An idea of setting up the “National Research Council” was begun in 1929 in the period of Lt. Gen. Phraya Salwidharnnidhes, first chairman of the NRCT’s Executive Board, but the idea was not supported. Dr.Tua Laphanukrom, Director-General of the Department of Science by then tried to found the National Research Council and Scientific Research Institute, but achieved no success due to his death. Then Dr.Chang Ratanarat as successive Director-General of the Department presented afresh the establishment plan to the government. As, meanwhile, Prof.Dr. Pradisth Cheosakul notified Field Marshal Phin Choonhavan, Deputy Prime Minister of the benefits and existence of the National Research Council from which the USA acquired. The National Research Council was then elected with the aim of being a national agency which consisted of senior experts in various academic fields, and act as advisory body of the government in charge of proposing suggestions from research to the government for taking long term policy planning into account. As to the duties of the National Research Council, Premier Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, chairman of the National Research Council addressed in the first council meeting on 23 December 1959, as follows:
“The establishment of the National research Council” is arised from the views that the government does not intend to do anything without thorough scrutiny. The careful scrutiny is needed to make academically based on the opinions of the academics. In formulating policy in each issue in the long term, the government desires the academics to research and to propose suggestions complementary to the notion of the cabinet. The most important duty of the National Research Council is like an “Astrologer Council of the Nation”
Prof.Dr.Pradisth Cheosakul, under support of the government proclaimed the first National Research Council Act on 1956, but on account of no clear bureaucratic division; no budget allocation and no personnel, the first NRCT Act was disregarded. The government then appointed Dr.Charng Ratanarat, Director-General of the Department of Science to act as Secretary-General of the National Research Council. In 1959 the government by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, Prime Minister, enacted the 1959 National Research Council Act instead of the previous one. On 28 October 1959, the National Research Council came into existence as a government organization equivalent to the department, attached to the Office of the Prime Minister and was administrated by Secretary-General and two Deputy Secretary-Generals. There were ten fields of knowledge to conduct research in science and social science. In 1972, the revolutionary parties had a policy to improve the regulations for administrating bureaucracy of the country more efficiently by setting amount of ministries in agreement with the policy of the revolutionary parties and divided departments/offices into ministries by paying attention to the appropriateness of work, then changed name of the Office of the National Research Council into the Office of the National Research Council of Thailand.
Over 50 years, the NRCT has played a variety of roles in developing and heightening capability in research of the country, creating value knowledge base which can be applied for and developed appropriately, developing local knowledge in order to generate the benefits both to commerce and to public by using resource and research network efficiently as a result of the participation of all sectors.