Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh, Member of the Party Central Committee, Minister of Science and Technology. Image: khampha.vn
Document of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of
Vietnam defines that strong development of science and technologies and
making them a truly primary national policy are the most important
driving force for the development of a modern production force and
knowledge economy and improve productivity, quality, efficiency and
competitiveness of the economy, protect the environment, and maintain
national defense and security. To fulfill this task, the most urgent
issue at present is comprehensive renovation of the management,
investment and financial mechanism in scientific and technological
1. After more than 30 years of national renovation, Vietnam has recorded great achievements in socio-economic development. Economic growth has been maintained at high rate; people’s living standards have improved remarkably; Vietnam has escaped from poverty and is included in the list of medium-income countries. Science and technology have made notable contributions to the process of national renovation and development.
However, compared to the set goals and tasks, Vietnam’s science and technology has not yet developed on par with potentials as a primary national policy. The science and technology workforce, though has increased in number, is low in quality, lacking leading experts in many areas of science and technology. The number of research projects published internationally and inventions receiving patents of Vietnam is limited, and there is very few number of international-level research projects with breakthrough contributions to national socio-economic development. Scientific and technological potentials have not yet met demand. Investment in science and technology is low and not effectively utilized; and attention has not been paid to mobilizing social resources for scientific and technological development. The goal of building major science centers has not been achieved; the effective use of key national laboratories and the results of the operations of high-tech parks are low. It is slow in the renewal of science and technology management mechanism, particularly in the fields of finance, self-accounting, accountability and incentives towards talented people. International cooperation in science and technology lacks strategic orientations, resulting in low efficiency. The scientific and technological market develops slowly. Planning and development of science and technology have not been closely connected to the demand for socio-economic development, and maintenance of security and national defense. Investment in renovation, development and mastering of modern technologies are slow in enterprises, resulting in low quality of economic growth, productivity, efficiency and competiveness. Science and technology are not really a driving force to promote socio-economic development.
Vietnam’s lagging behind in science and technology compared to other countries in the region and the world is due to many reasons, both objective and subjective, including the level and scope of the economy, the level of development of social relations, culture, perception of people in a country that just escaped from poverty and is standing low in the list of the medium-income countries (in 2015, Vietnam’s GDP was 193.4 billion USD and per capita income was 2,109 USD); the investment and competition environment is not favourable for the development of science and technology; State management of scientific and technological activities is cumbersome, not catching up with changes of the economy and international trends; policies in using and appointing scientists and technological personnel to important posts are in place but not yet enter into life; investment mode and financial mechanism for science and technology have not helped remove barriers to scientific and technological operations in reality at central and local levels.
This situation poses great challenges to science and technology forces when the country enters into a new stage of development and deeper international integration and is being affected by the global impacts of the fourth industrial revolution. One of the three strategic breakthroughs, in addition to finalizing the mechanism of socialist-oriented market economy and construction of a synchronous system of infrastructure, is the rapid development of high-quality human resources closely linked to science and technology, the decisive factor for the success of comprehensive and synchronous restructuring of the economy, renew the growth model in both scope and scale, pay more attention to quality, and improve the quality of growth, labour productivity and competitiveness of the economy.
2. For science and technology to have further direct and effective impacts on the quality of growth and competitiveness of the economy, and in order to develop science and technology to the level of the leading group of ASEAN countries by 2020, and some of the areas to reach the world advanced level by 2030, in the coming time, it is needed to organize successful implementation of the groups of solutions for development of science and technology set by Resolution 20-NQ/TW dated 31 October 2012 of the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 11th Tenure “Develop science and technology in service of the cause of industrialization and modernization in a socialist-oriented market economy and international integration,” focusing on basic, comprehensive and synchronous renewal of the management, investment and financial mechanism in scientific and technological operations. The goal of removing the bottlenecks of mechanism is to create a really favourable and healthy policy environment, remove barriers and liberate to the maximum the creative potentials of science and technological forces to enhance results, particularly efficiency and positive impacts of scientific and technological activities for socio-economic development of the country.
First of all, carry out a comprehensive review of the system of policies and laws on science and technology to settle in time contradictions and overlapping to ensure them to be in line with the legal system on economy, trade, and investment; remove voluntarism and administrative barriers to scientific and technological activities. Attention should be paid to the quality rather than quantity of legal documents and the speed of promulgation of legal documents. Study and respect particularities of scientific and technological activities while designing new or revising and supplementing existing policies and laws on science and technology. Update advanced international practices and trends in the management of scientific and technological activities so as not to lag behind the region and the world.
