The motivation behind EDUSHARE is to increase the capacity of Vietnamese universities so they can provide high quality training of medical doctors. Doing so would address one of the most important problems facing Vietnam today, its lack of qualified human resources in health care. Despite a rise in health professionals in the last decade, there are only 1.2 medical doctors per 1000 inhabitants, while the EU average is 3.3 (http://data.worldbank.org).

A major reason for this has been the limited capacity of Vietnamese universities to train high quality medical professionals to fill labour market gaps and best meet societal needs. The limited capacity is the result of two interconnected factors. First, the ongoing lack of skilled doctors means that there are not enough skilled teachers to train the next generation of doctors. It also means there is a lack of medical researchers with the skills needed to pursue relevant research, both within the country and as part of international collaborations. Furthermore, as both a cause and result of this lack of human capacity, medical PhD education in Vietnam is sorely lacking, unable to provide doctors with the technical, pedagogical and transferable skills needed.

The importance of this issue is recognized by the Vietnamese government, which has set goals for 2020 to dramatically improve the quality of medical education and increase the number skilled doctors. This includes establishing hospitals capable of conducting teaching, research and practice within health science universities. Other goals include at least 90% university lecturers and 70% college lecturers to have postgraduate degrees and 75% university lecturers and 20% college lecturers have PhD degrees. Furthermore, our work closely aligns with Vietnam’s desire to increase the capacity of institutions in the regions of Hue and Da Nang so that they are equal to that of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This is reflected throughout Vietnam’s development strategies. The plan also prioritized the upgrading of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy to become the key University in the Region. Likewise, the Development Strategies of Science and Technology 2011-2020, seeks to improve national R&D in the areas of gene technology, cell technology, micro-biotechnology, enzyme-protein technology, bio-informatic technology. The plan also calls for the development of the bio-industry to become a high-tech economic growth sector.

EDUSHARE builds on the foundations set by several other projects in which our European partners have trained Vietnamese teachers and researchers to better enable them to work with European counterparts and established cooperation agreements at the institutional level. As a result of this experience, our team has a good overview of the existing situation so that we could design a plan that offers something new. Most importantly, through this project we will work with Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy to develop and implement an innovative new PhD curriculum for molecular medicine and formalized continuing medical education for existing doctors. Both will introduce new forms of open and flexible learning, virtual mobility as well as entrepreneurial training on how to disseminate and exploit research results.