1. Over the past five years (2001-2005), Vietnam National University, Hanoi (hereafter, VNU, Hanoi), a leading tertiary institution which has the greatest number of leading scientists as compared with any tertiary institution in Vietnam, has gained many important achievements in both research and graduate education.
2. In research, VNU, Hanoi has successfully completed 33 research projects of national level, 148 fundamental research projects in natural sciences, 132 research projects of similar kind in social sciences and humanities, and 728 research projects of the university level. These research projects have been of both theoretical and practical significance and have made direct contributions to improving the quality of education and human resources, and, in particular, to solving a number of important scientific and technological tasks for the country.
The past five years has also witnessed radical and positive changes in the investment and exploitation of equipment at VNU, Hanoi. Its system of laboratories has been constantly perfected with more and more modern equipment being supplied to help scientists carry out successfully their experiments and obtain more reliable research results. At present, the University has a modern laboratory of national standard, and 11 other advanced laboratories located in its member colleges, faculties and research centers. The total expenses spent on these laboratories amount to VND 300 billion.
The member colleges under VNU, Hanoi, particularly those that have a long research tradition and highly qualified academic staff such as College of Science, College of Social Sciences and Humanities have succeeded in establishing research groups, each of which is led by one or two prestigious scientists (local or overseas). This research style has almost become a common practice and has attracted more and more participation of scientists, particularly the young ones. Further, the University has carried out appraisals and has decided to award 10 prizes to the research groups whose projects are of top scientific and technological significance and 2 prizes to the research projects which were carried out by young scientists. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of VNU, Hanoi, 10 research projects have been awarded the University’s Scientific and Technological Prize for their top quality. And up till now, 13 research projects have been awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize and 16, the National Prize. These Prizes are part of the pride of our VNU, Hanoi’s research tradition.
The development of science and technology in recent years has presented itself the need for the establishment of the research centers and the scientific & technological enterprises in a number of VNU, Hanoi’s member institutions. These centers have been operating under the direction: research, production, services and techno-transfer. Some of them such as Centre for Biotechnology, Centre for Natural Resources Management and Environmental Studies (VNU, Hanoi), Centre for Petro-chemistry, Centre for Material Science, Centre for Environmental Technology and Sustainable Development (under College of Science) have been quite successful. The Natural Sciences Co. Ltd. (under College of Science) is the new model of a scientific and technological enterprise at VNU, Hanoi. In January 2005, the University held a conference to appraise the operations of its affiliated centers in the areas of graduate education, research and social services, to draw experience and to further promote their activities in accordance with the Government’s Resolution No 15/ND – CP, September 5th, 20005 on the Autonomy and Self-responsibility Mechanism of Public Scientific & Technological Organizations.
Over the past five years, VNU, Hanoi has been very active in expanding its international cooperations to improve the quality of its scientific and technological activities. The scientific and technological tasks assigned to VNU, Hanoi under the Protocols signed between Vietnam and other governments have been successfully implemented. Hundreds of international conferences and seminars have been co-organized either by VNU, Hanoi or by its member colleges or faculties and other prestigious universities and research institutes in the world. The University has also been very active in cooperating with other research institutions in Vietnam such as the National Institute for Science and Technology and the Institute for Military Science and Technology – Ministry of National Defense. The aim is to make full use of their research potentials and modern equipment in order to improve the quality of training, research and services.
Much attention has also been paid to scientific information and publication. Apart from the Centre for Information and Library, there are college or faculty libraries, resource centers, and special reference rooms for graduate and PhD students. From 2001 to 2005, in order to better serve the tasks of training and research, VNU, Hanoi has published 1,600 book titles, covering a wide variety of disciplines.
The Journal of Science of VNU, Hanoi, a specialized journal of about 20 years old, is highly appreciated among members of the academic community in Vietnam. At its early stage, the journal published articles in all disciplines. Since 2002, however, it has been divided into serials, each of which is concerned with a group of disciplines. At present, five serials (Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, Mathematics & Physics, Economics & Law, and Foreign Languages), each of which consists of four issues are published each year. The Editorial Council has been making great efforts to improve the quality of the journal. In particular, the serial on Mathematics & Physics has achieved a high standard; it publishes only papers which are written in English and which have been approved by the referees.
The task of scientific and technological management has been fruitfully implemented. The University’s legal documents on the management of scientific and technological activities have constantly been improved and perfected, and the management of scientific and technological activities has been gradually computerized. These reforms have been made in order to meet the growing demand for the management of science and technology in the knowledge economy and in the context of regional integration and globalization.