The nature of science and technology is the incessantly creativeness of human mind beyond the border of thinking and common framework, thus, the development of a legal system with many overlapping documents only contains creative activities within rigid legal corridor and administrative procedures. Therefore, there is a need to “untie” and unleash the creativity for scientific and technological forces, with a clear legal environment, simplified procedures and documents, creating favourable conditions for scientists and science and technology institutions to be freely creative within the legal framework.
Second, continue to review the management mechanism of scientific and technological activities toward efficiency and positive impacts of the tasks of science and technology on real socio-economic life. Pay attention to quality and indicators of impacts of articles and papers published internationally rather than the quantity and speed of internationally-published articles; and the applicability and commercialization of inventions rather than the quantity of patents. Adopt a mechanism to promote technological renovation toward applying new and modern technologies.
Closely follow requirements for renewal of the growth model, restructure of economic sectors and industries and the science and technology trend in the world in the 4th industrial revolution (virtual wisdom, digital era, the Internet, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary technologies of physics, digital technology and biology) to correctly determine the range of scientific and technological tasks, invest in the right direction and effectively resolve urgent demands for the development of the country, sectors, industries and businesses.
Ensure the principle of openness, transparency, independent peer review (including international criticism) in recruitment and selection of scientific and technological tasks. Empower to the maximum organizations and individuals to chair scientific and technological missions, public science and technology institutions coupled with compulsory mechanisms subject to independent assessment and social monitoring, and make public achievements in science and technology.
Build and develop a strong science workforce, in combination with incentive measures and placing orders to scientists; and train and appoint talented people to important posts while demanding their honesty and morality in research studies.
Reform the State management apparatus and improve qualified management personnel in science and technology toward giving prominence to the principle of public-spiritedness, honesty, objectivity and fairness; renew management thinking to cope in time with constant and rapid changes in scientific and technological life; apply high-tech and technological advances in the management of science and technology to minimize administrative procedures for scientists and organizations operating in science and technology.
Third, comprehensively renew the investment mode and financial mechanism in science and technology with focus and targets and make the quality of scientific and technological products, efficiency and added value brought about by science and technology to the economic and social life and the community as cross-cutting principle in investment and financial policies for science and technology.
Concentrate investment on applied research to rapidly improve national technological capacity, level of design, manufacturing, and application of techniques and technologies in industries and sectors that are given priority for development; pay attention to proper investment in basic research and applied-oriented basic research in order to enhance the capacity and level of scientific research as a prerequisite for the application of scientific and technological advances at a high level. At the same time, calculate to earmark part of the investment in learning and mastering imported technologies from the world. Strongly mobilize social capital and foreign investment capital resources for the development of science and technology.
Further investment in research, particularly basic research in universities; encourage the establishment of research and technology transfer institutions and centers, and science and technological businesses in schools. Strengthen the links between science and technology institutions and businesses; expand linkages between the State, scientists, entrepreneurs and farmers. Encourage and create favourable conditions for businesses from all economic sectors to conduct research and apply science and technology; adopt a mechanism to encourage the business sector to invest in research, application and renewal of technologies (through public-private partnership) in order to improve the capacity to absorb technologies in the immediate future by Vietnamese businesses, advancing toward moving the focus of applied-research to the business sector in accordance with international practice.
Identify and select national-level science and technology tasks, resolve national issues in the long run to concentrate on investment and adequate investment. Consider the possibility of decentralizing and investing in tapping local potentials in science and technology by territorial regions in order to develop the aggregate strength and competitive advantages of regions.
Review the current situation to make selected investment in some strong research institutes and in essential infrastructure for research; put an end to investment in and dissolve ineffective institutions.
Boldly implement a mechanism to decentralize rights of ownership of the results of State-funded scientific and technological researches to research institutions or individual scientists (without going through the mechanism of right granting) to liberalize the application and trading activities and commercialize the results of science and technology researches. Continue efforts to simplify financial payment and liquidation procedures in science and technology activities in accordance with international practice to minimize unnecessary administrative burden for organizations and individuals operating in science and technology. Develop and strengthen the capacity of science and technology service providers, develop science and technology markets, and finalize the legal framework of intellectual property rights and technological transfer to effectively support science and technology market operation.
In short, the comprehensive renovation of the management, investment and financial mechanism regarding science and technology needs to pay special attention to the final goal of quality and efficiency of scientific and technological activities so as to have direct and stronger impacts on the quality of growth, labour productivity, and competitiveness of the country and businesses. To achieve the goal of taking Vietnam to early and basically become an industrialized and modern on the basis of real motivation of scientific and technological renovation, it is necessary to have a resolute will of the entire political system as well as positive response and consensus from the entire society.