The “Science, Technology and Innovation - A Pillar for Vietnam’s Socioeconomic Development” conference was organized on May 15 by the Ministry of Science and Technology in cooperation with the Australian Embassy in Vietnam and the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA).

The conference was attended by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and some 250 local and international delegates, including from local research institutes, universities, enterprises in science and technology, and specialists and leaders from leading countries, global organizations, and funds in innovation, of whom some were in Vietnam for the first time, such as those from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Global Innovation Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The conference took place at a time when Vietnam is focusing on building a ten-year socioeconomic development strategy (for the 2021-2030 period), and was an opportunity for the country to hear from experts in other countries and international organizations in which science, technology, and innovation has been identified as a new pillar, according to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy. It also helps increase exchanges and networks among Vietnamese policy makers, scientists, and businesspeople and experts at IDIA.

Experts from the World Bank, Data61 under the Australian National Science Foundation, and the UNDP presented experiences from the contribution of science, technology and innovation to socioeconomic development in countries around the world and in Vietnam.

A report on the future of Vietnam’s digital economy carried out over 18 months in a cooperative effort between the Ministry of Science and Technology and Data61 was also released at the conference.

The gathering is part of the national sci-tech and innovation week taking place from May 13 to 17. It aims to study the different tools, technology, and trends related to Industry 4.0 as well as their potential benefits and risks for development in Vietnam and certain other countries.

According to Dr. Lucy Cameron, Senior Research Consultant at Data61, Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and one of the most dynamic countries in East Asia. The next wave of digital technology such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things, platform-based services, and cloud computing have the potential to transform the country into the next developed economy in Asia.

Earlier, at the National Forum on Developing Vietnam Technology Companies, “Aspiration, Vision and Strategy for a Prosperous Vietnam” held on May 9, Prime Minister Phuc emphasized that an economy based on human resources and cheap labor was no longer an advantage, but innovation has become a vital element for enterprises and the economy. This is one of the new driving forces for Vietnam’s economic development.

In recent years, the Vietnamese Government has adopted policies to strengthen cooperation with scientifically and technologically-advanced countries in consulting and developing policies.