Total funding for science this year will reach an estimated 13.666 trillion VND (about 510,000 USD) as the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has decided to focus investment on a number of key scientific activities, the Vietnam Economic News reported.

In a recent working session with MOST, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that to make the whole society more aware of the role of science and technology, it would be better to focus on key scientific sectors than to spread the investment.

Vietnam had achieved several outstanding scientific and technological achievements such as rice genome decoding and oil and gas drilling rig manufacture. These were evidences for a good scientific investment and organisation model that Vietnam should continue to develop.

According to Director of Agricultural Genetics Institute Le Huy Ham, previously scientific investment resources are limited and assigned to many universities, institutes, and science and technology centers.

1,670 existing science and technology organisations in Vietnam, a country with GDP under 200 billion USD, are too many and wasting investment, according to Japanese experts.

“Instead of spreading investment to thousands of research institutes, universities, and centers, Vietnam should focus funding on several best ones and on two or three key industries. For example, the Australian Research Council used up to 66 percent of its scientific and technological funding to fund for five top universities in Australia and finally these five entered the list of 50 world leading universities,” said Rector of Hanoi University of Agriculture Tran Duc Vien.

Recently, capital and development expenditures such as salaries and regular operational spending in more than 1,000 public science and technology organisations have accounted for nearly 90 percent budget funding. Thus, just more than 10 percent budget funding was actually spent on scientific and technological researches and applications.

Research projects should be prioritized in terms of investment especially the most potential projects. Long-term research projects should be subject to periodic inspection on implementation. “Business and social communities will only be persuaded by specific products with obvious commercial value,” emphasised Pham Thanh Huy, Director of Advanced Institute for Science and Technology, Hanoi University of Technology.

According to Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan, experience of the most successful countries in the world indicates that the right investment level and time for education and science and technology will create a strong incentive for socio-economic development.

Therefore, MOST in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and relevant ministries is preparing a scientific and technological development master plan to submit to Prime Minister, focusing on reduced rates of scientific and technological development investment, and increased investment rates in scientific and technological researches and applications until 2020, with a view to effectively reduce the financial burden for the state budget.

The spending on scientific and technological researches and applications will be allocated according to the principle of reasonable investment thresholds for some key scientific and technological tasks, the most important for the overall development of the country, such as the national technology innovation programme and scientific and technological product development programme.-VNA