Australia willing to help Vietnam apply AI for post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Update: 17:15 | 04/08/2020
The Australian government announced today its financial support of AUD 650,000 to a new initiative that enables applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist with economic recovery in Vietnam post COVID-19.
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The 2nd Vietnam-Australia Innovation Partnership Meeting. (Photo: Australian Embassy in Vietnam)

The announcement was made at the second Innovation Partnership Meeting, at which the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Ms. Robyn Mudie and Minister of Science and Technology (MoST) H.E. Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh jointly reviewed achievements from the first 18 months of the Aus4Innovation program.

This initiative is through the Aus4Innovation program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology. It will both provide short-term funding for innovative AI solutions to deal with the consequences of the pandemic and serve longer-term priorities, including technical support for the implementation of Vietnam’s future AI strategy and training courses for stakeholders in the AI ecosystem.

Highlights have included: nearly AUD 4 million in funding to scale up innovative partnerships between Vietnamese and Australian institutions; capacity building activities in science commercialization for individual researchers and institutions across Vietnam; and support to MoST in important science, technology and innovation policy research.

Given previous Aus4Innovation initiatives relating to Vietnam’s future digital economy and the strong correlation identified between digitization and economic growth, AI is a natural extension of program activities in response to COVID-19.

"Innovation is one of the three key pillars in our strategic partnership with Vietnam. In the face of global pandemic, it has become more important than ever. This AI initiative is a great example of how new technology can be adapted quickly to respond to Vietnam’s emerging needs. It is a strong demonstration of Australia’s commitment to working with our partners in Vietnam and the Indo-Pacific region to address the impact of COVID-19 and support long-term recovery, as outlined in our recently launched development policy – 'Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response' said H.E. Ms. Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam.

"AI is considered a core technology for Industry 4.0 that has implications for post-COVID-19 healing. We welcome Australia’s support to Vietnam with AI as well as the continued support from the Aus4Innovation program in deepening the connections between the Australian and Vietnamese innovation ecosystems. In 18 months we have created a sound basis for a further mutual innovation partnership that we are confident will continue delivering positive results and impact on Vietnam’s sustainable socio-economic development", Minister of Science and Technology H.E. Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh added.

The new AI initiative includes support for Vietnam Artificial Intelligence Day (AI4VN 2020) under the theme "AI in a pandemic: Adapting to the new normal". This has been an annual activity since 2018, attracting a wide range of stakeholders in the AI community: from policymakers and technology corporations to researchers and university students.

Events surrounding the AI4VN Summit this year include workshops, a technology showcase conference, training programs and a hackathon, spanning from August 2020 to June 2021. The highlight is the AI Hackathon, a 48-hour contest that brings experts together with top programmers to find new ways to use AI as Vietnam recovers from Covid-19. Funding will be available to turn the winning ideas into reality.

The initiative is funded by the AUD 11 million, four-year (2018-2022) flagship Aus4Innovation program that helps strengthen the Vietnamese innovation system and prepare for Vietnam’s economic and digital future.

It is co-funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and InnovationXchange (IXC), managed by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in strategic collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam (MoST).

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(Source: Australian Embassy in Vietnam)