An ANU delegation, organised and led by CEAT, travelled to Vietnam in mid-March to visit the Center for Agricultural Innovation (CAI) at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA). Their trip was part of the Resilient Agriculture and Food (RAF) Initiative, part of the larger Aus4Innovation program aimed at helping Vietnam strengthen its innovation ecosystem and funded by the Australian government through DFAT.
They were there to help VNUA lead the way in catalysing and supporting agri-tech spin-offs and start-ups in Vietnam.
“Together, our goal was to draw on our experience of industry collaboration and commercialisation to help the VNUA develop its own industry-engagement strategy.” said Director of CEAT, Owen Atkin.
Development and implementation of a strategy would help increase research impact and develop new income streams for the University through industry investment.
ANU were represented by CEAT Director Owen Atkin, Kiara Bechta-Metti from the Office of Research and Innovation Services (RIS) and Don McCallum from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP). They were joined by a VNUA contingent led by their Executive, CAI, and the Office of Science and Technology.
The visit, conducted over three days, included a tour of the VNUA campus, interviews with some VNUA researchers and small agri-businesses, as well as the delivery of two workshops.
“Over three days, Kiara, Don and I had the pleasure of meeting a wide range of researchers working at the interface of fundamental and applied biology; learning more about how they were leveraging their research expertise to create agri-tech spin-offs; and using SWOT and Theory of Change workshops to explore how VNUA could achieve further industry-engagement and commercialisation successes.”
CEAT had conducted two earlier online scoping workshops as part of the project.
VNUA found the workshops very useful and the visit was similarly beneficial for ANU, opening up the possibility of further collaborations between ANU and VNUA academics in the agricultural and plant sciences space.
“Key to the success of the trip was the wonderful support provided by the VNUA leadership, particularly Professors Pham Bao Duong (VNUA VP), Tran Duc Vien (Director, CAI) and Nguyen Viet Long (Vice Director, CAI).“
The report with recommendations are now being finalised for CSIRO.