Innovation is needed to boost Vietnam’s agriculture
Agriculture in Vietnam is worth USD 40 billion annually. It contributes more than 20 per cent to an expanding GDP and provides employment for 70 per cent of the population.
After three decades of development, agricultural growth is slowing, and the value of agricultural products remains low. Technology and innovation are seen as essential in supporting growth in agriculture, and the economy more generally.
Public research organisations and universities in Vietnam have strong expertise in creating technology, but limited success in transferring technology to industry.
To date there has been a reliance on importing overseas commercialisation models and researcher training, often with limited adaption for Vietnam’s innovation, institutional and industry contexts.
In addition, the primary focus of these models on economic impact limits their potential to contribute to sustainable development.
Creating options and skills for inclusive commercialisation
Effective commercialisation is about research and industry working together to take technology to market.
Through the Aus4Innovation program, we are implementing Science Commercialisation Partnership’s in Vietnam. This is an inclusive approach to commercialisation that balances financial returns with benefits to society and the environment, and recognises the need to build specialist commercial skills, knowledge and networks to complement research skills.
With our Vietnamese partners, we are piloting different ways for research and business to work together to commercialise science and technology and to solve known industry challenges.
We are testing multiple approaches for partnering. These include traditional approaches like licensing and contracting, to non-traditional approaches like regional innovation clusters and graduate-industry programs in universities.
Through Aus4Innovation we are also building skills, experience and institutional capacity in science commercialisation and industry collaboration in Vietnam’s public research institutions.
We are addressing both institutional interest in building these capabilities, and political interest in supporting commercialisation and collaboration across the country.
Aus4Innovation is about creating sustainable impact beyond our pilot activities. We bring together what we have learned, what we know about leverage points in the innovation system and Vietnam’s emerging policy needs for science, technology and innovation.
New pathways for innovation, agriculture and community
Our approach to commercialisation is yielding results to researchers, universities, the private sector and policy makers.
We’ve created the first national guide for Vietnamese researchers on how to launch their research into use in an inclusive way.
Commercialisation PLUS includes a set of practical tools and resources based on global good practice, as well as legal and regulatory information for Vietnam.
It was co-developed and tested with Vietnamese researchers taking their own research to market.
With our research partners in Can Tho University, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and the Vietnam National University for Agriculture, we’ve created commercialisation opportunities in innovative dragon fruit processing, water quality monitoring for aquaculture, nano-fertiliser for sustainable farming and more.
We’ve launched new approaches to collaborating that include an innovation club for agribusinesses to connect with researchers to jointly address external shocks to the temperate fruit industry in northern provinces and an industry-focused graduate program that tailors education to meet current and emerging industry needs in food processing for agricultural exports.
We’ve trained and mentored the first Vietnamese researchers recognised as trainers in inclusive science commercialisation and supported their first training to more than 250 university colleagues.
Science Commercialisation Partnerships is part of the Aus4Innovation program – a partnership between CSIRO, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Aus4Innovation aims to strengthen Vietnam’s innovation system, prepare for and embrace opportunities associated with Industry 4.0, and help shape Vietnam’s innovation agenda in science and technology.