Official affirms pillar position of the economy based on science, technology, and innovation

May 20, 2024 - 07:05
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has outlined five main solution groups for implementing the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation to serve the development of the Industry and Trade sector until 2030.
Lý Quốc Hùng, Director of the Department of Science and Technology at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Photo

The Industry and Trade Magazine discussed with Lý Quốc Hùng, Director of the Department of Science and Technology at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the science and technology innovation activities of the Industry and Trade sector to help build a modern national industry and actively contribute to developing trade towards rapid and sustainable growth.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has affirmed its position as a pillar of the economy in the fields of industry and trade. Could you share your contributions to the Ministry's science and technology innovation development in recent years?

In recent years, the contributions of science and technology innovation activities have been demonstrated in various aspects, from providing theoretical and practical foundations for the process of building and completing development orientations, policies, and state management tools for each sector and field, to promoting and enhancing domestic production capacity, product competitiveness, and the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises by supporting them in researching and applying scientific and technological achievements to practical production and business.

Scientific research, by providing scientific and practical arguments, has played an important role in developing and issuing policies, leading to breakthrough developments across all sectors and fields of industrial production, domestic trade, import-export and international economic integration. Many new issues with far-reaching impacts on sector development have been swiftly incorporated into research content, providing clear arguments for the policies and directions issued by the Ministry and the Government. These have become major policy decisions contributing to the sector's sustainable growth objectives.

By the end of the 2016-2020 period, many studies focused on evaluating and analysing the implementation of sector strategies, planning and development plans, making significant contributions to setting directions for the period 2021-2030. Key projects include the Industry Restructuring Project, the Export-Import Strategy, and the Domestic Market Development Strategy. Additionally, research results during this period made substantial contributions to negotiating and participating in multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements, supporting policies for Vietnamese enterprises to open up and engage in the global market.

The Strategy for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to serve the development of the Industry and Trade sector until 2030 has been approved. To ensure the objectives by 2030, which areas will the Industry and Trade sector prioritise?

The Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation to serve the development of the Industry and Trade sector until 2030 was signed by the Minister of Industry and Trade and issued in Decision No. 2795/QD-BCT on 30 October 2023. The strategy clearly prioritises research and development activities, the application of new, modern technologies and digitalisation to create breakthroughs in production capacity and levels in key, priority industries, including high-tech and processing-manufacturing industries. It particularly emphasises research, application, and technological innovation activities with policies aimed at 'catching up' and then 'leading' in technology for manufacturing enterprises. Attention is also given to STI activities serving state management tasks.

STI is a crucial foundation and breakthrough component in industrial and commercial policy to innovate growth models, enhance productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the Industry and Trade sector. It ensures technological independence in industries, especially in key technologies, contributing to accelerating the industrialisation and modernisation of the country.

Furthermore, the strategy aims to foster strong relationships between universities, research institutes, and enterprises in STI activities, with enterprises playing a central role, research institutes and universities acting as strong research entities, and state management agencies guiding, coordinating and creating a conducive environment for STI activities. It seeks to mobilise and effectively use resources from state budgets and businesses, encouraging private sector investment in STI activities in the Industry and Trade sector.

According to the strategy, by 2030, what measures will be taken to enhance STI's contribution to the industry and trade sector's overall growth objectives, such as an average annual industrial value-added growth rate of over 8.5 per cent and an average annual labour productivity growth rate of 7.5 per cent?

To make STI a true driver contributing to national and Industry and Trade sector development goals, significant innovations in state mechanisms and policies are required in the coming period. Currently, the 2013 Science and Technology Law is under review for amendments. In recent times, the Department of Science and Technology, along with the ministry's scientific organisations, has advised ministry leaders on key points needing prompt amendment and supplementation.

Specifically, the Science and Technology Law should shift focus from management to creating a framework for development, encouraging and mobilising participation and contributions from all societal sectors, aiming for our country to become a developed nation based on STI.

A fundamental change in approach and mindset towards scientific and technological products and activities is also needed to resolve existing issues related to final product allocation, handling assets formed from scientific tasks and budgeting for scientific activities.

We also need rapid innovation in the assignment of management responsibilities and coordination in the implementation of the Science and Technology Law to ensure consistency and effectiveness, avoiding overlaps and resource wastage while promoting sectoral, field, and local management roles as well as the national coordinating body’s role in STI tasks. It is crucial to ensure coherence between STI policies and regulations and other related laws, continue research to propose necessary amendments or new legal documents to address implementation issues of the Science and Technology Law.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has outlined five main solution groups for implementing the strategy: Mechanisms, policies, STI management system; Training and human resource development; Investment and finance; International cooperation and integration; and Information, communication, and honour activities. A particular focus is on mechanisms and policies, including enhancing participation and effective coordination with relevant ministries to amend, completing the legal framework on STI and related laws to meet new requirements, granting autonomy to organisations and individuals leading STI tasks to unlock potential and promote proactivity and creativity in research, alongside independent evaluation and social supervision, publicising STI task results, and creating a legal framework for piloting and experimenting with new economic models based on STI.

Additionally, comprehensive innovation in management and organisation of STI tasks is required, ensuring transparency, objectivity, and simplified procedures. Effective priority mechanisms for organisations and individuals leading STI tasks to achieve outstanding results should be enforced.

The STI organisations in the Industry and Trade sector have significantly contributed to the sector's development. Could you please elaborate on the development orientation of these organisations in the restructuring proposal for institutes and universities in the Industry and Trade sector by 2030?

The Ministry of Industry and Trade currently has 13 research institutes, with two of them having undergone equitisation and operating as joint-stock companies with state controlling shares. Sector-wise, there are an additional nine research institutes under corporations. Most of the institutes under the Ministry are leading entities established and operated for many years. Out of 11 institutes under the Ministry, except for the Institute of Strategy and Policy for Industry and Trade focusing on overarching strategy and policy research, the remaining 10 institutes have relatively independent specialised fields.

According to the Restructuring Proposal for STI organisations under the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the period 2021-2030, with a vision to 2045, the long-term goal is to form large-scale public STI organisations with strong capabilities compared to regional and global counterparts, to address core scientific and technological issues that decisively influence competitiveness and technological leadership for domestic manufacturing enterprises.

In the medium term, the aim is to gradually form multi-disciplinary STI organisations with high levels of technological integration and linkage. In the short term, the focus is on restructuring the ministry's STI organisations in parallel with internal restructuring within units. This aligns with the mission of supporting enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, in enhancing their technology absorption capacity and progressively upgrading their technological level; linking research with training, maximising research capacity of institutes and practical training facilities of educational institutions.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang signed Decision No. 229/QD-TTg approving the planning of the public STI organisation network for the period 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050. The goal is to reduce the number of public STI organisations by 20 per cent by 2030, addressing redundancy and overlapping functions, focusing on developing applied research organisations in priority, key sectors to implement new scientific research and technology development directions.

In line with the national orientation and requirements of restructuring public STI organisations under the Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is currently reviewing and building plans on the principle that mergers ensure mutual support and symbiosis among units for joint development. By 2030, the aim is to establish a multi-disciplinary applied STI organisation system linked with state management requirements, priority sector development, and global industry and technology trends. VNS