary General and directly accountable to the Prime Minister.

One of the main responsibilities of the OCSC is to carry out the administration of government scholarships and the King's Scholarships in order to up skill workers in line with the needs of the ministries, bureaus and departments.

Essentially the OCSC is the overall employer of all the faculty staff at the state universities in Thailand.

Durham University has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the OCSC for a scholarship programme offered to postgraduate research students. This MoU offers Doctorial scholars the opportunity to benefit from an eight week English Language programme at Durham University Language Centre prior to starting their research degree. The bursary is funded by Durham University but it is promoted and managed through the OCSC Scheme for Scholars. Only Scholars that have been accepted on a Doctoral programme at the University are eligible for this Scheme.