Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNUHCM) has recently granted its affiliate International University the authorization to establish and operate a Research Center for Infectious Diseases (RCID), which will receive US$8 million in investment in five years, on the university campus.
International University will be responsible for the development and operation of RCID, with the long-term goal of conducting in-depth research and publishing globally high-ranking journals that specialize in infectious diseases in humans and animals, Dr. Vu Hai Quan, VNUHCM director, said at a conference on Saturday.
“Amidst the enormous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various sectors of Vietnam's economy and society, we are fully aware of our responsibility in launching more practical research to ensure public health and promote the nation's welfare,” Quan emphasized.
In 2021-30, the newly-founded center will turn into a research unit that covers research on infectious diseases in humans and animals in Southeast Asia, with the participation of more than 60 well-trained professors and researchers.
RCID will be developed from the research base available at the International University campus, covering a total area of 540 hectares and being equipped with clean rooms for pilot plants and farming and modern laboratories that meet biosafety guidelines for scientific research.
Dr. Quan said that RCID will apply global advanced technologies to better respond to epidemics and introduce practical products such as a data management system on common infectious diseases, onsite rapid test kits and vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and pharmaceutical drugs.
“The center would play an important role as a tech hub where start-ups and technology companies come for technology transfers and collaboration on pilot production projects,” he added.
The center is meant to deliver training for both onsite researchers and those working overseas, raising their awareness and helping them better understand infectious diseases.
Dr. Tran Tien Khoa, rector of International University, stated at the meeting that RCID will attract multi-field cooperation, foreign direct investment, and domestic capital.
“This center is the first in Vietnam to lay the groundwork for in-depth learning about infectious diseases," Dr. Khoa remarked.
“In coordination with educational institutions, healthcare centers, businesses, and start-ups, the hub will bring up technological solutions, improve researchers’ quality, and fully prepare for the ever-changing epidemic."
VNUHCM estimates it will spend a total of VND145 billion ($6.4 million), alongside VND37 billion ($1.6 million) from International University, in investments in the center by 2026.
VNUHCM is one of the largest educational institutions in Vietnam with 38 units and seven member universities, according to its website.
It has recently made the 179th position in the QS Asia University Rankings (QS AUR), a prestigious ranking among top universities on the continent.