Vietnam targets world leading research institute

08:05 | 06/04/2015 Science - Technology

(VEN) - Although some industry-oriented research institutes have appeared in Vietnam and they have obtained some recognizable successes, overall, Vietnam lacks strong institutes of this kind in terms of operational scale, highly-skilled staff and modern research infrastructure in a bid to provide advanced technologies and technical support and a positive influence on other fields and sectors of the economy.

Vietnam targets world leading research institute

Lack of high quality research institutes

Industry-oriented research institutes in Vietnam were established very early to serve the development demands of different sectors of the economy. The research institutes in the industry sector mainly operate under ministries, universities and colleges of technology, and state corporations and groups. They operate in five main areas including engineering and automation; materials and chemical; energy; mining; and electronics, computing.

In the field of engineering and automation, there are 14 institutes with 27 laboratories. The materials and chemical field has 30 institutes with 101 labs; the energy sector has four big institutes and 42 labs; the mining industry has two big institutes equipped with intensive facilities and equipment; and the electronics, computing also has four big institutes equipped with modern research infrastructure.

Of these, some institutes have recorded recognizable successes. For example, the Institute of Machinery and Equipment Industry (IMI) which was established in 1973 has now become a leading research unit in electronics in Vietnam in the fields of manufacturing mechanical and electronic products for machine-tools, farm produce processing machines, construction machines and industrial measurement equipment. Meanwhile, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biology (IVAC) established in 1978, is a national prestigious institute in terms of vaccines and medical and biological products, contributing to the country’s self-sufficiency in local vaccine production.

Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said that Vietnam has targeted to have a world or regional leading research institute; Vietnam has no representatives listed among the world’s top 500 research institutes or universities.

However, taken overall, these research institutes are scattered and have not closely linked with enterprises and the market. The funds for research activities come mainly from the state budget as most institutes are incapable of re-investing in their activities from their own profit.

A change for a breakthrough

To realize the target of turning Vietnam to basically become an industrialized country by 2020, Vietnam needs to establish strong scientific and technological research institutes in terms of both quality and quantity as a lever for economic growth. Lessons from the Republic of Korea (RoK) showed that the success in boosting economic growth is mainly based on scientific and technological development, in which the establishment of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) with special preferential treatments made a big and efficient contribution to the industrialization and modernization of the RoK.

As for the Vietnamese scientific and technological organizations, so far the state has issued innovative legal documents which have provided autonomy; removed difficulties in financial mechanisms, rights on land use; and concretized policies on staff wages and benefits. However, in reality the implementation of these mechanism and policies has remained restricted which has resulted in the limited efficiency among the organizations.

Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan affirmed that the investment from the state and society has not created a really attractive environment for scientific and technological activities and for scientists. He said, Vietnam needs new people, or at least old people but with new thoughts accessing the market-oriented economy. “If scientific and technological organizations passively sit there and wait for the funds and projects from the state, the development of science and technology will progress without passion and therefore we will never make real scientific and technological products,” Minister Nguyen Quan stressed.

By Quynh Nga