Hon. Abhisit Vejjajiva

Former Thai Prime Minister

Hon. Abhisit Vejjajiva was Thailand’s 27th Prime Minister, holding the post from December 2008 to August 2011. He has been elected to Parliament for eight terms since 1992. He served as Government Spokesperson during 1992-1994 and as a Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office during 1997-2001. Besides, he has assumed many other responsibilities over two and a half decades, including Deputy-Secretary to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs, Chairman of the House Education Affairs Committee, and Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives for three terms. Within the Democrat Party, he has also assumed many positions: Party Spokesman, Deputy Party Leader, and from 2005-2019, Party Leader. He also served as Chairman of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats in 2017-2018. Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom in 1964, after completing his primary education in Thailand, he returned to the United Kingdom to study at Eton College. He later graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) with 1st class Honours from Oxford University, where he also earned a Master’s Degree in Economics. In addition, he obtained another Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Ramkamhaeng University, Thailand. Before entering politics, he was an instructor at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy from 1987 to 1988 and at the Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University from 1990 to 1991.

Title of the keynote: Driving a Value-Based Economy with Transdisciplinarity in a Changing and Connected World

Dr. Sampan Silapanad

Vice President, Hard Disk Drive Operations – Thailand 
Western Digital Corporation 

Dr. Sampan has started his career at National Semiconductor, before moving to Seagate Technology, and then to Western Digital. His expertise and experience have been in the field of Electronics and HDD manufacturing for 40 years.

During this period, he has initiated several projects related to linking the industry with skill development for Thailand’s manpower and has been actively involved in such projects, connecting with the government, society and all stakeholders as a representative of Western Digital.

Presently, Dr. Sampan is a board member in 9 ministries covering works in the areas of education, society, science and technology, and environment. He is also President of Thailand’s Electronics and Computer Employers Association (ECEA), and Co-chair of the World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE). With effective implementation of student development programs in industries for 14 years, more than 1,500 students have joined the program including 300+ foreign students from 100+ local and oversea universities.

He has received many awards from both Thai and international organizations on his effort and achievement in raising the quality of education system and addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and ESG’s.

Dr. Sampan graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kasetsart University, Thailand. He earned a Master’s degree in Management from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Industrial Engineering from Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand.

Title of the keynote: Don’t Solve by Set Assumptions

Prof. George Q. Huang

Chair Professor of Smart Manufacturing
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, P. R. China

George is Chair Professor of Smart Manufacturing at Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He gained BEng and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Southeast University (China) and Cardiff University (UK) respectively. He has conducted research projects in areas of Smart Manufacturing, Logistics, and Construction Systems Analytics through IoT-enabled Cyber-Physical Internet with substantial government and industrial grants exceeding HK$120M. He collaborated closely with industries through joint projects and start-up companies. He has published extensively and his works have been widely cited by research communities. He serves as associate editors and editorial members for several international journals. He is Chartered Engineer (CEng), Fellow of ASME, CILT, HKIE, IET, and IISE.

Title of the keynote: Trilogy of Innovations for Achieving High-Performance Cyber-Physical Factory

Prof. Claudia Eckert

Professor of Design
School of Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
The Open University, United Kingdom

Claudia Eckert is Professor of Design at the Open University, the British distance education university, where she also carried out her doctoral research on design processes in the knitwear industry, before spending nearly 10 years in the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are in understanding and supporting design processes. She is also working on comparisons between design domains. 

Transdisciplinarity is a lived experience for Prof Eckert. She studied mathematics in Augsburg, Oxford and Munich and obtained an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the Munich School of Philosophy. She has an MSc in Applied Artificial Intelligence from the University of Aberdeen and a PhD in Design from the Open University. Her research has applied techniques drawn from sociology and cognitive science. She has always been fascinated by design as a complex human endeavour where large and diverse groups of people come to together to achieve common goals. She studies with equal passion future trends in engineering, sustainability in fashion, overdesign in building services, and the epistemology of engineering design.

She has published widely and serves as an area editor for Research in Engineering Design and Design Science. She is chair of the advisory board of the Design Society.

Title of the keynote: Transdisciplinary Ecosystem of Methods 

Prof. Cynthia J. Atman

Director, Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching
Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Mitchell T. and Lella Blanche Bowie Endowed Chair
College of Engineering
University of Washington, USA

Cynthia J. Atman is the founding director of the Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching (CELT), a professor in Human Centered Design & Engineering, and the inaugural holder of the Mitchell T. & Lella Blanche Bowie Endowed Chair at the University of Washington. She was director of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE), a national engineering education research center that was funded by the National Science Foundation.  Her research focuses on design expertise, engineering design learning, considering context in engineering design, and the use of reflection to support learning.  She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Dr. Atman holds a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Title of the keynote: Good Designers do “X”