Glasgow Caledonian University visits Vietnam

Last 17 – 26 April 2023, the Glasgow Caledonian University Research and Innovation Office (GCU RIO) team composed of Mark Majewsky-Anderson and Natalia Popielska visited university partners in Vietnam. The 9-day trip was the first in-person visit of GCU RIO since the project started in February 2022. It was meant to check on the partners’ progress with their Social Innovation Support Units (SISUs), meet other project stakeholders, and conduct in-person workshops for staff and students. 

The visit started in Ho Chi Minh city at the University of Social Science and Humanity (Vietnam National University), where among other activities, Mr. Majewsky-Anderson and Ms. Popielska conducted a Workshop on Curriculum Development as an introduction to Social Innovation to university faculty and representatives from various social enterprises. 

The team then flew to Da Nang, which was hosted Duy Tan University, where among the highlights was an online workshop on Intercultural Competence between Vietnamese students and European students. Land travel to Hue followed for a visit to Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry. Included in the SISU visit and meeting with university administration, the team also visited Bao La Village, famous for its traditional bamboo weaving. It serves as an example of the evolution of innovation on bamboo weaving methods into various products that are sold by the community across different generations.  

Mr. Majewsky-Anderson and Ms. Popielska then moved up north, to Thai Nguyen University. At Thai Nguyen, the trip included a visit to Thai Hai Village, home of the Tay ethnic minority group, and Viet Cuong Village, known producers of canna noodles in the country. Both villages are also prime examples of how traditional communities adapt to modern times, while still keeping traditional practices and cultures. 

The visit ended in Hanoi, to the National Economics University (NEU), and the University of Languages and International Studies (Vietnam National University). At NEU, Mr. Majewsky-Anderson and Ms. Popielska conducted a hybrid training of mentors for social innovation, while at ULIS they gave an in-person seminar on Social Innovation in Vietnam and UK. The team also visited the Kym Viet Joint Stock Company, a social enterprise for disabled artisans who make handicraft products. 

The GCU RIO team would like to thank all its partners from USSH, DTU, HUAF, TUAF, NEU, and ULIS for making this visit successful! 

Social Innovation Linkages for Knowledge Exchange Network – Viet Nam (SILKEN-VIETNAM) aims to establish ‘social innovation support units’ within six Vietnamese universities, partnering with similar units already operating within their UK counterpart institutions. It is funded the UK-Viet Nam Partnerships for Quality and Internationalisation grant from the British Council. 

Social Innovation Support Units (SISUs) are one of the core outputs of the SILKEN Vietnam project. They aim to widen the scope of regular knowledge transfer activities and offer special shared incubation space. These spaces will not simply work as social business incubators, but would also allow the development of tools and resources to build an ecosystem in which social innovations can grow and flourish.