Liên hiệp các hội và khoa học kỹ thuật Việt Nam
2022-12-06 16:08

Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai: A lifelong commitment to science

Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai – Former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Member of the XI, XII, XIV National Assembly, former Vice President of VUSTA has devoted his whole life to science and policy formulation.

When being asked: Developing a team of intellectuals is to focus on investing in the development of science and technology and innovation, do you have the same opinion? Answering the question of the reporter of, Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai said that in a rapidly developing globalized world with opportunities accompanied by challenges, the competition for scientific and technological talents is going fierce. Having an outstanding talent force is a decisive condition for gaining competitive advantages, developing a knowledge-based economy, and affirming an international position.


Currently, there is a large number of bachelors, engineers, masters and doctors of many generations in our country, who are trained at home and abroad in various professions. In some fields such as medicine and pharmacy, biotechnology, information technology, and basic science, we have quite strong science and technology groups and collectives, who can reach regional and international levels.

However, science and technology human resources in general are still scattered and have not been gathered to perform major national science and technology tasks. Many people, after receiving basic training, either find an opportunity to stay abroad for a long time, or switch to another profession. This is a huge waste and loss for our country.

According to Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai, there are three main factors to encourage and attract science and technology human resources, which are income and compensation, creative working environment and honor. In our country, all of these factors have remains shortcomings.

Scientific workforce mainly receive administrative salaries, which are often too low, and do not have income from results of scientific and technological activities. Conditions, environment and culture for specializing in science have not encouraged innovation. For many reasons, scientists are not respected, which gradually reduces their passion for research, they then lose confidence and ambition to make contribution.

Dr. Khai further shared that the Law on Science and Technology stipulates that the annual state budget spends no less than 2% of the state budget on science and technology; total investment of the whole society is still less than 1% of GDP, much lower than the world’s average of 3-5% of GDP on science and technology.

"When the investment in science is not enough, it is difficult to create the infrastructure and gather the elite scientific team to carry out scientific projects of breakthrough to improve the capacity and position of the science industry. The science serves the development of the country", he said. In addition, the factors promoting the pillar of scientific development have remained modest. Therefore, it is difficult to create an environment for young scientists to approach and create breakthroughs.

In accordance with Dr. Khai, Vietnam has an extremely valuable asset that is an intellectual team including scientists trained in G7 and G20 countries, who are always ready to return the homeland to dedicate. They prioritize work research over compensation and social recognition.

More than ever, the science industry needs to join hands to drastically implement policies on science, technology development and innovation for the goal: Vietnam becomes a developed industrial country with high income by the year 2045.

However, according to Dr. Khai, there is a fact in Vietnam that the investment in science and technology is mainly from the state budget. Meanwhile, in other countries, the socialization of investment in science and technology is very high. The revised Law on Science and Technology has introduced policies to encourage organizations and individuals, especially enterprises to invest in technological innovation in production and business.

Previously, the financial mechanism for science and technology was the annual finalization, but in the current Law on Science and Technology, it is stipulated that the allocation of funds will apply the contracting mechanism, the State ordering mechanism and fund mechanism to implement science and technology tasks. Thus, the revised Law on Science and Technology has concretized the guiding ideology stated in Resolution No. 20-NQ/TW: Prioritize concentrating all resources for science and technology development; prioritizing investment to develop and apply science and technology to serve the country's industrialization and modernization.

In addition, the organizational mechanism of science and technology activities has also been renewed. Agencies must determine their tasks accurately and in accordance with the needs of economic and social development. Accordingly, the suitable organizations and individuals must be selected to effectively perform scientific tasks; the evaluation and acceptance of research results must be based on the efficiency of application.

In fact, up to now, the implementation of current mechanisms and policies to implement the policy of developing science and technology is considered as the top national policy. However, this has remained many shortcomings. For example, the Resolution No. 20-NQ/TW has identified that the leadership, direction, investment, resource allocation... are not in line with the "leading national policy".

The policy of favoring scientists has not been deployed, or the implementation is limited. There is not really an environment to encourage creative labor, the compensation and honor are still not worthy. That has made some scientists gradually lose their confidence, ambition, and motivation to dedicate themselves. A correct policy as prescribed in the Law is a necessary, but not sufficient because the implementation, management and administration play a decisive role in the enforcement of the law.

I still think that, despite the shortcomings, we still have a team of scientific and technological human resources who are able to perform the scientific and technological tasks assigned by the Party and State, if we do this seriously with a high sense of responsibility and political determination to the people and the country.

Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai held many important positions such as Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Department of the National Assembly Office (October 1994 - July 2002), Vice Chairman of the Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, member of the Secretariat of the National Assembly sessions (July 2007 – July 2011), Deputy Minister of Science and Technology (August 2011 - September 2013)... from 2002 to 2011, he was a member of the 11th, 12th and 14th sessions of National Assembly of Vietnam. In 2015, Dr. Nghiem Vu Khai held the position of Vice President of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.


Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai acts as the chairman of the examination of the Law on Environmental Protection 2005, the Law on Chemicals, the Law on High Technology, the Law on Economical and Efficient Use of Energy, the Law on Post, and participated in the examination of many draft laws and other ordinances.

He also presided over the supervision of environmental protection activities in industrial parks, processing zones, craft villages, exploitation and use of natural resources, and small and medium hydroelectricity.

In addition, he presided over the compilation of the Vietnam Science and Technology Development Strategy for the 2011-2020 period; Deputy Head of the Standing Committee of the Drafting Committee of the Law on Science and Technology 2013…

In particular, Dr. Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai initiated to develop the Law on Practice of Professional Engineering.

In addition, he is also the head of the state-level project on international integration in science and technology; Head of the national program on science and technology integration in the period of 2014-2020; Head of the state-level subject on Improving the legal system on associations and non-government organizations to meet the requirements of building a rule-of-law socialist State of Vietnam (successfully defended). He also presided over many scientific research tasks to enhance the role of intellectuals in the construction and defense of the country.

Throughout his service period at the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, Dr. Nghiem Vu Khai also presided over approving 80-100 foreign-invested non-government projects to support science and technology organizations in the system of VUSTA.

He is also in charge of activities of national associations with the scale of 90 ones. He has taken many initiatives, organized many seminars and workshops in order to renovate the operation methods of associations; strengthen coordination and cooperation between national industry associations and unions of local associations and public and non-public science and technology organizations.

With a number of great contributions, Dr.Sc. Nghiem Vu Khai was awarded Certificate of Merit 2012 by the Prime Minister; The President awarded the First-class Labor Medal (2013), the Third-class Independence Medal in 2020; The Emperor of Japan awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in 2014...

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