Government plans overhaul of industry, trade research units

 Research institutes affiliated with Vietnam’s industry and trade sector have recorded major achievements in science and technology (sci-tech) but are still facing many difficulties in improving their research capacity.

State management agencies should pay greater attention to investment in research facilities

According to the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), facilities at many research institutes have been degraded by time. Equipment at many establishments is outdated and can now only serve basic research. Intensive research activities, which require new generation machinery and equipment, are limited and must be outsourced.

In addition, a drop in the number of highly qualified researchers in some institutes in recent years has posed many difficulties and challenges, especially as many units have been granted financial autonomy and are required to perform consulting services and technology transfers to meet technological innovation requirements of enterprises.

The coordination between researchers and businesses in conducting research projects using state funding has not been effective, partly because there are no strict regulations on the institutes’ responsibility for innovating technology and improving production and business efficiency in state-owned enterprises.

Institutes also meet difficulties in getting working capital loans for business and technology transfer activities. The institutes operate under a mechanism of autonomy and self-responsibility but they cannot use assets as collateral for loans to sign major economic contracts.

In light of these shortcomings, the MoIT has requested the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to coordinate with relevant ministries and sectors on an overhaul of public science and technology organizations, in accordance with Government Decree 54/2016/ND-CP. The overhaul will include allocation and management of land and assets, capital mobilization, tax exemption and reduction of trial production. The MoST also needs to issue instructions on assignments of sci-tech tasks and corresponding support mechanisms for institutes under the Science and Technology Development Fund.

The MoST will also coordinate with relevant ministries and sectors on mechanisms for effective collaboration between research institutes, universities, colleges and enterprises; create conditions for institutes to receive business registration certificates to provide revenue-generating public services in keeping with their new autonomy and self-responsibility mechanisms. The ministry will also adjust the intensive investment policy in facilities and research equipment for sci-tech organizations from the state budget according to the science and technology development requirements, regardless of whether the research organizations are under the MoST or under other groups and corporations.

In order to enhance the capacity of research institutes, the MoIT aims to have about six to nine specialized laboratories by 2020 with modern facilities and research equipment of regional and international standards.

Quynh Nga

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