On 24 March 2017, the surgical team of Military Hospital 108 in Hanoi, after a number of discussion and trials, completed a successful operation to replace the right jaw bone of a patient by applying many advanced techniques and technology such as simulation designing, data mining, inverse designing, rapid prototyping and 3D printing. These techniques allow surgeons and technicians to discuss and analyse the construction of a sample bone which is identical to the missing bone, and to plan precisely and accurately before the operation. As a result, the operation took only nine instead of the usual 12 hours, which had a significant impact in terms of risk minimisation for the patient and also cost reduction.

This is the achievement of the ‘HAPIE - Enhancements of High-Quality Human Resources and Employability for Vietnam in Design and Development of High-value Added Products, Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ project, which was implemented by a collaboration of more than 20 Vietnamese and UK universities, institutes, hospitals and businesses.

After this success, Vietnamese doctors and technicians were able to take a more active role in implementing similar cases with a high level of accuracy and safety with lower cost that has allowed low-income patients to use this health service. 

As part of the project, the project scientists also supported FabLab in Can Tho to design and improve 3D printing in problem-based teaching and learning environments.    

The project team also demonstrated the ability to work across disciplines whilst designing and producing high-value added products. A typical example was the manufacture of artificial hands for an ethnic student who lost his hands in an accident when he was 15.

Besides these significant achievements, innovative technical products and ideas were also discussed between scientists from University of Greenwich, Cardiff University, London South Bank University, and Newcastle University and Vietnamese project team members.

Assoc. Prof. Mai Anh Tuan, Hanoi University of Science and Technology project leader, said ‘Apart from the above achievements, HAPIE was able to create an active collaboration network with close connection where members could call for consultancy, matching fund or in-kind support. I myself highly appreciate the contribution from the project team members, especially from the UK experts in proposal development, knowledge and technology transfer and project management. I would also like to send my gratitude to the British Council for supporting this meaningful project.”

Assoc. Professor Tran Duc Tang, Le Quy Don Technical University said “I am happy to be a partner of the project. We learnt a lot from our UK partners about working method, workshop organisation skills, and proposal writing skills. I think the active partner network is an important achievement of the project.”

Attending one of the project workshops, Professor Jun Nakajima, Senior Advisor to the Rector and Co-director of Master’s programme in Environment Engineering, Vietnam-Japan University (VJU), said “This is a positive project. The expertise of the network is so diverse that, I think, they can support our nanotechnology and other natural science programmes at VJU.”

HAPIE is supported by the British Council under the Higher Education Partnership (HEP) fund, and will be completed by end of Jun 2017. However, the project team members have already signed a memorandum of collaboration for four more collaborative projects between the UK and Vietnam. The British Council would like to wish these projects every success. 

See also