Effective models formed to boost linkage in research and production

Monday, 2019-05-20 13:06:56
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Researchers from Rang Dong Light Source and Vacuum Flask Joint Stock Company test led products on agricultural products.
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NDO – Innovative activities in enterprises have received much attention but have not solved the issue in applying science and technology (S&T) to increase productivity yet. Therefore, from 2013, a project on Fostering Innovation through Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) by the Ministry of Science and Technology has supported enterprises to combine with research institutes and universities to innovate technology, thus solving practical problems through research projects.

Practical models

Nguyen Huu Yen's family is one of the oldest flower-growing households in Tay Tuu commune, Bac Tu Liem district (Hanoi). Guiding his visitors on a field trip to his 4,300 m2 garden, which is a pilot for testing the use of light bulbs for chrysanthemum cultivation, Yen said, this is the second flower crop in which he has used specialised light bulbs without breaking any yet. The bulb is superior to other conventional lighting products, which consume only a third of the power compared to using the old light bulbs. It is the LED product by Rang Dong Company and the research group for the development, production, testing and commercialisation of LED products used in artificial high-tech agricultural lighting in Vietnam market, supported by the FIRST project. The project successfully researched eight categories of LED products specifically for tissue culture, safe vegetables, chrysanthemum, dragon fruit, algae and fishing vessels. When giving products to farmers to experiment, the project initially received good feedback and the bulbs were used to replace light products that are widely used but consume a lot of power.

According to engineer Nguyen Van Trinh (Rang Dong’s R&D Centre), thanks to the research, the company has eight dedicated LED products that have been completed and commercialised in Da Lat, Hanoi, Binh Thuan, Tien Giang and Tay Ninh. The company's research team has successfully manufactured LED products, laying the basis for long-term research and continuing to promote the results to solve lighting problems, as well as creating new products and processes for production restructuring in Vietnam's agricultural sector. The success is due to the fact that Rang Dong has cooperated with research institutes and universities for many years, thereby attracting experts and scientists to study, work and solve the practical issues of local production units.

Hidumi Pharma Green Science Joint Stock Company (Quynh Luu district, Nghe An) is also a typical unit in technology innovation that has received support from the FIRST for its project on "Research and application of technology solutions to develop producing and processing Spirulina on an industrial scale and promoting the commercialisation of Spirulina products". In just two years, the company has fully mastered the technology and source of high-value Spirulina algae seeds. Furthermore, the company has built three modern laboratories, creating a new technology process, with Spirulina products applied in multiple fields and has sent seven algae products to the market, thus creating jobs and income for roughly 500 local workers. After implementing the project, the company's revenue is expected to increase by 150%, with net profit expected to increase by 120%.

In the field of technology, there are also enterprises that have created outstanding growth after being supported by FIRST. As in the Tri Nam Technology Development Investment Joint Stock Company, the company was funded by FIRST, with the capital covering 70% of its project on developing an app on job management - VTICK, helping users to list jobs and plans that can be synced on smartphones and online websites. The product has been completed and attracted many customers, such as Hanoi Medical University Hospital and Vietnam Electricity Group. Another example is Minh Viet Service Commercial and Media Joint Stock Company, after implementing the project on “Research and developing practical enhancement technology on mobile devices - Manufacturing educational support software for preschool, primary and junior high school students", the company has launched software to help students learn English, Vietnamese or appropriate mind games for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education model.

According to Pham Van Dien, a member of FIRST, enterprises joining the project have encountered several difficulties in their ability related to management, commercialisation of their products and finance, but after participating in the project with the support of FIRST, they have made significant changes, with most of them now confident when introducing commercial products and quickly finding partners. To date, FIRST has funded 68 projects, of which 15 businesses have received support to promote creative activities and technological innovation, as well as creating new production processes.

A push for research and innovation

In the context of the current international integration, if there is no change in management methods, production processes and technology to create new products with reasonable prices, it is almost impossible for manufacturers to compete with foreign products. Meanwhile, enterprises are defined as the centre of the sustainable development goal and improving national competitiveness. Enhancing the effectiveness of scientific research, technology development and S&T application activities, while promoting creative activities for enterprises, is to create added value for the economy and push the country towards sustainable development. Therefore, investment in technology innovation for enterprises will contribute to improving productivity, competitiveness and the growth quality of the economy. From that foundation, the FIRST prioritises investment for cooperative research groups in order to boost science, technology and innovation among businesses, institutes and universities, as well as deploying business projects based on research results.

From the project implementation results at his unit, General Director of Rang Dong Company, Nguyen Doan Thang, affirmed that FIRST is an opportunity to implement the idea of ​​manufacturing Vietnamese LED products for agricultural lighting. The company has worked with scientists to develop the project and are committed to obtaining the final products meeting the requirements. Notably, through the support from FIRST, it will ensure enterprises are more closely linked with research facilities, supported by foreign experts and inherit from the research results under the national technological innovation project on developing lighting products. Moreover, FIRST support also has the role of a "midwife" to encourage the formation of a role S&T alliance model and a more integrated production and distribution chain. In the same view, the General Director of Hidumi Pharma Green Company said that, thanks to the support of FIRST, the company gained confidence and affirmed its determination to invest in S&T and innovation. The unit not only succeeded in mastering the technology, but also opened up great potential for the products resulted from the project, such as the extraction of Chlorin e6 product from Spirulina, thus creating a premise for research on cancer therapy, as well as opening up the prospect of applying Spirulina in cancer treatment in Vietnam and around the world.

Director Luong Van Thang of FIRST Management Board shared that the enterprises joining the project all have potential in S&T, but do not dare to invest in creative innovation because they are not sure how the project will bring success. The FIRST project with the support of the World Bank has introduced the innovative financing method that approaches the international funding method, from the approval and selection, to the implementation, all the processes are public and transparent in technological innovation and supporting experts and scientists to help enterprises successfully implement the proposed projects. Therefore, the project not only creates trust for enterprises with regards to investment in S&T in production but also promotes the transformation in the viewpoint related to investment in technological innovation, serving the capacity enhancement and boosting competition of businesses and the economy. On the other hand, the FIRST’s long-term goal is to effectively support the innovation system, thus solving the "bottleneck" between the creativity of scientists and the desire to innovate technologies by enterprises to increase the added value for their products.