Creating institutional breakthroughs in science, technology, and innovation to meet the requirements of growth model reform, economic recovery, and development
Communist Review - One of the strategic breakthroughs identified by the 13th Party Congress is the growth of science, technology, and innovation. Currently, in the context of safe, flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic, it is necessary to continue to achieve institutional breakthroughs in science, technology, and innovation to raise productivity, quality, efficiency, and competitiveness and to achieve the goals of growth model reform, economic recovery, and development
1- Renovation of the business growth model is consistently affirmed in the guidelines and policies of the Party and State. Resolution No. 05-NQ/TW, dated November 1, 2016, of the 4th Plenum of the 12th Central Committee on “Some major undertakings and policies to renovate the growth model and improve the quality of economic growth, labor productivity, and competitiveness of the economy” affirms that growth model reform aims to enhance the quality of economic growth, labor productivity and competitiveness of the economy to a achieve a rapid, sustainable and inclusive development in terms of economy, society, and environment; we will not chase growth at any cost which can cause adverse impacts on macroeconomic stability; it is crucial to maintain national security, progress, social justice, protect ecology; due consideration will be given to stimulating labor productivity and human resources, promoting patriotism, national pride, innovative ideas of Vietnamese people, absorbing technological advances of mankind, enhancing potentials and advantages of industries, fields, localities and the whole country. Depending on the characteristics of each industry, sector, and locality, a well-balanced combination of economic growth in width and depth, in which growth in depth is mainstream, should be maintained; gradually shift from growth based mainly on investment and exports to growth based on investment, export and domestic market; gradually shift from growth based on inputs to growth based on productivity, labor quality, use technological advances and boost innovation; exploit and maximize internal and external resources(1). The 13th Party Congress continued to confirm that renewing the growth model is "drastically shifting the economy to a growth model based on productivity, technological advances, innovation, and high-quality human resources, efficient use of resources to improve the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy”(2).
Thus, science, technology, and innovation play a crucial role in moving from an economic growth model in width to balanced development in width and depth by extending scales, improving quality, efficiency, and sustainability, enhancing science, technology and innovation, and high-quality human resources and efficient use of resources.
The reform of the economic growth model based on science, technology, and innovation has set some core requirements for science, technology, and innovation. They need to contribute to the restructuring of the national economy in the direction of a strong shift to advanced and modern fields; increasing sharply domestic value, added value, and competitiveness of products, enterprises, and the whole economy; balancing economic and environmental benefits, developing a green economy; promoting products that have competitive advantages, advanced technology, and high-value-added products, and fostering participation in the global value chain.
Vietnam's policy of economic recovery and development to handle flexibly, safely, and effectively the COVID-19 epidemic is both an urgent and long-term task, showing its resilience and adaptability to domestic and international changes as well as global economic growth trends. In fact, economic recovery and development are accelerating the reform of the economic growth model in the current period. Therefore, science, technology, and innovation need to focus on improving Vietnam's competitiveness compared to other countries in the world while the country is overcoming the profound effects of the pandemic, adjusting economic activity to live with the pandemic... and actively participating in safe and flexible adaptation, effective disease control, and improving preventive medicine quality and capacity, ensuring country access sufficient vaccines and drugs...
Experience from countries also shows the importance of science, technology, and innovation in recovering the economy and ensuring equality during the pandemic time. For instance, Greater Mekong sub-region countries have coordinated to develop the “COVID-19 response and recovery Plan 2021 – 2023” in which science, technology, and innovation are highlighted to take full use of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to improve economic efficiency and inclusion, ensuring countries equitable and fair access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines.
2- From the requirements set forth by the renewal of the growth model and economic recovery, it is possible to outline the following fundamental guidelines to foster science, technology, and innovation in Vietnam in the future:
First and foremost, science, technology and innovation should be used to realize major socio-economic goals by playing a decisive role in improving productivity, quality, efficiency, competitiveness of products, goods, services and the economy, especially in developing new products and services, key products and national brands; mastering and quickly applying the world's advanced technologies; by promoting economic restructuring in the direction of increasing the proportion of high-tech products and high value-added and high-productivity industries through the application of advanced and modern technologies; by promoting spearhead industries, especially processing and manufacturing industries based on the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; by gradually reducing the proportion of low value-added and low-productivity industries which are outdated with technology; by solving social problems brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the international integration and non-traditional security challenges; by proposing solutions to reform social management amidst digital transformation...; actively contributing to environmental protection, response to climate change, green economy, circular economy...
Secondly, it is essential to build some major national technology projects in key fields to solve particularly important problems in the long term to develop the country. Restructure technological programs and tasks to fulfill social needs and the value chain of products, and create added value.
Thirdly, build a national innovation system and an innovative startup ecosystem. Accelerate the establishment of innovation centers and innovative start-ups, develop the innovation and start-up movement on a national scale, taking businesses as the center. Strengthen the connection of innovation networks domestically and internationally.
Fourthly, enhance science, technology, and innovation among enterprises. Enterprises should focus on transferring and applying advanced technologies for a higher level of technology absorption and innovation, improving management capacity, human resource qualifications and skills, improving production and business processes, implementing digital transformation, and applying a new business model in line with the technological innovation process, etc.
Fifthly, restructure research and technology organizations in association with prioritized sectors of the country under the principles of autonomy, connection, and approach to international standards. Strongly develop regional and local science, technology and innovation systems. Promote innovation activities in key regions to foster their economic advantages. Restructure centers for research and technology application under departments of science and technology, and increase investment in human resources, finance, and infrastructure so that they could become focal points to promote technology transfer and innovation in localities. Gradually raise standards for traditional products and OCOP products (One Commune, One Product) to promote technological innovation in production.
