How to turn brain drain into a brain gain

10:06 | 02/03/2017 Science - Technology

(VEN) - About 400,000 Vietnamese experts and intellectuals holding MA and PhD degrees work abroad. Vietnam views them as a valuable national asset. Many work in universities, research institutes or large companies, and some have been honored for their dedication to the development of science, technology, and innovation. But only few return home to contribute their knowledge and experience.

At a meeting held recently in Ho Chi Minh City, themed “Networking and Innovation Vietnam 2017”, overseas Vietnamese and local Vietnamese experts brainstormed on how to attract more of this brainpower home. The event was organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) and the Association for Liaison with Overseas Vietnamese.

Abundant force

Nghiem Vu Khai, the deputy chairman of the VUSTA, said that in all, more than 4.5 million overseas Vietnamese are an inseparable part of the national community. In addition to experts and intellectuals, several hundred thousand Vietnamese students are studying abroad, especially in developed countries. This is a substantial and valuable brain source for the country, which needs to be attracted and promoted in order to contribute to the development of the country, in general, and the science and technology sector, in particular. However, only 200-300 overseas Vietnamese intellectuals come back to the country each year to lecture and participate in research projects.

The deputy head of Science and Technology Division under Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Trung, said that with the help of overseas Vietnamese intellectuals in Singapore, the high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) project is being implemented effectively. With their help, the research project is expected to be completed in five years.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung

Creating a favorable environment

Tran Van Tung, the deputy minister of Science and Technology, addressing a meeting with overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals said that in the context of economic restructuring in association with conversion of the growth model towards improving quality, efficiency and competitiveness, science and technology are vital measures.

Therefore, the country must urgently attract overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals, especially scientists, technology experts and entrepreneurs to invest in science and technology in order to ensure the sustainability of Vietnam’s development. They will be an important supportive force for the government, especially in sharing information and giving policy making advice on science and technology.

The Fostering Innovation through Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Project was the first World Bank-funded science and technology project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The sub-component of the FIRST Project focuses on research and pilot policy mechanisms to attract foreign talents, including overseas Vietnamese, to work in Vietnam. In addition, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved a project to build a networking of overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals abroad in order to attract substantial and valuable brainpower to serve science, technology and innovation development, in particular, and national socio-economic development, in general.

From 2017 on, the Ministry of Science and Technology will continue to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries and departments to implement policies in order to attract overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals. Moreover, the ministry will encourage organizations and individuals in the country to invite overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals from abroad to participate in scientific research activities and technological development projects.

Nghiem Vu Khai said VUSTA will provide suggestions to create better conditions for overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals in the field of science and technology to return to the homeland. In addition, the union will work to establish a number of organizations dedicated to attracting overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals abroad.

Quynh Nga