|Viet Nam needs a staff of highly qualified scientists and researchers to help promote economic development. — Photo vietq.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The science and technology ministry aims to establish 25 scientific research institutes of international standards by the year 2020.
However, many experts said the target could not be achieved while the country lacks highly qualified scientists and technologists.
The lack of technological human resources springs from badly planned policies of attracting talent such as an inappropriate salary mechanism.
Viet Nam has less scientific and technological manpower than other countries in the region.
The ministry aims to achieve a ratio of nine to 10 high-tech scientists out of 10,000 persons by 2020, as compared to the current ratio of seven scientists per 10,000 persons.
According to the ministry's recent survey, the country has 164,700 people involved in scientific research. But notably, they are not full-time researchers.
Deputy Minister Tran Viet Thanh said the number of researchers had increased in recent years, but the potential and qualification of Vietnamese scientists lagged behind the development requirements.
"We lack highly qualified teams of researchers and scientists and international-level institutes and universities," he said.
"The country's scientific and technological levels are lagging behind the world. So the sector and the highly qualified human resources have not yet become a major motivation for economic development," he said.
"This is a huge challenge for the science and technology sector in a period of in-depth international integration," Thanh said.
Although the ministry and the government have had several policies to attract talented people to work in the field, they have not been effective.
Two major obstacles to luring talented people to work in state institutes is the salary mechanism.
Dr Nguyen Thi Huong, who has worked and studied in France for a long time, decided to return home and work for the Viet Nam Mathematics Institute to contribute to the development of science in the country.
However, her eagerness and enthusiasm has been fading as she gets a monthly salary of just VND3 million (US$140).
She can hardly live on the small amount. "I am not sure whether I will continue to work in the institute in the future," Huong said.
Huong's case is not an exception.
Most scientists cannot do full-time research because they have to do other jobs to cover their living costs.
With the salary policy, the research institutes find it difficult to keep scientists, let alone attract new and young talented persons.
Dr Nguyen Thanh Thinh from the Strategy Institute said the salary paid to Vietnamese scientists and researchers was as much as one-tenth of those paid to scientists in other regional countries.
The working environment in the institutes is also a decisive factor for scientists.
"One of the factors for luring young and talented scientists is a competitive and transparent working environment that encourages them to devote their talent and enthusiasm to scientific research," Luong Trung Son from the Military Technical Institute said. — VNS