The Vietnam Research Programme and Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
The Vietnam Research Programme is recognised internationally for its excellence in research into infectious diseases. Established in 1991 in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in 2006, the Programme aims to tackle national health problems and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious and non-infectious diseases - many of which are also challenging global health issues. The Wellcome Trust has supported the Programme for almost 20 years and recently extended its core support through to 2015.
The Programme is hosted by the Hospital for Tropical Diseases - facilitating a close integration between clinicians and researchers - and is home to the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. With support from the Vietnamese government and the Trust, the Programme expanded in 2002 to include a dedicated Institute for Clinical Research. The unit in Hanoi has close links with Vietnamese government ministries. It is hosted by the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases and works closely with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the National Hospital for Paediatrics, among others.
The Programme collaborates widely across Vietnam and with research groups in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Nepal, Singapore and Latin America. The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit also coordinates the South-east Asia Infectious Disease Clinical Research Network (SEAICRN), a multinational group that strives to advance scientific knowledge and clinical management of infectious disease through integrated, collaborative clinical research. Professor Nick White, a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow who is based in Bangkok, is the Chairman of the South-east Asia Clinical Research Network which co-ordinates the activities of the two Major Overseas Programmes centred in Thailand and Laos, and Vietnam.
The Programme has a formal training programme, with 40 Vietnamese PhD students and more than 20 Master's students currently registered for degrees at Vietnamese or international universities and with the focus of research firmly centred in Vietnam. It also offers an English Language for Science programme, and a communications officer is employed to develop public engagement projects. Through these efforts, the Programme is helping to build a critical mass of Vietnamese clinicians and scientists dedicated to the country's development, who will make a significant contribution to clinical science in Vietnam and beyond.