The role of research and development as a strategy for SMEs development with particular reference to the case of the fisheries and seafood sector in Thailand

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis aimed to study the impact of research and development (R&D) on the Thai seafood industry's development, particularly that of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which constitute the majority of the sector. This study evaluates expenditure on R&D, the effect of R&D on product and market performance, and the role of networking in supporting the R&D activities of SMEs in the seafood industry. To explore the continuity of R&D investment and cross-check the rate at which R&D affects business development, the period selected for data collection was 2013-17. A 48% response rate is achieved, with 115 of 237 target firms (Thai SMEs in the seafood industry) participating in the questionnaire survey. This was followed by interviews with nine SMEs (chosen from those who completed the questionnaire survey) and four case studies. In addition, two representatives of universities and one from a government organisation were interviewed. The findings of this research are that R&D improves the total sales and export revenues of Thai SMEs in the seafood industry. Furthermore, R&D supports product development in this sector. However, the application of R&D generates only minor changes in terms of product development. A small demand-pull effect and Thai SMEs' limited resources are not sufficient to support significant investment in R&D for product development. Meanwhile, Thai SMEs in the seafood industry are found to engage in external networking for specific purposes. Limited R&D investment might be due to the lack of a R&D platform. Furthermore, the R&D policy direction in Thailand is not clear, and might be affecting the macro picture that drives this group. Therefore, it is recommended government organisations should establish R&D platforms that meet the needs of key players and have an economic impact. While academic institutions should support their experts to circulate knowledge from academia to business stakeholders.
Date of Award14 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorGirma Zawdie (Supervisor) & Elsa João (Supervisor)

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