As the main facilitator, the National University of Laos (NUOL) arranged a meeting for May 15, 2021, through an online platform to kick-start the collaboration among CEP-SME-AISA partners, consisting of the University of Kitakyushu (UKK), King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin (RMUTR), Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT), Chalong Latex industry Co., Ltd. (CLT), Suksomboon Palm Oil Co. Ltd.(SSB), Mitr Lao Sugar Co., Ltd (MITR), and Lao Agrotech Public Company (LAT).

To improve the quality of industrial waste management such as increasing process efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the consortium aims to overcome the common environmental problems stemming from agro-industry production, particularly in Thailand, and Lao PDR. The management of waste or bioenergy production needs to become more efficient through the reconfiguration of reactors, and the development of powerful post-treatment processes to improve the efficiency of domestic, and organic removal in anaerobic systems used by industry.

The project is designed to integrate industry-academia research, and education by collaborating with universities in Thailand, Laos PDR, and Japan to analyze, and develop new wastewater treatment processes which align with real industry interests. The program will enable ASEAN students, and young professionals to develop their skills in wastewater engineering, environmental assessment, and system design, while also exploring state-of-the-art technologies.

Potential activities include the dispatch of Japanese professors from UKK, thesis co-supervision, annual symposiums, collaborative training, and short-term research abroad.

The meeting resulted in several fruitful discussions. The program, its future strategic plans for implementing activities, a backup plan for coping with the COVID-19 situation, and financial management were discussed among partners.

JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net is grateful to all partners for their considerable efforts in launching this collaboration. The university-industry network partnership is certain to bring fruitful outputs as our joint endeavors continue.