Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Vietnam: Market Report

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Situated in Southeast Asia, Vietnam shares its borders with China, Laos, and Cambodia. It spans a total area of 331,210 km2 and, as of July 2012, had a population of 91,519,289.

Vietnam’s economy is sluggish because of the inefficiency and corruption in government programs. The country is a key exporter of agricultural items. Its GDP was $320.5 billion in 2012.

Nanotechnology Organizations

Vietnam has an organization/network dedicated to developing nanoscience, and investigating the challenges and future of nanotechnology. A short introduction to this organization is provided below.

Asia Nano Forum

Part of the Asia Nano Forum, Vietnam gains from the diverse resources available from the member countries.

Nanotechnology Companies

Nanotechnology is a varied field that finds application in numerous industries. Vietnam has key nanotechnology companies that cater to these different sectors. These are mentioned below along with a short introduction to each of them:

Nanogen Biopharmaceutical

It is a leading company pursuing research and development into active Biopharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and specific therapeutic injections in the Asia Pacific region. Its work focuses on developments in recombinant DNA and protein technologies.

NanoPaint

NanoPaint specializes in producing various paints and coatings for a variety of surfaces.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

Vietnam has a few universities that provide research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Mentioned below is a list of academic institutions and universities in Vietnam, and the academic courses or research opportunities offered by them:

Laboratory for Nanotechnology (LNT)

The laboratory has three departments, such as R&D Department, Support and Service Department, and Education Department. The research groups within LNT include Nano-Materials, Bio-Nanosensor Research Group, Nano-Pharmacy Research Group, CNT & Inkjet Printing Process Research Group, and the Nanoparticles, Catalysts & Fuel Cells Research Group.

University of Engineering and Technology (UET)

The Faculty of Engineering Physics and Nanotechnology (FEPN) at the university has four departments—Department of Nanophotonics Technology; Department of Nano-Semiconductor Materials and Devices; Department of Nano-Magnetic Materials and Devices; and Department of Nano Biotechnology.

FEPN also has three laboratories—Nano Hybrid Materials and Devices Laboratory; Nanophotonics Technology Laboratory; and Nano Magnetic Materials and Devices Laboratory. In addition, FEPN provides the following courses:

  • B.Sc. degree program in Engineering Physics (with a nanotechnology orientation)
  • M.Sc. degree program in Nano-Biotechnology
  • M.Sc. and PhD degree programs in Nano Materials and Devices

Hanoi University of Science and Technology

The university supports the Materials Science Centre where numerous research activities such as development and application of new micro- and nanocrystalline materials happen.

Recent Developments

The Laboratory for Nanotechnology (LNT) organized the 4th International Workshop on Nanotechnology and Application (IWNA 2013) that took place between November 14th and 16th. The subjects covered at this workshop were: Nanomaterials, Nanodevices and Nanomedicine; Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience; Applications of Micro-Nanotechnology; and Nanofabrication Techniques.

The 6th International Workshop on Advanced Material Science and Nanotechnology (IWAMSN 2012) was conducted in the province of Quang Ninh in October 31st, 2012. Over 500 Vietnamese and international scientists and experts attended this event. The event was arranged in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, and the Japan National Institute for Materials Science.

The workshop offered a chance for the participants to share their know-how in nanotechnology and advanced materials science, as well as to examine Vietnam’s present situation concerning the development of these technologies.

The other subjects discussed during the course of this workshop included materials and technologies for environmental protection, materials for electronics and photonics, nanostructured materials and devices, clean energy devices, and nanotechnology for life sciences and agriculture.

Representatives from Vietnam’s academia, government, and industry will meet the world’s top microelectronics companies to investigate and discuss the growing semiconductor sector in Vietnam. The meeting was held at the SEMI Vietnam Semiconductor Strategy Summit in September 2013, in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Vietnamese economy managed to survive the GFC comparatively well and the country has been gradually changing itself into a more market-oriented economy. This involved privatization of certain state-owned enterprises but persistent problems with corruption and the protection of intellectual property have decelerated the transformation process. Drawing foreign investment has also been a problem because of the absence of a transparent legal and regulatory system.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology launched a five-year program in 2010 to help up to 10,000 businesses participate in the application of contemporary science and technology. The program was also intended to promote science across the country.

Thus far, government spending on science has been low, while private contributions were virtually non-existent. Moreover, the government funds provided have not been properly utilized and wages for scientists are comparatively low, with business people drawing much higher wages.

While this program has started to produce results, this is merely the beginning of Vietnamese science and technology. More time is needed for science to become a more broadly accepted and research infrastructure. For Vietnam to promote a nanotechnology sector, it may be in its best interests to focus on agriculture, connecting new technology with its currently proven industries.

While international workshops point to positive movements, there are still hurdles like corruption and comparatively low expenditure levels that will continue to delay R&D improvements, and affect the development of nanotechnology in Vietnam. The country will also struggle to compete against developed and larger Asian neighbors like South Korea, Japan, and China.

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