About the project

Implementing a social innovation driven model in Vietnamese universities

Social Innovation Linkages for Knowledge Exchange Network – Viet Nam (SILKEN-VIETNAM) has established ‘social innovation support units’ within six Vietnamese universities, in partnership with two UK institutions. The Units offer five areas of activity:


  • Curriculum development: developed Social Innovation (SI) postgraduate programmes and embedded undergraduate SI modules within the existing curriculum; created a virtual learning platform for remote training and international collaboration. These activities have a long-term goal of creating a social innovation mindset among students, teach them new skills and enhance their employability. The units can also offer training for academics in teaching SI and ‘place-based’ learning.
  • Research: the creation of an international peer review college, leading to the development of joint papers; a programme of seminars and training workshops focusing on specific thematic areas leading to a mini conference. The research programme particularly focused on the development of ‘pracademics’ as well as opportunities for international publications and how to publish workshops.
  • Knowledge Exchange: specialized Social Innovation Support Units (SISUs) established for training and consultancy with external stakeholders, advocacy with policymakers and community engagement, as well as impact evaluation; through these activities, the units strengthen the wider ecosystem and help drive policy toward greater social value creation. There is also be a focus on ensuring KE between HEI leaders in the UK and Vietnam, to ensure top-down buy-in at institutions for social innovation.
  • Internationalisation: using existing networks (SILKEN/GLOCAL) as well as a dedicate website, the units have identified funding opportunities (e.g. Erasmus+ CBHE, ODA funding, British Council Going Global Partnerships) as well as developed joint programmes and mobility exchanges. The resulting funded sustained collaborations will lead to greater intercultural competence and global citizenship among participants. We have also linked into our wider work across the world – HE in Hong Kong (which is developing a stronger impact focus) and other regional partners as well as further afield, such as Latin America.
  • Incubation: the units established currently support the development of new social enterprises and values-led companies through the establishment of co-working spaces, workshops in ideation and acceleration and international mentoring. This potentially leads to direct social impact through the creation and nurturing of new companies.

The project is a partnership between two UK universities (Glasgow Caledonian University and University of Northampton), and six Vietnamese universities (National Economics University, VNU University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, VNU University of Languages and International Studies, Duy Tan University, and Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry).