Laboratories and businesses in HCMC need stronger bond

It is critical to form a closer connection between laboratories and the scientific as well as innovative communities in order to improve research quality and meet high demands of the market, voiced participants in the recent meeting between representatives of typical labs in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and the city Department of Science and Technology.

In the Saigon Hi-tech Park, labs are heavily invested to be ready for business requests
In the Saigon Hi-tech Park, labs are heavily invested to be ready for business requests

According to Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Science and Technology Chu Van Hai, there are now more than 900 laboratories in the city, yet only 165 of which are qualitied by the Bureau of Accreditation to deliver services for businesses.

Certain enterprises have their own labs, but these are not well equipped and in urgent need of support from educational institutes.

Obviously, the participation of large –scale labs or testing centers to a certain extent ensure the results from smaller labs.

Among the current laboratories in HCMC, many belong to universities, hi-tech parks, biotechnological centers. For instance, the HCMC Center of Analytical Services and Experimentation (CASE) possesses an Open Lab for Research, Application and Development (RAD Lab) especially for students and university lecturers, small and medium scale businesses, the startup community in the fields of physics and chemistry. Having state-of-the-art devices and machines that can meet international standards, this lab provides a professional environment for the science-technology development in HCMC as well as the southern region.

Representatives of the Quality Assurance and Testing Center 3 (QUATEST 3) and other labs all agreed that it is meaningful and necessary to establish a strong bond between labs in HCMC, which are diverse and in a great number, and the scientific as well as innovative communities. Via this connection, labs are able to precisely identify the market’s demands and then can invest in advanced equipment. This, in turn, will aid the research quality improvement process, better serve scientists or manufacturers in need, and help the whole society in general.

Being well aware of this, the HCMC Department of Science and Technology has launched several programs and introduced policies to improve the capability of labs / testing centers in the city. To promote training activities and the preparation of sufficient research materials, in the period from 2016 – 2020, the municipal authorities has also delivered financial aid of VND70 million and 250 million per year ($3,017 and $10,776) for each regular and focused laboratory, respectively. This investment in labs means to tackle the lack of experimental equipment synchrony, the low use rate due to a shortage of experts or shared use programs, or the capacity and quality improvement limit.

This subsidy is a wonderful chance for labs to increase their research potential and hopefully introduce scientific solutions for the socio-economic development of HCMC. Thanks to it, many testing centers are able to upgrade their devices and train their human resources more properly to apply management systems in accordance with international standards and to come up with more precise experiment results.

In addition, focused laboratories are supposed to meet certain global and regional criteria, while having sufficient technical materials or certificates.

As stated by Ms. Chu Van Hai, the investment has been able to help labs become more customer-oriented, offering appropriate services for businesses. They can now act as a Research & Development Department of a company.

In the near future, the HCMC Department of Science and Technology is going to increase practical activities to promote the connection between existing labs and companies without an R&D department to increase the scientific research level, she added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Bui Thanh Hang, Director of the Center for Statistics and Science – Technology Information (CESTI), shared that its information portal has three main sections of technology & equipment, consultation, and partnership seeking. Via this portal, organizations can offer scientific-technological services to technological transfers or lab connections and product evaluations while businesses can seek necessary services to support their own production, and laboratories can introduce their capacity as well as services.

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