Scientific research result commercialization still rather ineffective

Inadequate policies related to scientific research activities have made the commercialization of research results not as effective as expected.

Learning about technological equipment at one technology trading event in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

Turning results of scientific research into practical products has always been one key mission of the science-technology sector. In 2023, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) announced 2,211 scientific works, three-fourths of which appeared on international journals and 76 received patents for inventions and useful solutions. Many research results are highly appreciated for their applicability.

However, Head Phan Tien Dung of the Technology Application and Deployment Department (under VAST) shared that commercializing research results is experiencing trouble due to inconsistent policies.

In particular, Decree No.70/2018 by the Government about managing and using assets created through the implementation of science-technology missions stipulates that it is necessary to evaluate the technology before the commercialization of research results. Yet Vietnam has nearly no experience carrying this process, leading to conflicts when having to satisfy Law on Management and Use of Public Assets, the Law on Science and Technology and the Law on Intellectual Property (amended).

In the meeting among directors of the Science and Technology Departments in the country this March, Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat shared that the Ministry is working with relevant ministries to add necessary details in decree-level regulations (Decree No.95 in 2014 and Decree No.70 in 2018) regarding investment and financial mechanisms and issues related to assets equipped and formed during the implementation of science and technology missions.

Asset management is a rather serious issue to greatly affect activities in the science-technology sector. Unsuccess in addressing this issue creates even more difficulties in commercializing research results.

In the press conference of the Science and Technology Ministry for the first quarter of 2024, Director Nguyen Thi Ngoc Diep of the Department of Legislation (under this Ministry) shared that the content of risks in scientific research has been mentioned in Conclusion No.69-KL/ TW, issued on January 11, 2024 by the Politburo.

Accordingly, Vietnam is going to review the mechanisms and policies to display the uniqueness of science-technology, including accepting risks in scientific research. This is backed up by the assignment of the 15th National Assembly to the Government and related ministries to carry out the same task.

“It is not uncommon in scientific-technological research to set a goal but then cannot fulfill it. This has been accepted by the international scientist community”, said Ms. Diep. Therefore, the draft amendment and supplement to the Law on Science and Technology also includes regulations related to accepting risks in research and is more extensive than current regulations.

“It is expected that the new regulation will exempt scientists from civil liability if they cause damage to the State or have carried out all stages in their research but cannot obtain the final results as planned. Researchers might not need to reimburse the used expenses,” added Ms. Diep.

Experts in the field also commented that the applicable policies and mechanisms for science-technology activities are inadequate in the acceptance of delays and risks during the research process. The new mechanism, if approved and adopted, allows this acceptance and considers the inability to fulfill research goals as risks in scientific research.

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