Mr Nguyen Quan, Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam, said, as many as 42 scientific research and development missions have been deployed since 2000, in accordance with the Protocol signed between Vietnam and Japan. Vietnam’s counterpart funding for these missions is more than VND102 billion (US$5 million).
He affirmed that scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries has developed nicely, diversely, practically and effectively and has achieved encouraging progress. The collaborative research has helped resolve scientific and technological issues and raise the scientific and technological capacity and potential of Vietnam.
Diverse and effective cooperation
Over the past four decades, the scientific and technological research cooperation between Vietnam and Japan has gradually changed from a small, spontaneous to broad and national scale. The form of cooperation started with field studies and personnel training and gradually shifted to research collaboration. Vietnam and Japan signed the Governmental Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation in August 2006, thus creating a legal basis and an important prerequisite for later scientific and technological cooperation programme. The fields the two countries focused research and development on are quite diverse, including biotechnology, advanced materials technology, space technology, information technology, electronics technology, computer science, telecommunications, nuclear energy and renewable energy, environmental technology, climate change, nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, intellectual property, standardisation, measurement and quality.
Many Vietnamese and Japanese scientific and technological research agencies have been engaged in the cooperation process of the two countries. Their collaborative relationship has brought in practical results. Specifically, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have cooperated in space technology; the Vietnam Institute of Materials Science and the National Institute for Materials Science of Japan (NIMS) have joined hands in materials sciences; the Agricultural Genetics Institute (AGI) and the Japan Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) collaborated in biotechnology; and the Vietnam Institute of Geography and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) have cooperated in seismology.
Among scientific and technological research cooperation projects, Hoa Lac High Tech Park development is a key, large-scale project that both the Governments of Vietnam and Japan have pledged to support. Japan vowed to fund over 30 billion yen to this project in the form of official development assistance (ODA). Currently, the US$270 million technical infrastructure development project for the Hoa Lac High Tech Park is being carried out.
Also in Hoa Lac High Tech Park, the project for the construction of Vietnam Space Institute, assigned by the Prime Minister to the National Satellite Centre – a member of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), is an important project for the implementation of Vietnam Science and Technology Strategy until 2020. The project will need US$600 million for development from 2011 to 2020.
Some cooperation projects between Vietnam and Japan are being promoted, including the Vietnam – Japan International University and Ecological City in Hoa Lac High Tech Park.
Active human resource training
From the date the two sides agreed on scientific and technological cooperation until 2005, Vietnam just sent a total of over 500 specialists to Japan for study (both short-term and long-term). But the figure jumped to more than 1,200 people from 2005 to 2012. For its part, Japan sent some 1,800 scientists and technologists to support Vietnam in 2005, while that number soared to nearly 2,600 by 2012. Besides, over 5,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Japan. “This is one of important human resources for promoting joint research cooperation between Vietnam and Japan,” said Nguyen Quan, Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam, at the workshop on “Vietnam – Japan Scientific Cooperation: Achievements and prospects” held in June 2013 in Hanoi.
Many Vietnamese researchers who are systematically and profoundly trained in Japan currently hold many important positions in research institutions, universities and companies at both countries. “This is a good prerequisite for strengthening cooperation in scientific and technological research development and promoting the transfer of advanced technologies from Japan to Vietnam to elevate the comprehensive relationship between the two countries,” Minister Quan added.
In April 2012, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung adopted the Vietnam Scientific and Technological Development Strategy for the period from 2011 to 2020. Accordingly, it defines that science and technology will contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth and economic restructuring, and raise the value of high tech products and high tech applied products to 45 per cent of GDP. The transaction value of scientific and technological market increased an average of 15-17 per cent a year. By 2020, Vietnam’s scientific and technological sector will reach the advanced level of the world. By 2015, Vietnam will reach a ratio of 9-10 scientists and researchers for every 10,000 people. By 2020, Vietnam will have 60 basic research and application agencies of the regional and world levels, capable of resolving critical problems of the country, together with approximately 5,000 businesses engaged in science and technology and 60 high-tech incubators and nurseries for enterprises.
To bring this strategy to life, proposed solutions have focused on finding appropriate resources. The solutions also aimed at studying technological innovations based on value-added chains of key economic sectors and industries of Vietnam’s strengths and promoting comparative advantages and strengthening industry and regional connectivity to build and develop scientific and technological potential and apply scientific and technological research results.
From important achievements in scientific and technological cooperation, to promote international integration of science and technology, Vietnam continues to consider Japan a priority. The scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries will have an important contribution to the successful implementation of the Vietnam Scientific and Technological Development Strategy for the period from 2011 to 2020, Minister Quan said.