The start of an innovation era

Monday, 2021-01-18 17:09:30
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Mock-up of the National Innovation Centre
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NDO - Construction of the first ever National Innovation Centre (NIC) recently kicked off at the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi. This was not only the first innovation event in 2021 but also a highlight within the strategy on deploying the fourth Industrial Revolution in Vietnam, marking the start of the innovation era in the country.

The centre is designed to gather innovative domestic and international businesses and groups while providing laboratories, offices and workplaces for experts and scientists in order to help them develop and realise their technological initiatives in line with international standards.

It will also support and develops the nation’s start-ups and innovation ecosystems, contributing to growth models based on science and technology.

Previously, the Ministry of Planning and Investment launched a programme called Connecting Vietnam’s Innovation Network, which gathered hundreds of talented Vietnamese experts and scientists in the fields of science and technology from around the world.

To date, the network has attracted the participation of more than 1,000 overseas Vietnamese scientists and has established five offices in the US, Germany, Japan and Australia.

At the end of 2020, the Ministry of Planning and Investment launched a programme to support enterprises’ digital transformation in the 2021-2025 period.

The programme aims to support a minimum of 100 businesses to become exemplary digital transformation models and facilitate the establishment of a network of experts that includes at least 100 organisations and individuals offering solutions to promote digital transformation for businesses as well as supporting the development of digital platforms.

Starting from a backward economy, Vietnam rose into a lower middle-income country in 2009. However, the country’s technology, machinery, equipment, and production lines have not been improved and not many new economic models have been effectively applied and implemented, an issue which has resulted from limitations in technical infrastructure, insufficient awareness among localities and sectors about the role of science, technology and innovation, and inadequate allocation of investment resources.

Meanwhile, science - technology, innovation, research and development activities are still mainly undertaken by the state sector and receive less attention and investment from private organisations and enterprises.

Vietnam’s spending on science and technology development, in both the State and private sectors, continues to be very modest, accounting for just 0.44% of gross domestic product (GDP), much lower than the world average of 2.23%.

These weaknesses can be addressed once Vietnam is fully determined to seize the opportunities brought by the fourth Industrial Revolution.

The country’s determination was underlined in the Prime Minister’s Decision No.1269/QD-TTg on the launch of the National Innovation Centre. The document was promulgated to realise Politburo Resolution 52-NQ/TW which outlines policies guiding Vietnam's active involvement in the revolution.

Several studies and reports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Vietnamese economy have shown that the contribution of labour and capital to GDP growth will decline sharply in the next five years, thus, innovation and total factor productivity (TFP) will play a crucial role in maintaining economic growth. Therefore, innovation and the application of science and technology have now become a strategic breakthrough point for Vietnam to catch up with the rapid development of the world.