The third Party Congress of VNU, Hanoi in October, 2005 stated that in the period of 2006 – 2010, the development strategy of the University is to raise the quality of human resources, to create a breakthrough in training and research, and to advance forward to a research-oriented university of regional and international standard. With such an ambitious strategy in mind, the target of the scientific and technological activities of VNU, Hanoi from now till 2010 is to hold fast to and to promote its leading position in fundamental sciences, to focus investment on the most important research projects and amphibious technologies in order to gain research results and technological products of international standard, to serve security and national defense, and to solve scientific and technological problems for the country.
The laboratory system throughout the University will continue to be synchronously modernized so as to reach regional and international standards. Priorities are given to hi-tech research areas such as Nano Technology, Biotechnology, Environmental Technology, New Material Technology, Information Technology, Electronics and Telecommunication, Automation and Cybernetics. Apart from these, the quality of the human resources should be improved to meet the requirements of science and technology in the new era. The scientific and technological management mechanism will also be perfected. VNU, Hanoi is trying to become a university of regional standard by 2020 in which some aspects of its academic life will be of international standard. It will also try its utmost to become a leading center in research and in training talents, representing the intelligence of Vietnam.
3. Much progress has been made in the field of graduate education at VNU, Hanoi both in proportion and quality. In terms of proportion, the University is an institution which has offered the greatest number of courses at both Master and PhD levels (123 Master courses and 89 PhD courses). The number of students admitted to these courses every year has also been increasing, from 677 Master students and 78 PhD students in 2001 to 1,600 and 106 in 2004, to 1,850 and 177 in 2005. At present, the total number of graduate students at the University is 4,500 Master students and 450 PhD students. In its development strategy, the University has been trying to reach the proportion of 1 graduate per 4 undergraduates by 2010.
To further expand its proportion in graduate education, VNU, Hanoi has offered some pilot courses which are still not yet in currency in the Code Book of the Ministry of Education and Training. These are Doctor of Social Psychology, Master in Tourism, Master in and Doctor of Nano Structure, Material and Devices, Master in Maritime Law and Management, Master in and Doctor of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Master in Education Evaluation and Measurement.
With the policy of expanding international joint training programmes in order to have more advanced and higher quality in graduate education, to receive more advanced content and teaching methodology, and to gradually localize these programmes to serve the needs of socio-economic development of the country, since 2003 VNU, Hanoi has offered a number of joint training programmes at both Master and PhD levels and has gained promising achievements. At present, the University has 12 international joint training programmes with prestigious overseas counterparts in Belgium, the USA, Germany, South Korea, and Australia.
Quality is the raison d’ªtre of any tertiary institution. Being aware of this importance, VNU, Hanoi has always been trying to search for solutions to improve the quality of graduate education. These consist of giving more supervision to the application and enrolment process, taking stricter control of the study or research process, giving more flexibility to the curricula, exchanging experiences with local and overseas university counterparts to find out the most suitable methods of teaching and supervising and to promote students’ active roles in study and research. Special attention has been paid to the linkage between training and research at VNU, Hanoi under the slogan: learning through research and research for learning. Up till now, 100 percent of the special and pivotal research projects at the University have been linked to graduate education. It is noteworthy that the number of Master and PhD students taking part in the University’s research projects is increasing.
Apart from these, VNU, Hanoi has been continuously seeking active measures (both professional and administrative) to improve the graduates’ abilities to use foreign languages, particularly English so that they can communicate with their foreign colleagues and update their knowledge in the areas they are studying.
As an innovative university, VNU, Hanoi is the first tertiary institution in Vietnam which has attempted to put into practice the triangular pattern of Teaching – Research – Service, striving for the proportion of 5: 3: 2 respectively by 2010. As a leading research-oriented University in Vietnam; VNU, Hanoi has been trying to make it not only the place where knowledge is transmitted, but also the one where knowledge is created and is turned into products to serve the life of the people. This triangular pattern of Teaching – Research – Service has made its presence in most of the University’s member colleges and faculties and has proved to be a success.
4. Ten years has passed, VNU, Hanoi, the only one of the two tertiary institutions in Vietnam which belongs directly to the Prime Minister, has proved to be a suitable model. As the President of VNU, Hanoi, Professor Dao Trong Thi has said, 2006 – 2010 will be the period of both opportunities and challenges for the University: It will have to continue to be developed, lifting its position to a new peak in the context of regional integration and globalization in which the whole country is determined to implement successfully the National Development Strategy in Science and Technology as ratified by the Prime Minister and in accordance with the Resolution of the Xth Congress of the Vietnam Communist Party. It is hoped that under the leadership of the University’s Party Committee and the Board of President, together with the unanimity and determination of the leaders of its member institutions, the academic and general staff, and the students, the scientific & technological activities and the graduate education of VNU, Hanoi will achieve more important results, maintaining the University’s leading position in the fields of education, research and techno-transfer in Vietnam