Sixthly, strengthen international cooperation in science, technology, and innovation in order to attract external resources for the renewal of the growth model, economic recovery, and development. Improve the level of research, technology, and innovation in Vietnam to meet international standards in many important fields so that it could become one of the leading countries among middle-income countries.
Therefore, it is obvious that to meet the requirements of renovating the growth model, economic recovery, and development, it is urgent now to create institutional breakthroughs in science, technology, and innovation.
3- Over the past time, the institution of science, technology, and innovation in Vietnam has achieved certain success, contributing to the renewal of the growth model, economic recovery, and development. The promulgated mechanisms and policies show the consistency in implementing the policy that science and technology are the top national policy. Currently, there are eight specialized laws enacted related to science, technology, and innovation development. The system of normative legal documents on intellectual property, quality measurement standards, business development, etc. has also been gradually improved to become more and more coherent.
Public administration thinking has changed, and the law on science and technology has been improved to meet global trends and satisfy Vietnam’s demands in science, technology, and innovation. The legal corridor in science and technology becomes more comprehensive, creating a favorable environment and healthy competition in innovative research, gradually eliminating bureaucracy. Innovation gradually becomes new thinking in management and administration; the central role of enterprises in the national innovation system is becoming more and more evident. Public research and technology organizations become more independent. Technology, innovation markets, and innovative startup ecosystem are growing; innovative start-up enterprises have been established; enterprises are encouraged to create their research institutes and invest more and more in research and technological activities; projects to attract talented domestic scientists and Vietnamese intellectuals abroad have been implemented.
Currently, the Ministry of Science and Technology is actively amending and supplementing regulations on institutional reform stipulated in some laws and documents to submit to competent authorities for promulgation, such as the Law amending some articles of the Intellectual Property Law; Law on Science and Technology; Law on Standards and Technical Regulations; Law on Product and Goods Quality; Law on Atomic Energy; Strategy for development of science, technology and innovation until 2030;... and many other sub-law documents to meet the requirements of the new period.
Besides the achieved results, it can be seen that over the past time, science, technology, and innovation institutions in Vietnam still have several limitations. Laws on investment, finance, and enterprises are not really synchronized with some provisions of the law on science and technology. The policies on funding, and tax do not effectively create favorable business climates for all economic sectors to foster technological innovation and commercialize technology and innovation domestically and globally. It is recommended to continue to formulate mechanisms and policies to encourage enterprises to import technology, especially for key and spearhead industries to create new high-added value products.
Therefore, amid challenging situations, the development of science, technology and innovation are urgent to meet the requirements of the growth model reform, economic recovery, and development in response flexibly, safely, and effectively to COVID-19. This requires the following institutional breakthroughs:
In the first place, implement “sandboxes” for testing research and technology projects or business models (innovative start-ups in some fields; research institutes; universities, etc).
In the second place, reform mechanisms, policies, and laws on investment, public investment, public procurement, use of public budget and property, taxes, and other relevant laws to develop science, technology, and innovation activities. Improve the public-private partnership mechanism, the legal framework to regulate “angel investment”, venture capital funds, community investment funds, digital technology platforms to raise investment capital, and diversify traditional forms to mobilize more resources for science, technology, and innovation. Develop mechanisms and policies to promote the connection between research institutes, universities, and enterprises.
In the third place, review, amend and complete legal regulations on the administrative autonomy of public agencies in science and technology by providing them autonomy to determine their organizational structure, policies of recruitment, human resources, and funding to accomplish their research and technological tasks. Develop criteria for measuring and evaluating the output of science, technology, and innovation activities of research institutes, universities, and enterprises according to international standards.
In the fourth place, reform the financial management, accept the risk in science, technology, and innovation; create favorable conditions for enterprises to conduct scientific and technological activities; remove difficulties and obstacles in the transfer of assets created scientific and technological activities funded by the government.
In the fifth place, harmonize the law on tax, finance, credit, and the law on science and technology to effectively deploy incentive schemes related to enterprises’ investment in research and technological innovation by shortening the depreciation period of machinery and equipment used in research and technological activities; formulating and implementing an annual tax incentive mechanism for enterprises according to the actual revenue generated from science, technology and innovation activities, income tax incentives for individuals and businesses for science and innovation grants by research institutes and universities. Continue to review, adjust and implement policies and solutions to strongly develop science and technology enterprises, high-tech enterprises, and innovative start-up enterprises, making innovative start-ups one of the breakthrough drivers for economic growth model reform.
In the sixth place, review, assess, and improve policies on technology import (tax and credit incentives, support policies,...) to promote international technology transfer. Study and amend policies related to public procurement to encourage the purchase of national technology products.
In the seventh place, comprehensively strengthen management reform in science and technology at all levels under the principles of publicity, transparency, objectivity, administrative procedures simplification; digitalize management processes and database of scientific, technological, and innovation resources.
Lastly, unify one focal point for state management of science, technology, and innovation to strongly promote innovation, science, and technology as a basis for effective coordination in formulating and implementing mechanisms and policies to foster science, technology, and innovation. Create a compact management system in science, technology, and innovation to formulate mechanisms, policies, and strategies.
(1) See: Resolution No. 05-NQ/TW, dated November 1, 2016, of the 4th Plenum of the 12th Central Committee on "Some major undertakings and policies to continue renewing the growth model and improving growth quality, labor productivity, and competitiveness of the economy”
(2) Documents of the 13th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, vol. I, p. 120 - 121
This article was published in the Communist Review No. 987 (Avril 2022)