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NAFOSTED organizes conference to introduce regulations on funding and supporting programs in Hanoi

On 6th October, National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) organized the conference to introduce regulations on funding and supporting programs. The conference attracted more than 400 scientists, managers, representatives of agencies and businesses working in the fields of science and technology in Hanoi and nearby areas to participate.

Delivering the welcome speech, Mr. Do Tien Dzung – Director of NAFOSTED Executive Office mentioned that NAFOSTED organizes annual conference on funding and supporting programs with the aim of disseminating information to scientists, research group participating in NAFOSTED’s programs, at the same time creating a forum for sharing experiences and supporting researchers in their scientific research, scientific paper and sources preparation. On the other hand, through these conferences, NAFOSTED also hope to receive comments from the public to improve its operation.

Overview of the conference

Regarding NAFOSTED’s activities, Mr. Do Tien Dzung said that, NAFOSTED’s programs have become more and more publicized and got active participation of the whole scientific community. Annually, NAFOSTED funds for 250 – 300 S&T projects and hundreds of scientific activities to enhance national S&T capability. NAFOSTED’s activities aim at improving research quality, directly supporting research activities in S&T organizations, research and education quality of universities. Every year, there are 700 – 800 ISI papers published as results of NAFOSTED funded projects. Number of projects funded for research institutions are maintained while for universities are greatly increased. Besides, NAFOSTED’s activities also aim at developing high quality scientific and technological human resources, equally supporting all scientific fields, supporting academic exchange and international relation in scientific research.

At the conference, the participants have listened to the general introduction of Ms. Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang – Head of Planning and General Affairs Department – with a comprehensive view on funding and supporting programs of NAFOSTED. Besides, the presentation also mentions about the recent changes applied to some programs, as well as newest updates on NAFOSTED’s operational activities.

After that, Ms. Do Phuong Lan – Vice Director of NAFOSTED Executive Office presented on some regulation for loaning program according to Circular 14/2016/TT-BKHCN, which is newly issued on 30th June 2016. NAFOSTED’s loaning program provides preferential interest rates for projects involving science and technology application or innovation, with the requirement on loan assurance and economic efficiency. At the end, representative from Wiley Publisher, Ms. Yelena Parada, Project Vice Director presented to the conference’s participants on skills and experiences in publishing scientific works as well as some tools supporting for scientific research and management.

In the discussion session, participants give out their feedbacks to NAFOSTED’s leaders on issues relating to mechanism and process of applying NAFOSTED’s programs, detailed information on funding programs for basic research project, emergent and breakthrough research project, applied research project and joint funding program. The participants of the conferences pay special attention to requirements for principal investigator, research team members as well as the list of prestigious journals for basic research program in Social sciences and humanities. Some principal investigators also share their ambition in training and developing young researchers, hoping NAFOSTED to have reasonable consideration for proposal submitted by young researchers who are eligible as principal investigator. Meanwhile, participants from businesses in S&T fields also care about requirement and detailed interest rates of loaning program. On the other hand, the supporting program for enhancing national S&T capability is also of the participant’s interest and received many questions on supported items for participation in international conferences, organization of international conferences in Vietnam, short-term research program… In addition, other participants hope that NAFOSTED will have more detailed explanation on the running joint funding programs.

Participant shares feedback at the conference

NAFOSTED Board of Director including Mr. Do Tien Dzung, Director; Mr. Mai The Binh, Vice Director; Mrs. Do Phuong Lan, Vice Director; Mr. Pham Dinh Nguyen, Vice Director; together with representative from Wiley Publisher joined the discussion with all participants. Answering some questions, NAFOSTED’s leaders said that each funding and supporting program has different requirements and criteria in process and evaluation of proposals. For the basic research program (currently stands for 70% of NAFOSTED funding budget), the requirements are clearly stated in Circular 37/2014/TT-BKHCN for both Natural Sciences and Engineering and Social Sciences and Humanities. Regarding budget of a basic research project, NAFOSTED doesn’t set any maximum or minimum amount; the cost estimation should be conducted according to Circular 55/2015/TTLT-BTC-BKHCN. Currently, the average funding for a basic research project is 750 – 800 million (the exact amount is depended on research contents and expected results of each project). In relation to joint funding program, NAFOSTED has launched several programs with a number of partners including Research Council of UK (RCUK), Research Foundation of Germany (DFG), Flanders Research Foundation – Belgium (FWO), National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), British Council (BC), The UK Academies… In each program, requirements and criteria are stated in the signed Memorandum of Understanding. Other detailed information on calls can be regularly found on NAFOSTED’s website.

Regarding the supporting program to enhance national S&T capability, NAFOSTED’s leaders also provided detailed answers on criteria as well as supported items. For loaning program, project with high feasibility or already has patent will be supported with interest rates as regulated in Circular 14/2016/TT-BKHCN.

On the other hand, conference’s participants also gave some question for Wiley’s representative on support for book/book chapter publication, training and publishing support program… Answering the questions, Wiley’s representative said that, currently Wiley hasn’t had an office in Vietnam and is approaching some S&T funding agencies such as NAFOSTED to collaborate and develop training program. In the future, there will also be many opportunities for Wiley to collaborate with scientific journals in Vietnam.

Closing the conference, Mr. Do Tien Dzung – Director of NAFOSTED Executive Office hopes that the conference has provided useful information to researchers and businesses in deploying research and developing their projects. NAFOSTED will also take into account feedbacks from the scientists to improve quality in its funding and supporting programs.