Vietnam has set a target to speed up the development of science and technology for the 2021-30 period with the establishment of modern research and development centers in both public and private sectors as a core mission objective.
Technology and innovation play a key role in improving Vietnamese firms' productivity, product quality and competitiveness as well as the country's socio-economic development, said deputy minister of science and technology Le Xuan Dinh, added that policy frameworks to regulate and encourage investments in science and technology were of great importance, especially as the world entered the fourth Industrial Revolution.
|Speakers at Techfest Vietnam 2021__Photo: Duong Giang/VNA
Dinh said his ministry has started a number of programs to aid firms in developing and adopting modern technology and lay the groundwork for Vietnam's advanced technological application as well as the development of artificial intelligence.
In order to realize these objectives, the ministry said the private sector has a large part to play in both the development and application, especially in key sectors including agriculture, healthcare, industrial production and telecommunications.
The pandemic, which hit Vietnam particularly hard in 2021, has forced domestic firms to double their digitalization efforts and to utilize advanced technology to adapt to the new normal and extended periods of lockdown and mobility restrictions.
2021 saw the rapid development of the country's digital infrastructure and applications as a response to social distancing requirements and firms' efforts to keep operations running. Vietnam's start-up scene also saw thousands of new firms enter the playground with home-grown technology to compete on a global scale, he said.
The Government has set up centers in 13 cities and provinces to assist Vietnamese start-ups, notably with the establishment of the National Start-up Support Center, which was tasked with building a support network for start-ups across the country.
Vietnam ranked 44/132 in the Global Innovation Index in 2021 with more than 18,500 scientific and technological discoveries, a 2.5 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat said investment in Vietnamese tech start-ups hit a record high of US$1.3 billion in 2021. Vietnamese researchers and scientists from all over the world have set up a support network to nurture Vietnam's start-up ecosystem and to connect with the global start-up scene.
Dat urged government agencies to actively engage with Vietnamese intellectuals to find solutions to issues related to the country's socio-economic development. He also called for research institutes and universities to provide additional support for Vietnamese start-ups. The minister said it is to start a pilot program to introduce corporate institutions for scientific research in Vietnam with the aim to better connect the business and scientific sectors.
Local governments, particularly those in remote and isolated regions of the country, must double their efforts to adopt and implement technologies and innovations to make the most out of their locality's competitive advantages.
For its part, the ministry will continue to support them in connecting with potential foreign partners, in improving product quality and safety, and in securing access to foreign markets, especially for Vietnamese agricultural products. The ministry will also support Vietnamese firms in registering and protecting their intellectual properties in foreign markets. In 2021, Vietnam successfully registered a number of brands in the Japan, EU and US markets, notably Luc Ngan lychee and Binh Thuan dragon fruit.
Dat advised localities to identify and invest in only a few products with which they enjoy great competitive advantages. The next step is to seek out partners from the public or private sectors, preferably ones with technological expertise and capacities, to help develop their products further to improve quality and produce added value.
Speaking at a recent conference on the implementation of science and technology in economic development, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the Government is to consolidate and redesign Vietnam's scientific institutions and centers in a near future in favor of a more streamlined and efficient system.
Dam said the Ministry of Science and Technology's key mission for 2022 was to ramp up cooperation with other ministries such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to bring innovations to production sites and to shore up its capacity to manage and support the development of science and technology.
The deputy PM said it's time for government officials to ditch their risk-averse approach for science and requires a risk-taking attitude as well as long-term investments to produce results. The ministry and other science centers must make it their highest priority to improve transparency and effectiveness to make the most out of their budget.- (VNS/VLLF)