Businesses are an important driver for the development of science and technology in Vietnam. Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Le Xuan Dinh writes about how the ministry supports local businesses in their quest to boost innovative solutions and technology advancements.
In 2019, with the close attention and guidance of the Party, the National Assembly (NA) and the government, as well as the co-ordination between ministries and central and local agencies, Vietnam’s science and technology sector gained many encouraging results, contributing to the overall success of the country.
For the first time, Vietnam’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index by the World Intellectual Property Organization increased by three places compared to 2018, ranking 42th out of 129 countries and economies, first among 26 low-average income countries, and third in the ASEAN, right after Singapore and Malaysia.
Last year, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) implemented many solutions to promote the development of the national and access to the international startup ecosystem.
In addition to the national Techfest, the MoST also organized International Techfests for the first time in the US, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Singapore to promote Vietnam's innovative startup ecosystem to the world.
Besides these events, the MoST implemented a traceability system to transparently publicize products' origin, serving for international integration and efficiency of state management and ensuring the quality and safety of products.
Social sciences and humanities provided the scientific foundations for building socio-economic strategies and national policies.
Meanwhile, natural sciences made practical contributions to strengthen the capacity of forecasting, warning, and preventing natural disasters.
Moreover, scientists have been continuously working on solutions to adapt to climate change and to design, build and launch the MicroDragon earth observation Satellite.
The number of international publications in Vietnam by 2019 increased by 1.3 times.
In agriculture, science and technology have contributed to the success of the National Target Programme on New Rural Development, actively supporting value chains for local products, according to the One Community One Product programme.
As for industry and trade, the MoST has worked closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to carry out scientific research tasks and formulate standards and technical regulations for products, as well as to protect intellectual property and prevent commercial frauds.
In healthcare, for the first time, a river of a brain dead patient was successfully divided and transplanted to two patients, marking a breakthrough in Vietnam's organ transplant technique. In addition, the IVACFLU-A vaccine was successfully manufactured. This is the first made-in-Vietnam flu vaccine which can prevent three common strains of the influenza virus.
Regarding construction, Vietnam used modem technologies in the construction of largescale projects. New materials were found such as concrete produced with sea sand and seawater, reducing the impact of corrosion for building houses in seashore regions.
In terms of defense and security, thanks to the research and application of technology, Vietnam has manufactured many kinds of equipment, serving the protection of the country's sovereignty, including radars and rockets.
In localities, businesses are increasingly interested in the application of science and technology in manufacturing and developing products along the value chains, thereby improving the competitiveness of their products.
Promoting business connections
Identifying that enterprises play a key role in technological innovations along With institutes and universities, the MoST has made efforts to facilitate them by developing and submitting legal documents to the NA and the government. Additionally. the ministry has also carried out action programmes to encourage enterprises to improve their productivity, quality, and competitiveness.
Moreover, the MoST will continue supporting enterprises in implementing projects in technological innovation and research and development.
The ministry aims to make optimal use of national science and technology programmes, the National Technology Innovation Fund, thereby supporting businesses to apply technology in design, production, and distribution while improving labour quality and efficiency.
With these executed and planned measures and actions, the science and technology sector has already achieved encouraging results such as the improved growth rate reflected by the increase in labour productivity.
Especially in 2018 and 2019, the economic growth was at a record high for the last 10 years, reaching over 7 per cent with credit growth of less than 14 per cent compared to 17-18 per cent of previous years.
Regarding connecting Vietnamese businesses with foreign counterparts, the MoST has also developed and implemented a number of policies to promote technology transfer, especially for high and advanced technologies in priority industries
Furthermore, the MoST has provided funding for domestic businesses to import the world's most advanced technologies under the National Science and Technology Programme or the National Technology Innovation Fund.
Particularly, from 2011 to 2019, the MoST proactively organized 11 technology matching and demonstration events with the participation of businesses from Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
During these events, more than 3,000 processes for equipment and products of domestic and international institutes, schools, and enterprises were showcased, and nearly 150 contracts for co-operation and technology transfer were signed with a total value of more than VND2.25 trillion (US$98 million).
Raising number of tech firms
In order to ensure the feasibility of the set goals, the MoST has been promoting activities of perfecting institutions and policies, including building a number of amended laws. All of these amendments and guiding documents aim to supplement regulations on incubation and the establishment and development of science and tech enterprises.
Moreover, the MoST aims to synchronise the system of mechanisms, policies, and legal documents on science and technology, including all relevant laws and documents.
Meanwhile, the country has also enhanced the effective formulation and implementation of programmes to support the development of innovative businesses by co-operating with ministries and sectors.
The science and technology sector win pay special attention to establishing incubation institutions in close co-operation to regional and international ones, thereby meeting the current needs of supporting innovative startups - all with the active and strong support of the MoST.VIR