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Commercialization of university research findings faces obstacles

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Only a few research works conducted at universities can be applied in reality.

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Businesses are seeking preeminent scientific findings to apply while universities announce research findings every year, but the two sides cannot find each other. 

As a result, most discoveries are put in mothballs after the authors announce their findings in scientific journals.

Truong Quang Vinh from the HCM City University of Science & Technology, however, said he knows many research works which have been successfully commercialized. Ehealthcare, a project on connecting data among hospitals, has been applied at some large hospitals in HCM City.

With Ehealthcare, patients do not have to have an X-ray or MRI many times if they change hospitals because information  is shared among the hospitals. The project was initially estimated to cost VND1 billion, but reached $2 million. 

However, not all research works can gain such success. At the Electronics Faculty of Vinh’s school, about 70 percent of lecturers want to put their scientific findings into commercialization. However, they usually face difficulties.

According to Huynh Quyen, deputy head of the Science & Technology Division of the HCM City National University, many experiments and steps need to be taken to develop research findings into a good product. But universities do not have enough money for this process.

HCM City University of Science & Technology allocates a budget of VND3 billion to support students to carry out research and startups. The amount of money is small; there are 11 faculties in the school that need financial support. 

In theory, lecturers who want to start their business can contact incubators which help connect scientists and businesses, and help arrange equipment and laboratories. However, support from the incubators remains modest.

As a result, many lecturers leave domestic universities for overseas universities where they can use modern facilities to satisfy their research. This brain drain causes Vietnam to lose valuable research work.

Scientists have been advised to contact businesspeople and investors to seek funding for their applied research. However, not many companies are willing to spend money on research and development. Scientists have been told to stop complaining about the lack of investors, and become more active in looking for sponsors and persuading them to spend money.

In related news, a report says hundreds of professors and associate professors give lectures at universities, but many do not conduct scientific research. Vietnam has 1,600 professors and 10,000 associate professors, but only 200-300 are researchers.


Source: VietNamNet

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