We all believe that science and technology (S&T) development is truly key driving forces of the rapid and sustainable development process of any economy, country, region and the world.


Vietnam's Program On International Integration In Science And Technology Until 2020 And The Need For Alumni Network 

It is also recognized that the globalisation and international integration, formation and development of information society and knowledge economy are the major world tendencies.In this context, cooperation in S&T activities is very crucial. It allows us to access to and share advanced S&T achievements of the world. Recognizing the importance of the international cooperation in S&T in the context of globalisation, information society and knowledge economy, the Pre-Minister of Vietnam has recently signed a governmental Decision to launch "Program on International Integration in S&T until 2020".

In order to successfully implement this Program, the high skilled human resources play very important role. On the occasion of this Alumni Network Workshop organized in Hanoi, Vietnam, I would like to briefly introduce this new Governmental policy on International integration in S&T and discuss the need for Vietnamese EU alumni database in the implementation of the Program.

  1. Brief introduction to "Program on International Integration in S&T until 2020"  

Just some days ago, on the 18 May 2011, the Pre-Minister of Vietnam signed the Decision No. 735/QD-TTg on the approval of the "Program on International Integration in Science and Technology until 2020". This is a very important policy document in the field of S&T cooperation. I would like to outline some major points of the Program.

1.1. Program objectives and goals

The overall objectives of the Program are making Vietnam being a nation strong in some S&T fields in 2020 to serve the modernization and industrialization of the Country, reducing the gap in S&T level between Vietnam and region as well as between Vietnam and the World.

The goals set for 2015 include development of national S&T human resources to status of being capable to participate in research and development activities of the region and the World in some priority and key research fields.

The Program goals set for 2020 are:

  • having Vietnamese R&D institutions and enterprises in some priority and key R&D fields able to cooperate with foreign partners, to absorb, master, innovate and create technologies;
  • Some R&D results in priority and key research fields will be highly appreciated by regional and world market.    

1.2. Some major tasks of the Program

The Program have identified a set of six groups of tasks to be carried out to achieve the goals and objectives.

(1) To increase the quality of the S&T human resources, managers

In order to fulfil this task, it is necessary to:

  • strengthen the establishment of and carrying out common cooperative research programs and projects in a framework of bilateral, multilateral, inter-regional and international agreements;
  • attract overseas Vietnamese experts, scientists and researchers as well as foreign ones to participate in S&T projects, tertiary and post-graduate education programs in Vietnam;
  • Create favourable environment for S&T personnel to participate in international R&D projects or programs or that projects in the framework of UN systems, EU, APEC, ASEAN, etc.

(2) To effectively mobilise the all financial resources needed for international integration in S&T

It is necessary to allocate appropriate portion from funds from the Government S&T budget to support effective international integration in S&T.

(3) To strengthen information resources to effectively serve international integration in S&T

  It is important to effectively exploit the facilities and services of Vietnam Research and Education Network (VinaREN) in order to share, update S&T knowledge, using the VinaREN utilities and serves to serve R&D activities.

This task also requires broadband connection of VinaREN to international research networks such as GLORIAD, Asian and Pacific Advanced Network (APAN).

Strengthening the linkages of national, domestic digital libraries with that of foreign universities and R&D institutions is important task in the Program.

(4) To promote innovation process, especially in fields of high technologies industries in order to improve the competitiveness of some national key products

Among the activities, some main activities include:

  • Creating favourable conditions for students and experts to study abroad, to cooperate or work in foreign invested enterprises, companies or groups;
  • Attracting foreign technology experts to come to Vietnam to work;

(5) To promote commercialization of Vietnamese R&D results

It is necessary to strengthen activities on S&T exhibitions, forums, Techmarts, technology transfer centres establishment, S&T advancement promotion activities. The Program also requests to establish the ASEAN+3 technology transfer centre.

(6) To strengthen international integration activities in areas of intellectual property (IP) protection, standardization-metrology-quality 

The Program identifies that some sub-programs should be carried out to reach the goals of the Program. These sub-programs include:

- Program on joint bilateral and multilateral cooperative research;

- Program on enhancement of information resources to serve the international integration in S&T;

- Program on technology identification and transfer from abroad to Vietnam.

The responsibilities of various governmental ministries and related organizations in the implementation of the Program are also clearly identified in Pre-Minister's Decision.

From the Program document, we could imagine how important is the role of S&T human resources, including alumni from EU and other regions.

  1. Role of the Alumni Network in the implementation of Program on International Integration in S&T until 2020

2.1. Sources of EU Alumni

EU Alumni in Vietnam may form from various sources. Recognizing the role of the high skilled S&T personnel, from decades, Vietnamese Government have sent hundreds thousands Vietnamese to study abroad, including EU countries. They have enjoyed high quality education from EU universities or advanced research institutions.

In beginning of the 21 Century, the Government launched the Program “Training of S&T personnel in abroad using the Government budget". The Program is often called "Program 322" (named after the Decision 322/QD-TTg dated 9 April 2000). The aims of this Program is to send selected S&T carders to study abroad to seek PhD or Master degree to meet the need of modernization and industrialization of the Country. The initial Program (or first phase of the Program) ended in 2005. On 28 April 2005, the Pre-Minister signed Decision No. 356/QD-TTg to extend the Program for the period from 2006-2014. The Program 322 creates opportunities for many Vietnamese experts to become EU alumni in Vietnam.

Thank to economic development of the Country, many Vietnamese families are able to support their children to study abroad. The number of self-funding students are increasing steadily. They also presents a source of the EU alumni in Vietnam.

The other source of EU alumni in Vietnam are those who enjoy the fellowship or scholarship from EU Governments, universities, colleges, R&D institutions or other funding organizations.

It is obvious that not all Vietnamese studying abroad or in EU returned to Vietnam after the completion of study programs. They may stay and works in EU or move to other regions to works. They form the special group of Vietnamese alumni and present  important pools of experts.

It is very important to note that, there are many overseas Vietnamese living in EU. They have EU citizenship but consider themselves Vietnamese. They studied and work in EU. We could consider they are special type of Vietnamese-EU alumni.

2.2. The need of establishment of EU Alumni database in Vietnam

As I have presented above, the Government's new "Program on International Integration in S&T"  place a great emphasis on the human S&T resources for the cooperation and collaboration. We need to know more on the potentials from Vietnamese EU alumni in order to mobilized to participate in the implementation of the Program.

We also know that the EU Framework Program 7 for period 2007-2013 (or FP7), is a biggest EU S&T program so far with the total budget of about 54 billion Euro, of which, about 32 billion euro are set for the joint research projects in 10 priority areas. FP7 encourages wider participation of the international S&T communities. We believe that the Vietnamese EU alumni should be encourage to participate in FP7 joint research projects.

With the time, the pool of Vietnamese EU alumni is increased. They are distributed in different institutions, various corners of the Country. Many of them may be active researchers. Some may already be tired but are surely knowledgeable experts. Some of them may work abroad. At present time, we do not have enough information on the Vietnamese EU alumni. One of the measures to solve the issue is to create a database on Vietnamese EU Alumni.  The Vietnamese EU Alumni database will be a nice tool that help us to identify source for selecting appropriate searchers to contacts or to introduce for possible joint research.

With this point of view, I do believe that the establishing the Alumni network will greatly contribute to successful implementation of the Program on International Integration in Science and Technology until 2020 as well as to the improvement of the participation of Vietnamese scientists and researchers in the FP7.

Experiences of other countries on the establishment of Alumni databases or directories are valuable. We are confident that sharing that experiences will improve our knowledge on alumni database creation and maintenance. We hope that we will learn many valuable experience from our colleagues.