Regional and economic integration in South East Asia is moving at rapid pace and influences Lao PDR intensely, providing both opportunities and challenges. The government is acutely aware of the issues. Recently, Lao PDR experiences impressive economic growth, which is amongst the fastest in South East Asia. Despite the rapid economic development the significant advances in human development that followed, Lao PDR still stands amongst the ranks of the Least Developed Countries in Science and Technology (S&T).
The Lao PDR Revolution Party as well as the government focused on research development in S&T and some of the research areas improved and increased the development of the Forestry-Agriculture Science, Health Science, Education, Culture, and Science and Technology itself. In 2001-2010, researches on S&T areas have increased by 9.5 times publication in international journal such as Journal Agriculture Science, Tropical Medicine and Health, PLOS Journal, Composites Science and Technology and Journal of Applied Polymer Science etc. However, compared with other countries in ASEAN, Lao PDR has less research developments in term of its quantity and quality.
Right after the Fellowship Orientation in Jakarta on 23-30 May, 2016, Indonesia, my Host Ministry set a first meeting to clarify that the researches plans are under government strategy development, therefore, calling the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows from Lao PDR (including Mr. Houmpheng Theuambounmy, Dr. Sounthisack Phommachanh, and myself) and the Board of Advisors meeting with National COST Chairman, H.E. Houmphan Intharath (Vice Minister of Science and Technology) to discuss our Plan of Action (PoA) at Ministry of Science and Technology, Vientiane, Lao PDR on June 14, 2016.
I also participated in a meeting on Strategy of Science and Technology in Research Development and Human Resources Development organized by the Ministry of Education, National University of Laos, Faculty of Economics and Business Management in Vientiane, Lao PDR on August 26, 2016. As an ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow, it is great opportunity to take dissuasion issues and recommend to the government or policy maker. This meeting discussed about increasing the research development and innovation by creating Research Centers in a variety fields at universities and institutions in Lao PDR.
In my opinion, the Government and policy maker are important role to set guideline for the government-university-industry research roundtable convenes senior-most representatives from government, universities, and industry to define and explore critical issues related to the national and global science and technology agenda that are of shared interest; to frame the next critical question stemming from current debate and analysis; and to incubate activities of on-going value to the stakeholders. When industries and universities work in tandem to push the frontiers of knowledge, they become a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth. The University presidents need to make industry-university partnerships a strategic priority and communication, input at the highest level from the company and the university, the goals and benefits of partnering clear to the entire faculty.
I also joined a signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding on Academic works between National University of Laos (NUOL) and Mitr Lao Sugar Co., Ltd, as an ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow was a great achievement and will support my Fellowship’s action plan to develop curriculum for Research collaboration, students work based learning, research development and make quality employee for work at industry to achieve the goals. These action points will potentially assist Laos Policy initiatives. Thus, the outcomes of the plan will be helpful in coordination work within the country and sharing of updated information within the ASEAN network in the policy implementation and to develop and enhance regional sustainable development goals.
About the Author:
Dr. Vilay Vannaladsaysy is currently a 2016-2017 ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow at Ministry of Science and Technology, Vientiane, Lao PDR. His current research focus is on the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy. As an ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow, he hopes to expand his professional skillset, strengthen existing Laos STI Policy initiatives in Priority Areas, including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Vilay received his B.Eng. in Mechanical engineering from the National University of Laos (2004), M.Sc. degree (2007) and Ph.D. degree (2011) in Material Engineering from the University Science Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. He spent two years as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral fellow at Kyshu University, Japan (2011) and ERASMUS Post-doctoral Fellow at the Department of Chemical Sciences and Technologies, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy (2015).