Butra Boonliang

A brief history of your career since leaving the University of Birmingham

I joined SCG Chemicals in 2007 as a Researcher in Polymer Nanocomposite. Since then, I’ve worked several different roles ranging from Managing the Product Development team, leading Open Innovation, and Technology Scouting. My current role is in Polymer Compounding Process Technology, where I am responsible for scaling up innovations to production level. I also lead Technology Foresight for the company.

Skills and knowledge from your postgraduate degree have you used in your career so far

It helped that I started my career when I was one of very few people in Thailand who understood micro and nanotechnologies. Having a sound understanding of research methodologies and problem solving were critical skills for my first job. Also experiencing a diverse technical background has also opened up many opportunities, especially in Technology Foresighting and Roadmapping.

Main work activities in your current role

I’m a critical link in the process of polymer compound product development, especially for scaling up from lab/pilot stage to production. My role requires that I make sure the right product quality is administered at the right process condition, preventing distortions with output. I also work with various units to align Business Direction/Strategy to Technology Foresight and Roadmap for anywhere up to a ten year timespan.

A typical day in your job

I am involved in many project teams, and coach team members to improve their technical and collaborative skills.

Main challenges in your role

It can be a challenge to understand what the industry needs, and to align these needs with business and technology strategy.

Why did this type of work appeal to you?

I enjoy being at the forefront of Innovation and technology, and also providing a hand in enabling these technologies to enter into a real world business context.

Advice for students looking to enter this area of work?

Keep exploring. Stay curious. Be humble. Have humility. Learn as many roles and you can.