60th Anniversary of CMU Marks the Beginning of a 7th Decade as a University of Innovation

3 January 2024

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

         Chiang Mai University was the first regional university in Thailand. The official opening of CMU was graced by His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great on January 24, 1965, and since then January 24 has been designated as the founding day of CMU. In 2024, the university will have been producing capable graduates and making positive impacts on society for 60 years. After 60 years of operation, CMU has made tremendous progress and has become a leading university in the country and one that plays a key role in advancing national development.

        Regarding the university’s performance and objectives, the current CMU president, Professor Dr. Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, has explained that CMU is striving to become ‘a leading university committed to social responsibilities for sustainable development through innovation’, as is stated in its vision statement, and has set three objectives in achieving that vision: 1) being placed in the top 50 universities in the world of the Time Higher Education University Impact Ranking (THE UIR), 2) having a socio-economic impact assessment result valued at 60 billion baht, and 3) earning the Thailand Quality Class Plus (Innovation): TQC+ (Innovation). To achieve these objectives, CMU has set strategic goals to promote sustainability in six dimensions, which are bio-economy innovation; innovation in medicine, health and elderly care; Creative Lanna; educational management; research and innovation; and lastly, organizational administration for excellence.

        In 2023, all sectors made great efforts to produce results that reflected significant progress and changes in several aspects. For instance, the blockchain smart energy system through solar power generation being driven by solar rooftop panels that were installed in 168 buildings university-wide that can substitute 17% of the power generated by the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), thus reducing electricity bills by over 12.5 million baht every year, as well as reducing carbon emissions by 7,400 tCO2e per year.
CMU has also declared itself as Thailand’s exemplary entrepreneurial university. The program ‘builds’, a CMU Startup & Entrepreneurial Platform, is a program that will drive this initiative by fostering entrepreneurial knowledge and experience beginning at the university level.

       Kicking off a comprehensive support system for leading and advanced research, CMU aims to translate basic research, advanced research, and deep technology and to further develop them into concrete applications in order to solve social, economic, and environmental problems aided by providing the necessary funding in various formats. There is also a project to establish a network in the form of consortiums to produce research that is able to respond to challenges, as well as to support researchers’ developments and stay apprised in the system. This advancement will drive the country’s socio-economic and environmental development exponentially and sustainably through leading research, deep technology, and BCG economic development; for instance, the advancements in medicine, health and high-value agricultural and food products, as well as the social and environmental improvement in fields like an aging society, health and well-being, sustainability, and climate change.

       In addition, the university will continue its mission as a data-driven enterprise through improvements in internal administration. For example, the CMU Smart Surveillance system uses data to help city administration enhance safety and traffic efficiency, allowing for better prevention, detection, notification, and searches. Data has also been incorporated into developing and improving the administrative assistance system by improving the educational registration database to accommodate new forms of education administration. In terms of health, the university has stressed the importance of becoming the first mover in digital health technology and startup development through the development of a digital platform that integrates OPD and mobile health services, as well as having a pilot health database to assist clinical decision-making.

       For 2024, CMU has developed continuous pro-active operational plans that will lead to significant changes, namely becoming a leader in smart bio-agriculture, a national model in driving BCG development, and an incubator for creative startups, as well as increasing wider recognition for the Creative Lanna brand. In addition to research and development on electric vehicles (EV), medical innovation is another area of focus in order to promote a society of good health and another plus is the emergence of Chiang Mai’s medical and health innovation zone, which is in line with the goal of Chiang Mai becoming a ‘Medical Health Hub’. Continuing from last year’s operations, CMU still has climate change as its primary concern, embarking on the mission of becoming a carbon-neutral university by 2023 by creating models for greenhouse gas emission reduction, and by promoting renewable energy use, energy, and environmental conservation within the university. New technology will be incorporated into managing the CMU Smart City, highlighting the commitment to social responsibilities with sustainability. In terms of capacity, the educational system will be linked to the development of leading and deep research will be linked in order to produce a workforce with the necessary skills for sustainably creating innovations in the business sector. It will also be important to develop innovations that are capable of addressing challenges, building networks of collaboration on the global stage, and promoting practical applications for the benefits of the society. The builds program will allow students to set up their businesses during their studies. In personnel development, the number of IDP-trained personnel is set to increase from 341 in 2023 to 1,800 in 2024. There will be activities held throughout the year until January 2025 to celebrate the university’s 60th anniversary.

      The President of CMU, Professor Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, has remarked on the development objectives that CMU has been striving to gather, such as knowledge from all sectors within the university to generate benefits for society, as well as to actively support national development to create positive impacts on the society and economy in general and to increase Thailand’s competitiveness in the international arena. With great pride, CMU is moving into its seventh decade as a ‘leading university committed to social responsibilities for sustainable development through innovation’.