Professor Doctor Nguyễn Văn Tuyến, director of the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, spoke to Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) newspaper about motivating young scientists.
What do you think about the fact that 93 percent of Vietnamese people holding doctorate degrees work at government agencies?
I think the figure 93 percent is suitable to our country’s circumstance. Most of them work at government research institutes or universities training future scientists and researchers while conducting research.
It is unquestionable that to apply advanced science and technology in their daily production, enterprises need to have plenty of good engineers in both research and development. This is a matter of life or death for any nation.
Many doctorate degree holders or professors have not pursued their academic titles and moved to work in other fields. What’s your opinion on these u-turns?
In my opinion, professors, associate professors or doctors should take the lead in research groups. Their deep and wide scientific knowledge will help elevate the nation’s science and technology to a higher level and turn scientific theory into practice.
However, I think the government should invest more in scientific and technological development. In my observation, at present, only a few big research institutes and universities have received sufficient capital investment for their research. This reality has become a big hurdle in the development of science and technology in Việt Nam.
Adding to that is the poor working environment and low salaries have made many people move to other jobs.
How to motivate Vietnamese researchers and scientists to pursue advanced science and technology remains an open question which needs to be addressed immediately.
In your many years working in international universities, do you see any differences in the assignments given to scientists abroad and in Việt Nam?
A professor at a big university abroad has to give lectures, conduct research and tutor students. The professor must have research papers published in journals, particularly in known journals. The more prestigious the university the fiercer the competition.
In many countries, it has become a compulsory that a professor must have a research project published in a foreign journal.
In Việt Nam why we don’t have such a rule?
Public investment in science and technology is not yet abundant. For example, at the National Institute of Mathematics, salaries of people with doctorate degrees are based on their years of service not on where or which university that they were awarded the Doctorate Degree, in Việt Nam, abroad or from a prestigious university.
The government should re-think about the salary system so that good scientists can devote their hearts and minds to their work.
There should be a good financial mechanism in scientific research that properly acknowledges the true value of research._VNS