As a member of ITTI, I am working on a project to build and strengthen intellectual property (IP) capacity in Vietnam. Vietnam has experienced rapid economic growth since the government introduced the Doi Moi policy in 1986. The GDP per capita has been steadily increasing. In 2006, Vietnam became the 150th member of WTO. Vietnam’s accession to WTO boosted its economy. As of 2008, Vietnam’s real GDP growth rate (6.2%) is the highest among the ASEAN members and the second highest in Asia after China. 

The major source of employment and income which supports Vietnamese economy is agriculture. As such, agricultural biotechnology is one of the pivotal technologies in Vietnam. Researches on genetic engineering to produce genetically modified (GM) crops are ongoing at universities and government research institutions. 
However, even major universities and research institutions still do not have strong IP policies. In the US or other developed countries, technology transfer offices (TTOs) play an important role to protect and commercialize IP. Those TTOs facilitate academia-industry collaboration and contribute to make academic research results available for the society. Utilizing IP resulted from academic researches is, I think, one of the important ways for developing countries to achieve further economic development. 
My goal is to learn the current IP management capacities and needs at research institutions/universities and to find what we can do for them to establish TTOs. Since agriculture is the major industry in Vietnam, I have focused on the IP capacity in the field of agri-biotechnology so far. I will continue researching about current legal frameworks, including patent and plant variety protections. I will also contact with people in Vietnam and hear about researchers’ awareness of IP rights protection.