KIST and KOICA Host Open Workshop for the VKIST Support Program
- A bold new official development assistance (ODA) model for fostering bilateral collaboration and mutual growth
On September 6th, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) co-hosted, in conjunction with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), an open workshop for the Vietnam-Korea Institute of Science and Technology (VKIST) Support Program, the biggest science & technology-related ODA program in Korean history. The workshop was conceived as a forum for discussing effective, sustainable models for VKIST and its operations. The event was sponsored by the Korean Federation of Science & Technology Societies, and KIST President Lee Byung Gwon delivered the opening remarks.
KOICA President Lee Mikyung emphasized the importance of multi-faceted forms of cooperation, including the fostering of diverse S&T human resources, the implementation of practical research, the establishment of a basis for industry-academia cooperation, and the attracting of private sector funding.
The workshop consisted of three sessions: (1) Prof. Chang Soo Young from the Pohang University of Science and Technology updated everyone on the status and vision for Korea’s S&T ODA; (2) KIST Vice-president Yoon Seok-Jin detailed KIST’s progress and revealed its plans for the VKIST Support Program (of which he is the primary overseer), while VKIST President Kum Dongwha outlined a roadmap for VKIST’s expansion and future operations; and (3) Korean experts in S&T, industrial collaboration, and ODA held an in-depth discussion on VKIST’s self-reliance once the VKIST Support Program ends in 2021.
The VKIST Support Program sprung out of the 2014 cooperation agreement between KOICA and KIST. The agreement was first instigated in 2012 when the Vietnamese government requested assistance from the Korean government in constructing an S&T research institute modeled after KIST, which has played a crucial role in driving Korea’s economic development.
During the period of 2014 to 2020, KOICA and KIST, in collaboration with the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology, are scheduled to carry out construction on the VKIST laboratory (in Hanoi’s Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park), the instillation of research equipment, consultations on institute operations, the conducting of authentically collaborative research as well as research into human resource development, and the implementation of proper support to ensure the institute’s smooth operation. The Vietnamese government is providing all necessary infrastructure, including land, water/sewage, electricity, and communication capabilities.
During his March 2018 visit to Vietnam, Korean President Moon Jae-in referred to the VKIST Support Program as an “exemplary case of bilateral collaboration and mutual future growth between our two countries.”
Thanks to KIST’s long record of achievements in S&T-based industrialization, VKIST is expected to function not only as an S&T research institute for boosting Vietnam’s economic development and national competitiveness, but also as a hub for Korean-Vietnamese S&T cooperation, including the active fostering of technology transfer and bilateral business cooperation.