Advancing Research Quality in Vietnam through the 'Research Excellence for Vietnam' framework

Friday - 01/03/2024 10:24
On February 26-27, 2024, the "Research Excellence for Vietnam" conference was held at Hanoi University of Science and Technology. It aimed to propose a quality assessment framework for research in Vietnam, with the goal of bolstering Vietnamese universities toward global recognition in higher education. The event garnered participation from key figures including leaders from the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as partners from the United Kingdom and representatives from major organizations like the World Bank and Elsevier.
Delegates engaged in group discussions on the framework "Research Excellence for Vietnam"
Delegates engaged in group discussions on the framework "Research Excellence for Vietnam"
Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Hoang Minh Son, underscored the significance of a research evaluation framework to elevate the quality of scientific research in Vietnam. Despite notable achievements in scientific research and technology transfer recently, the absence of a unified evaluation framework for Vietnamese institutions has led to resource wastage and a focus on quantity over quality in publications, affecting societal impact. He emphasized, " The framework enables us to have more insights into facilitating the national missions including fostering high-quality human resource development project, building an excellent training center system and talent for the Industrial Revolution 4.0, and facilitating technology transfers in higher education institutions".
Deputy Minister Hoang Minh Son addressing the conference
During the conference, UK experts presented the Research Excellence Framework models from various countries worldwide, including European Unions, Australia, Hongkong, and other Southeast Asian countries. From that, they proposed a suitable Research Excellence in Vietnam (REV) model to Vietnam's research conditions and culture. REV is poised to play a pivotal role in advancing research excellence with academic and socioeconomic impacts, establishing a sustainable research culture, and providing reliable performance indicators for policy development. Experts also provide detailed analysis of different evaluation methods, using metrics (impact factor, citations) and peer-review to classify the quality of publications. Dr. Bui Thi Ngoc Thuy, Associate Director of HUST's Department of Partnerships and Engagement, co-principal investigator of the project, believed that by providing a transparent mechanism, the framework will empower state agencies and funding organizations to quantitatively assess research capacity, thereby optimizing investment and development strategies for each sector of science and technology.

Donna McGowan, Director of the British Council, commended the initial project outcomes but highlighted the challenges in implementing REV in Vietnamese universities. She stressed the need for long-term commitment and investment from the government, acknowledging efforts from relevant ministries in enhancing research performance and quality. She also emphasized the British Council's companionship and support with the project in improving the quality of higher education and research in Vietnam.
Prof. Raymond Lee, co-principal investigator representing the UK, presented the research framework 'Research Excellence for Vietnam
The REV initiative is set to pilot at six Vietnamese universities across different fields (engineering and technology, social sciences, arts and humanities, agriculture, and natural sciences) and geographical regions, supported by the Ministry of Education and Training. This pilot aims to propose suitable changes and recommendations for further development to relevant ministries. 

The conference is part of the project "Towards excellence in research and knowledge transfer: a global partnership approach," sponsored by the British Council. It is a collaboration between five universities, including University of Portsmouth, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, University of Mining and Geology, and Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City. As Vietnam's leading technical university,  Hanoi University of Science and Technology has actively contributed to the project. Leveraging its expertise in fostering outstanding research and advising governmental policies on science and technology development, HUST collaborated with UK partners to tailor the REV framework to meet the needs and capacities of Vietnamese universities. In phase 2 of the project, aimed at piloting at select universities to refine REV, HUST continues to play a coordinating role, organizing training sessions for several universities' staff.

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