Better Government's policies and more funds were keys to developing the science, technology and innovation system (STI), experts said at a conference in Hanoi on Oct. 5.

The conference is held by the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies to discuss the Draft Scientific and Technological Development Strategy for 2011-20.

" Vietnam is trying to upgrade too many things at the same time without a clear strategy that could define and sequence those activities towards a coherent new goal," said Carlos Aguirre-Bastos, member of the institute's International Consultancy Group and also chairman of the Bolivian Scientific Academy .

Aguirre-Bastos said government policies and norms must be simpler, concise and enabling, with ambiguities removed to provide a solid foundation to base STI development.

He also pointed out that the existing expenditure in scientific and technological activities is small, making up only about 0.15 percent of the Government's budget.

He added it is important to not just raise the funds but also ease access to the funds.

The allocation of financial resources is too rigid, said Aguirre-Bastos, citing as an example the difficulties of universities in seeking research finance from ministries other than the Ministry of Education and Training.

Regarding the Draft Scientific and Technological Development Strategy for 2011-20, Hannu Kokko, chief technical advisor of the Overseas Development Assistance Innovation Partnership Programme, said the strategy is too wide to guide allocation of resources and lacks focus. Other experts agreed.

Institute deputy director Nguyen Manh Quan said the linkage between research and development institutions and business sector is still weak, which is shown by the small number of business contracts made between the two parties in Vietnam over the past years.

Quan said, however, that the Ministry of Science and Technology has recently made some good proposals to support enterprises. The highlight of those is the National Technological Reform Programme until 2012, which is approved in May.

Around 200 billion VND (9.7 million USD) will be spent, including for the business sector, said Quan./.