VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam hopes to have 60 scientific research organizations of regional and international stature by 2020.



The 2011-2020 science and technology development strategy has been commented on as “making a breakthrough” in the scientific research development in Vietnam, because unlike the previous ones, this strategy emphasizes the goal of deeper global integration.

Vietnam, for example, has decided that the number of internationally published scientific articles (ISI) would increase by 15-20 percent, while Vietnam would have 60 scientific research organizations of regional and international stature.

However, analysts keep doubtful about the feasibility of the ambitious plan, saying that Vietnam harbors illusions.

According to ISI Web of Science of Thomson Reuters, in 2008-2012, the number Vietnam’s ISI articles increased from 908 in 2008 to 1,657 in 2012, which meant the annual growth rate of 16.5 percent.

The growth rate is relatively high if noting that the Filipino growth rate was 6.3 percent, Thai 7.6 percent, Singaporean 8.25 percent and Indonesian 15.6 percent. However, it is still lower than that of Malaysia’s, at 29.2 percent and Laos’ 27 percent.

Vietnam has obtained the impressive growth rate of over 20 percent per annum over the last 3 years thanks to the new model on supporting scientific research applied by Nafosted, the national science development fund.

Of the 1,657 ISI published articles in 2012, Nafosted alone supported ¼ of the scientific research works. Meanwhile, a lot of works carried out under the key national research work program did not have ISI articles.

It is estimated that 50 percent of Vietnam’s ISI publications belonged to the researchers who carried out research overseas under the guidance of international professors. Meanwhile, the percentage of the ISI publications carried out in Vietnam was very modest.

This means that despite the impressive increase in the number of ISI articles, Vietnam’s inner strength remains weak, if noting that over 70 percent of the ISI articles were fulfilled with the cooperation with foreign authors.

As such, it would be within Vietnam’s reach to obtain the 15-20 percent growth rate in the number of ISI articles. However, Vietnam still needs to focus on the quality of the articles.

If Vietnam can obtain the targeted growth rate, it would have some 5,000 ISI articles by 2020. The figure may be impressive for Vietnam, but it is just equal to the number of Thailand’s ISI articles in 2009, which means that Vietnam still far lags behind Thailand by several decades.

According to Dan Viet newspaper, with more than 9000 professors and associate professors, hundreds of thousands of PhDs and numerous masters, Vietnam is a power in the world in terms of the number of scientific titles.

However, in 2006-2010, Vietnamese only had five patents registered in the US. In 2011, the patents registered in the US did not include any one from Vietnam, even though the number of professors and doctors has been increasing rapidly.

In order to have the scientific research organizations of regional and international stature, Vietnam needs to have four important factors – excellent researchers, reasonable operation mechanism, heavy investments and the reasonable policies for scientific research organizations to operate in accordance with the international standards.

Meanwhile, analysts believe that none of the four factors have been ready in Vietnam.

Tia Sang