National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) (Public Organization), Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), Thailand, jointly hosted a ceremony to sign on a document for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Universiti Malaya in Malaysia via online on 29 June 2021. This MoU has been issued to initiate an official close cooperative relationship with a view to the further scientific and technological development of both organizations in the field of radio astronomy and geodesy, and any other fields of activity that may be of mutual interest, in particular as countries in South-East Asia. In the ceremony, Dr. Saran Poshyachinda, the executive director of NARIT, and Professor Dr. Noorsaadah Abd Rahman, the deputy vice chancellor of Universiti Malaya, on behalf at each organization signed on the MoU document finally. While witnesses from both sides were represented by Associate Professor Dr. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum – a former Executive Director of NARIT and then now serves as an Advisor at NARIT, Professor Dr. Ismail Yusoff - the Dean of the Faculty of Science of University Malaya, Dr. Phrudth Jaroenjittichai - Acting Director of Operations and Engineering for Radio Observatories, Associate Professor Dr. Zamri Zainal Abidin - the head of the Radio Cosmology Laboratory, and Dr. Juan Carlos Algaba Marcos and Dr. Koichiro Sugiyama - joint-coordinators of this activity, with other organizing committee members and approximately 30 participants in total.

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Photo 1. Dr. Saran Poshyachinda (top-right) and Dr. Noorsaadah Abd Rahman (bottom-right) signed on the MoU document, with the 40-m Thai National Radio Telescope (TNRT) in Chiang Mai, Thailand (top-left: Photo by Mr. Dan Singwong and Processed by Ms. Nattaporn Thoonsaengngam in Thai National Radio Astronomy Observatory (TNRO) and Radio Astronomy Operation Center (RAOC) of NARIT) and the 7.3-m UPSI-UM radio telescope in Malaysia (bottom-left: Credit – Universiti Malaya).

Dr. Saran Poshyachinda, the signee on behalf of NARIT, states, “Radio Astronomy plays a very important role as a branch of multi-wavelength and multi-messenger astronomy in understanding of the universe, on the basis of its advantages of observable using ground-based telescopes day and night, and achievable synthetic aperture as large as the separation between the telescopes that apart from each other with the technique call, very-long-baseline-interferometry or VLBI. Simultaneously, the development of technology in radio astronomy over the past few decades has made a lot of contributions to everyday life from Wifi to medical instruments through the utilize aperture synthesis, such as MRI and CT scans. At NARIT, we see astronomy as a big challenge place of very important part at development of human capacities, especially in advanced engineering as well as home-grown deep technology. In radio astronomy, we have been building 40-m Thai National Radio Telescope, or TNRT (see photo 1 top-left). Therefore, I am very glad to sign this MoU and wish the close cooperative relationship with both view to the further scientific and technological development in radio astronomy and geodesy fields upon this MoU will accelerate such very important development in both countries each other.”

Prof. Dr. Noorsaadah Abd Rahmanm, the signee on behalf of Universiti Malaya, states, “The vision of Universiti Malaya is to be a global university impacting the world and our mission is to push the boundaries of knowledge and experiences. To achieve this, Universiti Malaya is fully committed to conduct the highest standard of teaching and learning, carry out impactful research and provide quality services on a global level. As an important and fast-moving research university, Universiti Malaya has supported astronomers in research and efforts in the building of the UPSI-UM radio telescope (see photo 1 bottom-left) and the on-going construction of the VLBI Global Observing System, or VGOS radio telescope in Malaysia as well. Together with excellent astronomers at NARIT in Thailand, we can develop both institutions to form a closer relationship for the benefit of the regional scientific community and indeed for the wide-global advancement. I sincerely wish that this first symposium organized upon this MoU to discuss direct collaboration between radio astronomers from Malaysia and Thailand will be not only a chance to share the knowledge and experiences but also as a starting platform for a long-lasting friendship and fruitful cooperation.”

After completing the signing ceremony, an online bilateral symposium entitled “BRIDGING MALAYSIA - THAILAND RADIO ASTRONOMY NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES” was also held to promote this close cooperative relationship, and to discuss potential research and developing collaborative topics that accelerate coming future activities upon this MoU. Associate Professor Dr. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, a former Executive Director of NARIT and then now serves as an Advisor at NARIT, states as opening remarks, “Malaysia and Thailand have already initiated for astronomy for a long time, especially to South-East Asia Astronomy Network or SEAAN since 2007, where I met Associate Professor Dr. Zamri Zainal Abidin, the head of the Radio Cosmology Laboratory and an organizer of this MoU activity. So both countries have worked together so hard during the past 14 years to develop knowledge, infrastructures, and human capital in radio astronomy, and always keep close collaboration. At NARIT in Thailand, in 2018, we received a support from our government to build 40-m Thai National Radio Telescope, or TNRT (see photo 1 top-left), which is a present construction being completed and we hope that the operation will be started next year. Therefore, now we are in an important period for radio astronomical community, especially among us in Asian countries to strengthen both infrastructure developments and science cases for research in radio astronomy and geodesy. I wish all the success of this symposium and definitely a long-lasting collaboration between our two countries.”

The signing ceremony and the bilateral symposium were successful well with approximately 30 participants in total (see photo 2) and all the talks by 17 speakers that enabled us to exchange the latest activities at each organization and build up the potential close cooperative scientific and technological topics in the variety of research fields as follows: pulsars, fast radio burst, star formation, active galactic nuclei, astrometry, solar burst, geodesy, and development of telescopes/receiver/software/interferometer (see the “Website” and “Abstract book” pages below more in detail). Dr. Koichiro Sugiyama, an organizer of this MoU activity, states, “We are honored to officially initiate the close cooperative relationship with excellent researchers and engineers in the University of Malaya with this MoU. All the presentations and fruitful discussions done in this 1st bilateral symposium will enhance our scientific and technological collaborations so far and drive more advanced and newly researches and developments between our two countries on behalf of South-East Asia both in radio astronomy and geodesy.”


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Photo 2. Group photo of all the participants to the signing ceremony.


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