Vietnam is the most important partner country of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Southeast Asia.

Hoa-Binh-Dam in Vietnam

© Ludwig Kammesheidt / DLR

Funding opportunities

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Political framework

Bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Germany is founded upon an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation, which was signed during the state visit of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang on 25 November 2015 in Berlin.

Priorities of the cooperation

Current cooperation focuses on water and environmental technologies, resource efficiency, sustainable urbanisation, bioeconomy, health and biodiversity research.

Water and environmental technologies

Since 2006, a strategic partnership between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has been established in the area of water and environmental technologies. In October 2007, the Vietnamese-German 'Project Office for Water and Environmental Technology' was opened in Hanoi. In 2013 it was renamed and restructured into the 'Vietnamese-German Office for Water and Sustainability'. It is currently being continued as a German project office.

Against the backdrop of the development of both countries, global change and the United Nations 2030 Agenda, a comprehensive perspective on sustainable development is becoming increasingly important for the German-Vietnamese research cooperation. The common goal is to focus research projects on concrete action for sustainable future development. To this end, both sides therefore strive for even closer coordination on joint research priorities and early involvement of all key stakeholders. An inter-ministerial working group on sustainable development (FONA WG) will support the coordination of activities and projects.

In the BMBF call CLIENT II (International partnerships for sustainable innovations) projects in the fields of water management and resource efficiency are funded. Another project, developing strategies to mitigate flooding risk in urban-rural settings, started in mid-2019.


Vietnam is one of the prioritised partner countries in the BMBF call 'Bioeconomy International', which has provided funding since 2013. To date, three bilateral funding lines have been published together with the MOST. Currently, seven joint projects are funded.

As part of the 'KMU Innovativ' announcement, a German company and the TU Berlin are working with Vietnamese partners to develop an innovative technology for producing biogas from rice straw, taking into account climate protection and sustainable development in rural areas (2016-2019).

Sustainable urbanisation

Fast-growing cities in emerging and developing countries often lack sound data and methods for effective, growth-oriented infrastructure planning. The aim of the funding measure 'Rapid Planning' is to develop a transsectoral planning methodology in in the areas of energy, water, wastewater, waste and urban agriculture systematically for efficient interlinkages. Two collaborative projects, coordinated by the AT-Verband Stuttgart and the BTU Cottbus, are implemented, among other cities, in Da Nang (duration: 2014-2019).

In 2017, the call 'Sustainable Development of Urban Regions' was published, focussing on Southeast Asian countries and China. After an initial phase, three projects continued with partner institutions in Central-Vietnam in an 18-months definition phase to look at strategies to enhance climate resilience in urban areas (2019-2020).

Three other joint projects are funded in the field of sustainable urbanisation in the frame of a bilateral call between BMBF and MOST (2019-2022). The projects are dealing with innovative mobility concepts, health-oriented transport and urban planning, and the integration photovoltaic plants into urban energy-grids.

Centre for health research

In the APRA call 'Establishment of research presences in the Asian-Pacific region', the project 'Vietnamese-German Centre of Excellence in Clinical Trials' (VG-EXCEL) is funded (2017-2022). In 2016, based on the long lasting cooperation between the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tuebingen and the Vietnamese partners, the 'Vietnamese- German Centre for Medical Research' (VG-CARE) was established at the 108 Military Hospital in Hanoi. With financial and legal support of two ministries (Science&Technology, Defence), VG-EXCEL aims at building up state-of-the-art infrastructure and capacity in clinical trials within VG-CARE.

In the frame of the bilateral call between the International Departments of BMBF and MOST, another three projects in health research are jointly funded (2019-2022). The projects focus on infectious diseases and the development of innovative pain-killers.

Biodiversity research

Biodiversity research is a new area of collaboration. The project 'Innovative Methods to Biodiversity Exploration and Monitoring: Capacity Building with Partner Countries in Southeast Asia' (VIETBIO) will lay the foundation for a long-term cooperation in biodiversity research with Vietnam and beyond (2017-2020). VIETBIO is led by Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin together with the Botanical Garden in Dahlem. Partner institutions in Vietnam are the Vietnam National Museum of Nature (VNMN) and the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR) in Hanoi, and the Southern Institute of Ecology (SIE) and the Institute of Tropical Biology (ITB) in Ho Chi Minh City.

The projects sets up an integrated biodiversity exploration and monitoring system for Vietnam, by providing state-of-the-art technical equipment and capacity building for young staff of partner institutes. Thus, VIETBIO contributes to the build-up process of competence on biodiversity research in Vietnam to foster an innovative and sustainable use of the rich flora and fauna of the partner country.

Vietnamese-German University (VGU)

A comprehensive realignment of Vietnamese higher education policy is set to take place with the help of international support. The Vietnamese-German University (VGU) in Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's first state university with international stakeholders. The goal of the Vietnamese government is to establish a new model university which can be used as a template for the entire higher education system. The VGU (an initiative of Hessia) was officially launched on 10 September 2008.

With its 37 member universities and institutions (including the TU9 network), the consortium VGU founded on 17 February 2009 is the academic backbone of the VGU. Permanent guest members on the executive board are the DAAD, the BMBF and the Hessian Ministry of Science and Arts (HMWK).

The university's English-language courses are to be taught in an interim building on the campus of the Eastern International University in Binh Duong until the new campus building is ready. The VGU's own campus will be built in the next years located close to the current interim campus in the Binh Duong region. The building is being financed by the World Bank, which is providing funding in the region of 180 million US dollars.

There are currently 11 study programmes in cooperation with German partner universities (five MSc., One MBA, four BSc. And one BEng. Each with Foundation Year). The programmes focus on engineering and economics.

During the 2017/2018 winter semester, 1.347 students were enrolled at the VGU, most of them in BSc-programmes. Capacity is expected to be increased to 12,000 students in three stages by 2030.

The role of the International Bureau

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the International Bureau supports the goal of expanding the international network of German universities, research institutions and companies, in order to facilitate the acquisition of expertise and innovative advantages for German science and industry. Thus, the International Bureau contributes to the implementation of the international dimension in the specialist programmes of the BMBF.