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Vietnam and UK Strengthen Research Ties

Professor Sarah Harper is pleased to announce and congratulate Matthew Tye for spearheading an exciting new initiative which will strengthen academic ties and accelerate research initiatives between the UK and Vietnam. This newly established Vietnam Academic Network (VAN-UK) for UK based academics, researchers and students (VAN-UK) was launched Friday 20th March 2009 at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.


Founder of the new network - Matthew Tye FRSA (MSc Student in Comparative Social Policy, Dept. Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford) welcomed dignitaries:

  • HM Ambassador Mark Kent - the British Ambassador to Vietnam
  • HE Tran Quang Hoan – the Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK
  • Madame Nga – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Spokesperson

and seventy five academics and Vietnamese students from Oxford, Cambridge, London (RHUL), LSE and Warwick Universities.

Key-note speakers included:

  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing. who spoke of the strategic importance of pro-actively planning for demographics shifts and increasing numbers of older people, particularly within Asia. From 1950 to 2005, the number of older people worldwide grew from 205 million (8% of the total global population) to 672 million (10%). By 2050 it is expected to reach almost 2 billion, representing 21% of the world’s total population.
  • Professor Simon Cutting from Royal Holloway, then provided an overview of the last 15 years of his pioneering research in Vietnam.
  • Professor Jonathan Rigg, from Durham University who spoke on ‘mapping agrarian transitions in Vietnam’.
VAN's Objectives

The 'UK - Vietnam Academic Network' was established in recognition of the growing importance of strengthening relations between the UK and Vietnam. One area where this is reflected is in academic exchange with increasing numbers of students and researchers choosing to work on and in Vietnam. This exchange is reciprocal too, with ever larger numbers of Vietnamese students choosing to study in the UK.

It was recognised that a support framework was needed to facilitate greater engagement between those conducting research in Vietnam and Vietnamese conducting research in the UK. The new network will empower researchers starting out to become better informed through access to first-class expertise and guidance in both countries. Particularly in Vietnam, researchers not sufficiently versed in Vietnamese practices sometimes overlook local norms and traditions which can result in delays in access to essential resources.  Lack of inadequate preparation and acclimatization to cultural norms can often mean loss of several weeks of work in the field.  The objective of the VAN network is to meet these challenges through ongoing dialogue and the organization of several events a year, including seminars and round-table discussions. VAN will draw its members from across the disciplines, with a focus on Vietnam as its centre-piece.

Click for further details  about the Conference Programme.