Vietnam wins international praise for innovation headway

By Bich Ngoc   September 8, 2020 | 09:04 pm PT
Vietnam wins international praise for innovation headway
Part of the Ho Chi Minh City Hi-Tech Park in its District 9, October 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam’s progress in moving up to the 42nd position on the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) has been lauded by the international community.

The international community has spoken highly of Vietnam’s rank in the 2020 edition of the GII, says Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Head of the Permanent Delegation of Vietnam to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and other international organizations in Geneva.

"Vietnam, along with China, India and the Philippines, are the four nations that have made significant progress in the GII rankings over recent years and are all in the top 50 now. Vietnam is moving towards the top 40 in this index, with a majority being high-income countries," Mai said, citing international experts’ comments at an online conference on GII held Tuesday by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which publishes the ranking.

She said this was a proud yet challenging result in the context that not only Vietnam, but most countries in the world are facing different difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. This means that it would not be an easy task for Vietnam to maintain the position or climb to higher ranks in coming years.

The result of a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, a graduate business school with locations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America, and the WIPO, the index, which is in its 13th edition this year, ranks the innovation performance of 130 economies around the world, based on more than 80 indicators.

Bui The Duy, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, attributed the nation’s ranking to "the efforts of the entire system."

He said the clearest example of this was a series of research institutes and innovation centers established by private agents in recent years.

He said the progress is also reflected in Vietnam climbing up on the GII over the years, from 59th position in 2016 to 42nd in 2019 and 2020.

"In such a difficult time, when all economies have been hit hard by Covid-19, Vietnam has stood out in the global community as a role model in pandemic fighting and prevention, as well as accumulating research and innovation results to offer scientific and technological solutions for dealing with the pandemic’s impacts," he said.

Despite the pandemic, the number of intellectual property applications approved in the first five months rose 0.6 percent against the same period last year to more than 26,000, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

"This is a positive sign that goes against the downgrading trend caused by the pandemic globally," Duy said, adding that such results would not have been possible without support from the WIPO, which has helped Vietnam set up an IP Hub, a digital platform for the intellectual property community to exchange the most useful and helpful tools and resources, in 2017.

Integrating similarities

Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, head of the composite indicator research section, economics and statistics division and co-editor of the index, said a general review of all indicators to come up with the index show that Vietnam has been able to integrate similarities found among investment in human resources, costs in research and development (R&D) and high-tech export.

Besides, local businesses have made significant progress, making an important contribution to improving Vietnam’s position on the global innovation index, he said.

In order to maintain the rank and climb higher, Vietnam should now identify and deal with all obstacles preventing private firms from increasing their investments in research and innovation, he added.

He suggested that Vietnam spends more on innovation and R&D activities for businesses, and promotes cooperation between schools and research and innovation institutes.

The goal of the GII is to provide data with insights into capacity and innovation outcomes, allowing policymakers to measure their current performance and make key decisions for innovation for the future, said Francis Gurry, CEO of WIPO.

Deputy Minister Duy said related ministries and agencies should continuously store and update data so that the government can issue policies that match the latest trends in scientific and technological development.

He also asked the WIPO to work with Vietnam on a comprehensive review of its innovation development over the past 10 years and make suitable recommendations to take it further.

Switzerland topped this year’s GII index, followed by Sweden, the U.S. and the U.K. The rest that made the top 10 are the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Germany and South Korea.

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