On 20 – Oct. 2021 (the Vietnam National Women DAY) – Mekong Organics hosted a Day for Friends (DFFs) to share our successful stories of assessing and developing a research team to implement the international research funds for development, from three Australian Alumni (AAV) – myself (Dr Van Kien Nguyen (Director of Mekong Organics PTY LTD)), Mr Nguyen Van Thai (Lecturer in gender and community development from An Giang University, and Mr Le Ngoc Hiep (Lecturer in Food Science and Nutrition from An Giang University).
Over 60 participants, who are young researchers and leaders in 7 universities: Tay Bac Uni, Tay Nguyen Uni, Hue Uni, Tien Giang Uni, An Giang Uni, University of Economics HCM City, Bac Lieu University; and researchers, practitioners from Vinh Long Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Kien Giang Department of Science and Technology, and Lam Dong Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, and other participants from private sectors and NGOs.
The agenda lasted from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Hanoi Time)
The welcome section and introduction were presented by Dr Van Kien Nguyen, Director of Mekong Organics.
Followed by the presentation of A/Prof Tu Diep Cong Thanh, Rector of Bac Lieu University – he is keen to connect Mekong Organics team with early career researchers from Bac Lieu University, a very poor province in the Mekong Delta.
Dr Van Kien Nguyen continues to shared his long lasting research experience, especially the skills and capacity building in assessing international grants to empower research for development of local communities in the Mekong region. He shared the first and simple step for an early researcher is to start with a very small grant (say <$5,000). From this point, a researcher will learn a lots, learn the whole process of research, the skills and capacity to partner and collaborate with researchers outside the universities as a role of multidisciplinary team.
Followed by Mr Nguyen Van Thai, who is an early career researcher. Thai has started in seeking for grants since he was studying at the RMIT university (Melbourne) under the Master program. Thai’s first grant was funded by SEARCA, then many small grants were developed.
Ending with Mr Le Ngoc Hiep, an early-career researcher from technological background who used to research independently. The lesson Hiep learnt is working with a multidiscipline team of Mekong Organics gave him open minded, creativity and team work building, that is the core of development. Before joining into the Mekong Organics team, he worked independent for his research and found very frustrated. Hiep, Thai, and Dr Kien gave an example of three AAV alumni formulated the idea, turned the idea into the proposal through a team work process.
The event raised many interesting questions and discussions from lecturers in these universities, and government department. The trust building is developed. Mekong Organics team will collaborate with researchers from Bac Lieu University and Vinh Long DARD to undertake a socio-economic, agriculture, food system and covid-19 survey under the UK-funded Living Delta Hub. This process will help to train local researchers social research skills and team work building. Rector of Tien Giang University also invited Director of Mekong Organics to have a meeting with their senior and junior researchers on 27 Oct 2021 to discuss future collaboration. Tay Nguyen University and Hue University (Nong Lam) showed their interest in partnering with Mekong Organics to develop research and development in organic agriculture and community development. Tay Bac University already discussed with director of Mekong Organics for the involvement in AVEG program, training in organic food production, certification and trade for their lecturers. Lecturers from Bac Lieu and Tien Giang Universities also registered the training in organic food production, certification and trade from 1 Nov 2021 to 19 March 2022. Today Mekong Organics received over 400 registration for this training under the project “promotion organic food certification and trade between Australia & Vietnam” under the AVEG 2021. The registration number is over the expected number (200). So we are evaluating each application in order to select the best candidates for the training. We wish to gave all chance for you.
We found many of them are young female researchers – That is excellent news for the event. We wish more women engage in research for development.
Mekong Organics will host more technical training events to support you to become an international researcher!
Training materials are in the weblink below!