October 22, 2018

On 19 October 2011, the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Vietnam (RLS) conducted a workshop on “Think-tanks in the world: Cases of Germany and Viet Nam”.

As Prof. Pham Bich San, Vice Secretary General of VUSTA, pointed out in his introductory presentation, the transition to a socialist-oriented market economy caused an increased demand for external advice in policy making that could not be covered by the old institutions. In the last two decades, many parallel structures developed in universities, ministries and other official institutions, as well as foundations by private institutions. Nowadays, policy makers have to choose from a multitude of offers of expertise, which often are not independent, but represent certain interests themselves. Dr. Dieter Plehwe of the Social Science Research Centre Berlin illustrated this dissemination of ideas and its problematic nature with the example of neoliberal think-tank networks. Many cases of policy-advice networks, such as in the Vietnamese health sector by VUSTA itself, or those originating from the European environmental movement, were added, illustrating the many ways think-tanks contribute to policies.

The participants discussed problems of the independence of think-tanks, their ways of influencing politics and the role of stakeholders in a less centralized governing process. As Nadja Charaby, director of RLS Vietnam pointed out in her closing speech, think-tanks make valuable and necessary contributions to political decisions, but politicians need competence to decide which advice to take. The need for further debate and scientific analysis of think-tanks in Vietnam become clearer in this workshop.

The presentations in the workshop were as follows:




Opening remark

Prof. Dang Vu Minh,

President of VUSTA

Introduction about the objectives of the workshop and agenda

Phan Anh Son,

Director General for International Cooperation, VUSTA

Policy research institutes in Vietnam: development history, typology, mechanism of influence and trends of development

Prof. Pham Bich San,

Vice Secretary General of VUSTA

Transnational community and discourse coalitions: Comparative analysis of neoliberal networks of intellectuals and think tanks

Dr. Dieter Plehwe,

Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)

Policy research institutions for the legislative branch in Viet Nam: Roles, contributions and limitations

Prof. Dao Tri Uc,

Law Faculty, Vietnam National University

Contributions from VUSTA research institutes to public policy development

Dr Tran Tuan,

Senior Researcher, VUSTA

European/ German Think Tanks in the field of Sustainable Development

Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg,

UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environment Research

Relationship between research institutes and policy makers in Vietnam:The case of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

Mdm. Nguyen Thai Yen Huong, Vice President,

Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

Closing remark


Nadja Charaby,

Country Representative; RLS Vietnam


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