VIETBIO – Innovative approaches to biodiversity discovery and characterization

Biodiversity-hotspots are mostly found in developing and emerging countries within the tropical and subtropical zone. Our knowledge about the species richness of those countries is, due to scarce capacity and resources, sketchy to date. More comprehensive data and information in this field could contribute to the long-term preservation of live-supporting systems and will open up opportunities to develop value-chains in bioeconomy. This setting and potentials particularly hold for Vietnam which hosts the highest biodiversity in the Indochina region.

Biodiversitätsforschung in Vietnam © MfN / Schurian

Biodiversity research in Vietnam © MfN / Schurian


Species diversity and ecosystems are threatened by exploitation, land use changes, environmental pollution and climate change. This applies both to Southeast Asian and Europe. To counteract this trend, the Federal Government of Germany through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) released an 'Action and Research Plan on Biodiversity' which will primarily support projects on biodiversity conservation in Germany. However, the governmental initiative will also address global challenges in biodiversity conservation and the development of viable solutions.

Feldforschung for Ort © Mfn / Schurian

Joint field research on site © MfN / Schurian

Project and Objectives

The project 'Innovative approaches to biodiversity discovery and characterization' (VIETBIO, 2017-2020) is a flagship initiative for the implementation of the above mentioned Action Plan with international partners. In the VIETBIO project, which is led by the Museum of Natural History in Berlin in partnership with the Botanical Garden Dahlem, young scientists of the four leading institutes on biodiversity research in the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) are trained in state-of-the-art methods and technologies in the following fields:

  • integrated data management
  • digitalisation
  • DNA barcoding
  • bioacoustics

Technical equipment and devices were procured which will be let for Vietnamese partners for training and research once the project ends. In joint field campaigns zoological and botanical vouchers have been collected in three conservation areas in Vietnam to be used as hands-on material for the three training phases in Berlin.

Gruppenbild der Projektbeteiligten © MfN / Schurian

Project participants © MfN / Schurian


Project results serve as basis for a prospective collaboration in biodiversity research between Germany and Vietnam. A Roundtable Workshop in October 2019 in Hanoi has identified common interests both in basic research, for example, ecological functions of species in relation to ecosystem services and screening of bioactive material, and applied research, e.g. domestication and cultivation of new organisms and research on bioeconomic aspects. If the partner ministries (BMBF and Ministry of Science and Technology, MOST) were interested, the preparation of a 'white paper' with all interested parties could specify the fields of cooperation for future joint funding programmes.

Contact person in Vietanm
Vietnam National Museum of Nature
Deputy Director General
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Van Lien
Tel: +84 24 37568328

Museum für Naturkunde | Leibniz-Institut für
Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung
Dr. Christoph Häuser
Tel: +49 30 889140 8479