The oldest institution of higher learning in the region, Prince of Songkla University (PSU) is also a top research centre. Selected as one of nine Thailand National Research Universities in 2009, PSU excels in research thanks to its more than 25 Centres of Excellence and Research Centres, which focus on a broad range of subjects, including natural rubber technology, genomics and bioinformatics, nanotechnology, palm oil, membrane technology, peace studies, multicultural management and biodiesel, among many others.
Numerous research projects have come to fruition over the years, leading to commercial success; however, PSU’s intentions are not so much for profit as they are for helping people. As PSU Presdient Dr Chusak Limsakul says, “We work for the benefit of mankind.”
Founded in 1967, PSU has five campuses: a main one in Hatyai in Songkhla province, and four others in the Pattani, Phuket, Surat Thani and Trang provinces. More than two-thirds of the academic staff are active in research and many have the opportunity to travel to America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand for staff development.
PSU has student exchange agreements with universities in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Dr Chusak Limsakul adds that the university looks beyond Thailand’s borders: “We want to develop our graduates as ASEAN citizens.”
Ranked as the fourth Thai university in terms of research, PSU enjoys a working relationship with the private sector that results in new knowledge and innovations that can help the country grow. “We have a joint research project with Michelin from France,” says the President.
“We also work with Alan King from California. Today our science park links knowledge from our laboratory. We want our research and knowledge to contribute to the economy in the future.”