On the 30th of March 2018, the National Institute of Posts, Telecoms, & ICT (NIPTICT) celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of the 7500m2 Innovation Center, at the NIPTICT campus to the north of Phnom Penh.

The 4-story center will include a research laboratory, start-up and coworking space, and facilities for public and private agencies with an ICT focus to collaborate and network, with the overall aim being to provide a space for students, experts and public officials to research, discuss and develop creative and innovative ideas and solutions for Cambodia.

His Excellency Tram Iv Tek, Minister of Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC), highlighted the Innovation Center’s intended role in linking government, educational institutions and the private sector.

“[It is important] to develop human resources that are high quality, promote innovation based on smart technology, and provide a co-research environment among research institutions, universities, and the private sector as well as increasing local technology knowledge contributing to the increase of economic competitions with other regional countries.”

The center is being supported by MPTC, NIPTICT and Smart Axiata.

“Cambodia needs to establish the mechanism to connect government, educational institutions and the private sector, and the creation of the Innovation Center will set an example for practicing this mechanism connecting the three institutions,” H.E Iv Tek added.

The center is being funded using the government’s Capacity Building and Research & Development Fund (R&D Fund), which comes from the 1% payment on gross revenue from Cambodia’s telecom operators. It is intended to promote human resource development, research and innovation development of ICT in Cambodia, as well as encourage the creation of new ICT businesses.

According to Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt, the center will help to overcome Cambodia’s existing lack of research and innovation facilities.

“The state-of-the-art Innovation Center will in the future be an important location where academia, government and the ICT community can jointly contribute towards the growth of ICT in the Kingdom.”

The Innovation Center is set to open in 18 months’ time, and MPTC expects Cambodian and international institutions and private sector companies will support the center, and the ministry’s ongoing efforts to develop telecommunications and ICT in Cambodia.