It goes without saying that, the initiative to establish Asia Research Centers (ARCs) in Asian countries in general and in Vietnam in particular has proved to be important and significant. ARCs have provided good opportunities for young scientists to carry out their research, publish their results and organize scientific workshops and conferences in the countries where they are based and Asia Research Center – Vietnam National University, Hanoi is not an exception.
Established in 2001, the Asia Research Center, Vietnam National University, Hanoi has gradually affirmed its own position and has been successfully carrying out its activities in such a way that it might contribute to the development and improvement of the quality of scientific research in Vietnam. Up to now, the Center has provided financial supports for 98 projects, which include 51 research projects, 24 academic conferences and 23 publications of research results in various fields. In terms of assuring the quality of the financially sponsored research projects, the Center has carried out various procedures: initial and final screenings, mid-term and final assessment and evaluations with the participation of leading scientists not only from VNU but also from other institutions all over the country. Under the International Scholar Exchange Fellowship (ISEF) program since its foundation, our Center has selected and sent 30 Vietnamese scholars from various universities and research institutions all over the country to Korea for post-doctoral research. After one year of conducting their research with their Korean co-researchers, all these Vietnamese scholars have not only improved their knowledge but also established cooperative links with their Korean counterparts. In 2005, the Center also facilitated a talk on “Korean Law and Economy” by Prof. Jeong-Ho Roh, Yonsei University. 2006 is marked with the successful organization of Hanoi Forum on the occasion of the centennial celebration of the founding of Vietnam National University, Hanoi. All these academic activities have drawn a great attraction and active participation from many scientists and scholars in various universities and research institutions all over the country.
We can list, but just a few results that our Center has so far achieved:
(i) The results of the Center funded research projects, publications and proceedings are valuable references for Vietnamese scientists and students. Workshops and conferences provide opportunities for scientists to exchange their views, their research results and also for the students to improve their knowledge.
(ii) The International Scholarship Exchange Fellowship (ISEF) Program also provides opportunities for some Vietnamese scholars/scientists to continue and follow their research especially to exchange their views and ideas with Korean colleagues. Through this program, one can say for sure that the Vietnamese and Korean scholars/scientists can benefit a lot from one another thus enabling them to carry out their research better in the future. Together with workshops and conferences, this program has made a worthy contribution to academic exchanges, to the mutual understanding between Vietnam and Korea, thus helping to strengthen the effective relationship and cooperation between Vietnam and Korea in particular and Vietnam and other countries in Asia and the world in general.
(iii) The Research grants, i.e. financial support for research projects, academic conferences and publications of research results also help create more favorable conditions for Vietnamese universities and research institutions in fulfilling their missions, especially under the conditions where research budgets are still very limited, thus making worthy contributions to the industrialization and modernization of Vietnam.
The trend of international integration requires Vietnam to focus on the scientific research, knowledge improvement, training of highly qualified human resources. For this reason, we find our mission of improving the quality and influences of the Center’s activities in Vietnam is really important and somewhat challenging. Following are some of our ideas and experiences that we would like to share with you and we hope that we can learn from one another so that after this workshop, we can run our respective centers more efficiently.
(i) Thanks to the guidance and support from Vietnam National University, Hanoi, we have completed our own procedures for organizing and managing the implementation of research projects supported by the Center. However, one of the great challenges is that there are much more applications than Center’s annual budget. That means we have to reject many applications. It also means that we have to set up more disciplinary/interdisciplinary boards so as to assure fair and transparent selection procedures.
(ii) The KFAS’s initiative to organize ARC Directors’ Annual Workshops has proved to be very useful as they provide good opportunities for all of us to share ideas and experiences so as to carry out our activities more effectively. Therefore, in our opinion, such workshops should be promoted.
(iii) We would think that it might be a good idea for each center to organize a frequent meeting for ISEF alumni. This will provide a platform for them to exchange their recent research results and to further speed up their collaborative research among themselves and with their Korean counterparts. And it would be even better if KFAS could host such a meeting for all ISEF alumni to meet from time to time so as to promote more exchanges among scholars from all ARCs. By doing that, we can surely contribute to the consolidation of friendship and cooperation towards peace, prosperity and progress in ARCs in particular and in East Asian Region in general.
(iv) It might be necessary for each ARC to build a library of their own, where all research results of ARC-supported projects, conference proceedings and publications can be found. This will provide good sources of reference for any scientists, researchers and students in and out of the country.
(v) Each Center should publish their own Newsletters which update their development, support programs and activities, procedures for organizing and managing the implementation of research projects and academic activities etc. These newsletters are to popularize the Centers’ objectives and their activities so as to attract more active participations from scholars, universities and research institutions in the whole country to the Center-supported programs and activities.
(vi) We think that KFAS should encourage ARCs to invite domestic and foreign well-known scholars to give lecturers to faculty staff and students at their institutions. By doing that, ARCs will enhance staff and faculty exchanges thus contributing to the improvement of training and research quality.
In the context of globalization, the international cooperation has become an imperative requirement for sustainable development of each country. The contributions of the Asia Research Centers so far have gone beyond the national boundaries and the interest of one university. It has become a resource and treasure shared by universities where ARCs are located. To this end, the organization of annual ARC Directors’ Workshop might help speed up the cooperation amongst our 14 ARCs.
However, there will be much work to be done for better cooperation among the Asia Research Centers:
(i) We should encourage academic exchanges among ARCs as we believe that these exchanges may provide the ARCs with really good chances to share and learn from one another so that they can work out more effective measures for their own development and improve their activities.
(ii) To tighten the relationship and exchange ideas about the research results, we should encourage the scientists and scholars from different ARCs whose research projects are in the same disciplinary/inter-disciplinary fields to co-ordinate with one another to do their research. By doing so, they will have chances to work with researchers from other countries with different cultures, lifestyles, traditions, different approaches to the same research field, they can learn from each other and improve their research results. This not only aims at tightening the cooperation between the ARCs but also enhances the research quality. In order to do so, we would think that KFAS should set up a cooperative fund for ARCs. This co-operative fund will be mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Scholars and scientists can benefit a lot from one another thus enabling them to carry out their research better in the future.
We do believe that with KFAS’s continued and effective support and assistance, a truly effective network between all Asia Research Centers can grow and assist in the development of the Asian countries that are represented here today.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to President Kim Jae-Youl and KFAS for their continued and effective support and for sponsoring this Workshop.
Finally, I would like to wish you all good health, happiness and successes in your life and your work and our Workshop a great success.