Yesterday (Tuesday 22 January), as part of the Vietnamese Official Visit to the UK led by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong; Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Tran Quang Quy, signed an agreement with Universities Minister David Willetts which paves the way for the establishment of a research intensive, research led university within the existing University of Danang.
Aston University, Birmingham, has been designated the UK leader of the consortium and will bring internationally recognised expertise in science, engineering, business and technology to the project. As a first step, 20 PhD scholars from the University of Danang will undertake placements at Aston beginning in September 2013. These scholars will help to create a high quality teaching faculty for the new university.
Professor Dame Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, attending the ceremony to announce the new university, stated;
"2013 is the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations being established between the UK and Vietnam. The two countries already have many cultural and commercial ties, and trade and investment is increasing annually. It is fitting that in this anniversary year the two governments have given such as strong commitment to supporting and internationalising higher education through the creation of a new university."
Professor King continued;
"Aston University is proud to be leading this project with our partners in Danang. As one of the Top Fifty universities in the world who are less than fifty years old we have a strong international outlook and we are focussed on research which is applicable and impactful . Our well established links to business will help the new university engage private sector partners, and ensure that senior managers from the UK and Vietnam have a forum in which enterprise can flourish."
The University of Danang, leading the project with Aston University, President Professor Tran Van Nam said;
"The University of Danang is honoured to be selected by the two governments to establish a research intensive, research led university within our existing system. This new international standard university is designed to serve the human and technology capacity building which will increase the domestic and international competitiveness of Vietnamese firms and also capacity building to attract inward investment internationally to Danang and the region. It is also designed to dramatically increase the research power of Danang University in both the pure and applied research areas."
"We are happy to work closely with Aston University as the leader of UK consortium to develop this project in Danang. It is believed that under the strong commitment of the two governments, the University of Danang and Aston University will undertake some specific activities of the project in 2013 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between UK and Vietnam."
The project will utilise UK university best practice and will ultimately lead to the upgrading of the university sector as a whole in Vietnam. With a focus on research led activity, it is different to many existing partnerships that have been set up by UK universities which are often led by undergraduate teaching.
Danang is Vietnam’s third largest city and is located on the central coastal area of the country. Danang University, one of three key regional universities, was founded in 1994 from 6 member universities and colleges established since 1976, with over 1,500 academic staff and 17 research centres.
AstonUniversityhas a heritage dating back to 1895, and was awarded University status since 1966. With over 1,000 academic staff and major research centres in photonics, bioenergy, business and enterprise, and modern languages, it is recognised as a top thirty, research intensive university.