The UK government has earmarked a £10 million fund to support Vietnam’s research, renovation and creativity projects to spur social and economic development by 2019.
>> An audio version of the story is available here The funding was announced at a ceremony to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Newton Program Vietnam held in Hanoi on Wednesday between Vietnam’s Minister of Science and Technology, Nguyen Quan, and British Ambassador to Vietnam Giles Lever. Under the MoU, the UK government will provide support worth up to £10 million (US$15.33 million) through the Newton Program Vietnam, a comprehensive bilateral cooperation program on research, innovation and creativity from now until 2019. This program supports both Vietnamese and British scientists, researchers, science managers and innovative businesses, with priorities given to those engaged in the fields of health, life sciences, agriculture, environment, energy security, future metropolises, digital technology, renovation and creativity, according to the MoU. It will focus on research capacity building and fellowships, cooperative research projects on development challenges and cooperation in developing research results into practical applications. Through the program, the UK will support and share with Vietnam its successful experience in translating science, technology and innovation into momentum for socio-economic growth. Many Vietnamese and British organizations will jointly implement the program, according to the MoU. On the UK side are the UK Council, the UK Research Council, British academies and Innovate UK. On the Vietnamese side are the Ministry of Science and Technology’s affiliates including the International Cooperation Department, the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund, the Department for Development of Scientific and Technological Markets and Businesses and the Ministry of Education and Training’s Vietnam International Education Development Department. The coordinators of the program are the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology and the UK Embassy in Hanoi, the MoU said. The program is part of the £375 Newton Research Collaboration Program, an initiative by the UK to help boost the socio-economic development of its 15 partner countries, including Vietnam, in the 2014-2019 period, according to Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Saigon Economic Times) magazine. The Newton Research Collaboration Program is a component of the UK’s Newton Fund, which aims to develop science and innovation partnerships to promote the economic development and social welfare of developing countries, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering, a delivery partner for the Newton Fund. The UK Higher Education International Unit (IU), British Council, and partners are working with the UK government and partners in delivering the £375 million five-year Newton Fund and will keep the sector up to date about all new programs and calls, the IU said on its website. In the first few years of the fund, it is expected to run in 15 fast-developing economies, including China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt and Kazakhstan, the website said.