Vietnam reform: companies to have more equal standing with government in science

By Pham Huong, An Hong   April 14, 2016 | 07:02 pm PT
Vietnam reform: companies to have more equal standing with government in science
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam (L) and Science Minister Chu Ngoc Anh (R)
The government is pushing for more equal standing of companies in science and technology, as well as greater transparency in state research funding. These are among five directions that deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has given to the new minister of science and technology Chu Ngoc Anh on his first day in office.

The aim is to make science and technology the true engine of growth, said the deputy prime minister on Thursday. Science and technology haven't played a major role in Vietnam's development. Vietnam has to prove otherwise. "All current reforms are directed to just that," said Dam.

He stressed the need to shift scientific research towards greater transparency. All research projects have to be publicly available, from project registration to defense. This issue must be seen as "an order and has to be done this term. If we can't do it, we'll outsource it."

In addition, Dam said “our responsibility is to shift the perception of the entire system, from central to grass-roots level towards recognizing science and technology as national priority."

Ministry of Science has traditionally focused on natural science and technology without giving much attention to social science. Dam recognizes changing this is hard and may require more than one term but he still hopes the ministry will note this. 

"The national innovation system must be centered around enterprises," said Dam noting the current top-down system whereby the central government distributes the budget to research institutions while universities and enterprises are marginalized to the role of observers.

Instead, enterprises, the government and research institutions should represent three nodes of a triangle, whereby the state is not necessarily at the top, he added.

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