Thursday 02 October 2014

Today (2 October 2014), the VN-UK Institute for Research and Executive Education was officially launched at the University of Danang, laying a foundation for the future Vietnam-UK University. 

Joining the opening ceremony were the newly-appointed British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever, Professor Bui Van Ga, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Education and Training and Dr. Phung Tan Viet, Vice-President at Danang People's Committee, giving opening speech at the ceremony. Also present was Professor Dame Julia King, UK Low Carbon Business Ambassador and Vice-Chancellor of Aston University. 

A.Professor, Dr Tran Van Nam, Director of the University of Danang and Cherry Gough, Country Director of the British Council in Vietnam represented key stakeholders in the Vietnam-UK University project. 

The establishment of the VN-UK Institute for Research and Executive Education (the VN-UK Institute) is a milestone following the historic Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Vietnam-UK University, signed in London in January 2013. The signing was witnessed by Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam on his official UK visit.

The establishment of the VN-UK Institute built on the close partnership between the University of Danang and Aston University with enthusiastic support from the British Council. Aston University is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce. It has been rated among the top 10 UK universities for graduate employment and for producing millionaires. The future Vietnam-UK University will focus on research and education in response to industry demands, taking advantage of the above-mentioned strengths of Aston University.  

As an integral part of the VN-UK Institute, the UK-ASEAN Research Hub received investments from the British Council, Aston University and the University of Danang. The hub will develop research capacity for researchers in such areas as electronics, telecommunications, biotechnology, finance and accounting. It will become a centre for research exchange, enabling Vietnam-UK and ASEAN-UK research partnerships. 

The British Council in Vietnam play an important role in connecting Vietnam and UK partners, evidenced by the engagement of Rolls-Royce International and Tate & Lyle plc as two active industry partners. Rolls-Royce joined the British Council, Aston University and the University of Danang to organise leadership trainings which targeted Vietnamese business executives.

Tate & Lyle has committed to providing a scholarship of US$210,000 for outstanding students from disadvantaged regions in Vietnam to support their studies at the Vietnam-UK University. 

Giles Lever, the British Ambassador to Vietnam said: “The opening of the VN-UK Institute for Research and Executive Education marks an important and historic development in the bilateral relationship. It will allow closer collaboration in research and innovation to fuel Vietnam’s longer term economic development. This supports the wider UK-Vietnam strategic partnership.

“The Institute will help to prepare students and researchers for the wider workplace, by developing strong skills and, through unique partnerships with industry, will inform the design and delivery of research programmes bringing placement opportunities for students. 

“This will help us to realise our longer-term ambition of establishing the Vietnam-UK University. We will continue to work towards that goal in partnership with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training.”

The Foundation Programme, the inaugural programme of the VN-UK Institute was briefed to participants in the launch. This will be a one-year programme which aims to equip students with language and research skills needed to study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Students are expected to get a minimum equivalent of IELTS 6.5 in terms of English capacity when they complete the programme. 

For future students at the Vietnam - UK University, from the second year, they will have placement opportunities with major companies. This will be made able building on the strengths of Aston University in building industry links and engaging partners in designing and delivering programmes. 

Reflecting on the launch, Deputy Minister Ga added: “The VN-UK Institute can be considered the first institute for research and higher education ever established in the Central Vietnam. The Institute lays an important foundation for the establishment of the future Vietnam - UK University.

“The VN-UK Institute and the future Vietnam - UK University is a vivid example of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the UK. The establishment of the institute and the future Vietnam-UK University is in line with the governmental strategy of setting up universities of excellence as a key to reform the higher education sector in Vietnam.”

The launch was followed by a Vietnam - UK Business Forum on “Preparing graduates for a GREAT career”, which was co-organised by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), VN-UK Institute for Research and Executive Education, Aston University and the British Council in Vietnam. 

The business forum attracted the likes of Giles Lever, the British Ambassador to Vietnam, Professor Dame Julia King, UK Low Carbon Business Ambassador and Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, David Priestley, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce International Vietnam, Edward Butt, Vice President (Sustainability) at Tate & Lyle plc together with 80 representatives from local and international companies and organisations.

The business forum represents an exciting opportunity for participants to look at triple helix of university - industry - government and to share Vietnam and UK experience on good practices to optimise graduates' employability.