The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Vingroup's Innovation Fund jointly co-sponsored the research project to fight COVID-19 in Việt Nam. — Source baochinhphu.vn
Trịnh Thanh Hùng, deputy director of the Science and Technology Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology, talks to Việt Nam News Agency about the co-operation between his department and Vingroup to found the Vingroup Innovative Foundation (VINIF)
Will you please explain the mission of the Vingroup Innovation Foundation in the fight against COVID-19 in Việt Nam?
After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus – 2019-nCov in China, particularly when the first Vietnamese citizen was detected as the first case of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, the Ministry of Science and Technology has provided regular updates about the pandemic in Việt Nam as well as around the world.
On January 1, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) organised a meeting with Vietnamese medical experts and leading scientists to discuss how to fight COVID-19 in Việt Nam. Participants discussed and laid down four tasks for the Department of Science and Technology in the fight against COVID 19.
Two of those were to develop a tool kit to detect the virus and conduct research on COVID 19 treatment. These two tasks were the most important in the course of diagnosis, treatment and developing a epidemiology of the COVID 19, the contagious source and the critical factor. Last but not least, virus cultivation and isolation for the manufacturing of drugs, vaccines and other related biological products.
How have MOST and Vingroup been researching COVID-19 in Việt Nam?
The financial resources provided by Vingroup are very important. They will help raise Việt Nam’s science and technology to a higher level and will also help create more added value for Vingroup itself.
However, the recent project co-sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Innovation Fund is the first time the two parties have jointly co-sponsored an urgent need for society.
The VINIF has arrived at a time of need. This is an example showing the Vietnamese ecosystem for science and technology and creativity has been developed with the participation of both private research units and financial support from enterprises. This demonstrates a spirit of high responsibility among Vietnamese enterprises and the Government.
Can you tell us more about financial co-operation between private and public entities, particular at times like these?
MOST leaders have developed a flexible policy to facilitate co-operation between scientists in case of emergency, including its financial mechanism.
Based on that principle, the VINIF Fund did not have any demands from the agency and just let them use the money for the right purposes.
Do you think such a mechanism will become common in Việt Nam?
We hope with lessons learned from the VINIF Fund, the MOST will encourage more similar activities in a near future.
Right now, we have submitted to the Prime Minister a proposal to mobilise resources from society to invest in science and technology. This is a workable and effective way to pull more investment resources for science and technology when the country needs more capital for its development. — VNS