Vietnam considers talent-brokerage service to attract professors

In the next part of the roundtable talks with VietNamNet on how to invite overseas talent to Vietnam, our guests said that Vietnam has many ways to attract top professors abroad, but lacks policies and people who can create the links between the two sides.

How to attract overseas Vietnamese to return to VN
"Attracting talent with salary will be unsuccessful": minister

Sẽ có dịch vụ 'môi giới' nhân tài

Minister Phung Xuan Nha (left) and Former VietNamnet chief editor Nguyen Anh Tuan

Minister Phung Xuan Nha: A modern program policy is good, but if domestic scientists are not qualified to work with them, they don’t want to come back because they don’t come to Vietnam to work with the rector, but with Vietnamese scientists.

In the current conditions of Vietnam, in addition to building internal capacity, I think we should form a service to bring overseas Vietnam scientists back home.

Please make comments on this form of “brokerage”. 

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau: Let’s put ourselves in the position of a foreign professor and ask why he comes to Vietnam? What attracts him to Vietnam?

Certainly it is not the income, so what is it? It is very simple. For example, a professor of economics or irrigation will need data. So, if we have a working team in Vietnam, which has collected good data and if the foreign professor is allowed to access the data then he will be excited.

The second thing is what Mr. Son has mentioned – the students.

Any professor desires to teach good students, especially American professors who have one free semester or a free year in each five year cycle though they are still paid. During this time, professors often go to other countries to teach.

Sẽ có dịch vụ 'môi giới' nhân tài

Minister Phung Xuan Nha

Many people are willing to go to Vietnam but actually we do not have any policy or something to attract this enormous human resource.

What they need is a good university, good students, and a few colleagues who they can talk to about science.

They also need a little support in terms of accommodations or airfare.

These things are not too difficult to solve, but in fact there is no mechanism to do so. And that's what we really have to think about.

VietNamNet: So, Vietnamese universities don’t have such apolicy to invite foreign professors to Vietnam, Mr. Son?

Hoang Minh Son: It is not completely correct that we don’t have a mechanism. The Hanoi University of Science and Technology has invited foreign professors to teach and guide research students.

We have abundant research forces with many postgraduates and students. My universities also have some classes of gifted students and foreign professors like working with them. However, because of lack of funds, we cannot invite many professors at the same time or invite them to stay in Vietnam for a long time.

Nguyen Anh Tuan: In addition to talented students, in the process of integration and development, our countries have many issues for research so coming to Vietnam to do research is very good. But how to further attract them to Vietnam? I think that we should have an advisory board. The members of this board should be people like Mr. Chau or those who are famous abroad and some foreign scholars who love Vietnam.

The important thing is we have to respect them. If we do so we can attract these people and they will play the leading role, because in fact we are lacking the leading birds.

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau: Many serious issues of Vietnam are extremely interesting topics for study of the world, such as climate change. Vietnam is one of the countries that are most severely affected by climate change. So everyone wants to come to Vietnam to conduct research to see whether in 10 years or 20 years their countries will encounter similar problems.

If we have programs, budgets, and the ways to share data ... I’m sure we can solve our own problems while attracting the world's researchers to Vietnam.

VietNamNet: Prof. Chau has talked about transparency of information and data for scientists. Does the Ministry of Education and Training have a database of leading overseas Vietnamese scientists?

Minister Phung Xuan Nha: Actually we have but it is insufficient and the quality of information is also not high.

When implementing this policy, we also checked all databases. All related departments have their statistics and data. The database is necessary but my way is going from practice because under the autonomy policy, universities and institutes must take the initiative in recruiting talent. That’s the key for success.

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau: The Minister's idea of a form of “brokerage” in inviting overseas talent to Vietnam is necessary.

“Brokerage” in a serious meaning is to put some urgent requirements for society, the State and the Government of Vietnam. Each year we put out 5, 10 extremely urgent issues that need to be invested, and the “brokerage” agency is responsible for consulting or organizing bidding of research projects for Vietnamese and foreign scientists, who can be overseas Vietnamese or not.

Minister Phung Xuan Nha: I want to make it more clear. In fact, we need a group of Vietnamese scientists who have worked both abroad and in Vietnam. These people understand both sides so they can connect Vietnamese and foreign experts in one group.


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