Nearly 100 researchers from the UK and Vietnam met in Ho Chi Minh City from 17 to 20 February in the Researcher Links programme, the latest initiative by the British Council to connect international researchers in their early career.
In Vietnam, the Researcher Links project aims at equipping early-career researchers with important tools to source funding for their research and to enhance international collaboration activities.
The Vietnam programme kicked off with two workshops on enhancing vaccine design and delivery strategies and on recent advances and developments in communications system. These were followed by a policy dialogue in which participants were invited to join a discussion on developing a tripartite link between government, research institutes and industries for sustainable development. Chairing the dialogue was David Baghurst, Head of ISIS Enterprise Asia, which belongs to ISIS Innovation Limited, fully owned by the Oxford University. The dialogue agenda touched on the role of industry and IP issues in research commercialisation, different science and innovation funding sources that support science and innovation, and the broad picture of the science and technology landscape in Vietnam.
Chris Brown, Country Director, British Council Vietnam said: ‘International research collaboration is essential for the global knowledge economy, and it has been shown that internationally mobile researchers tend to be more productive. Furthermore, a shared research interest can help to build trust and relationships between people from very different backgrounds and cultures.
‘And that inspires the British Council, as an international intercultural relations organisation with global expertise in higher education, to start this travel grants initiative with 19 partner countries across the world, including Russia and the United States of America.
'Vietnam has identified science and technology is one of the key players in the socio-economic development. In its National Strategy on Science and Technology 2011-2020, biotechnology and ICT are identified among five priority technology strands. And we are happy to see that the specific workshops compliment the establishment of scientific links in these strands.'
Submitting a proposal for a workshop on communications systems, the University of Leeds and the University of Science and Technology (University of Danang, Vietnam) were selected by the global Researcher Links programme to be Vietnam coordinators. Similarly the proposal by Aston University and the Biotechnology Centre of Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam was awarded funding for it touches on one of the hottest areas of strategic development in Vietnam, which is biotechnology with a focus on vaccine development.
The Researcher Links workshops in Vietnam attracted academics from world renowned institutions such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, UCL, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Leeds, Aston University, among others.