Key laboratories decline in quality
VietNamNet Bridge - After 10 years of operation, the nation’s key labs, set up with investment capital of VND1 trillion to work as the ‘iron fists’ of Vietnam’s science and technology, have been degrading dramatically.

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The petrochemistry lab under the Vietnam Institute of Industrial Chemistry (VIIC) is one of the 16 national key labs established under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 850.

It was put into operation in 2003 with total investment capital of VND66.241 billion, of which VND56 billion was spent on modern equipment, mostly made in G7 countries.

Most of the equipment, after 13 years of operation, have degraded. According to Vu Thi Thu Ha, director of the lab, electronic devices have a short life: they would have problems after five years of use.

The equipment in the lab has become outdated by 1-2 generation, while many devices cannot be used.

“Though the equipment has broken down, we still try to ‘save’ them. About 70 percent of initially invested equipment is still being used,” she said.

“The world’s research trends are different now. Vietnam’s research demands vary in different periods. Meanwhile, the machines and equipment are outdated, thus affecting research,” she complained.

After 10 years of operation, the nation’s key labs, set up with investment capital of VND1 trillion to work as the ‘iron fists’ of Vietnam’s science and technology, have been degrading dramatically.
The Lab of River and Coastal Engineering (KLORCE) belonging to the Vietnam Water Resources Science Institute is also in a similar situation.

The lab became operational in 2003 with the initial investment capital of VND60 billion, including VND48 billion spent on equipment. After 13 years of operation, the majority of the equipment is out of date. 

According to the lab’s director Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, the total value of the equipment is about VND10 billion now.

“Since the allocated state budget is limited, we try to repair machines and continue using them. However, we are not sure if the equipment still can be used after two or three years,” Quynh said.

At the Genetic Technology Lab of the Vietnam Science & Technology Academy, 90 percent of initially invested equipment is still in use.

According to Dong Van Quyen, the lab’s deputy director, in general, equipment for molecular biology research would become outdated after five years. Meanwhile, the equipment at the lab has been used for 15 years.

The problem is that the national key labs don’t have money for maintenance. 

Ha from the petrochemistry lab said the lab does not receive any amount of money for maintenance or equipment replacement. 

Under the current regulations, the labs have to earn money themselves to pay workers and maintain their operation.

In 2008, the state began allocating VND1 billion to key labs every year for maintenance activities. However, the lab cannot get the state’s money because it belongs to a corporation – the Vietnam Chemical Group.


Tien Phong


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