Digital Scholarship and Research Skills, and Innovative Leadership and Management

Preparing librarians and academics for their new roles in the information and technology driven age is one of the essential work that needs to be taken into account for any academic and research universities. Therefore, Vietnamese-German University (VGU) Library is also in the phase of changing their roles to adapt with the new development as well as the new era. To tailor the new requirements and missions, VGU has invited our former consultant for VGU library development, Ms. Janine Schmidt and Angela Vilkins to organize the training program “New Library Development Training” to support not only VGU librarians but also other university librarians and academics in developing innovative services, acquiring new research skills in digital scholarship and enhancing learners’ capacities to employ new technologies and standards for university and libraries in the ongoing changing future.

Due to the above objectives, Vietnamese-German University has organized an extensive training program by World Bank fund, from May to November 2020. The training is reflected to adapt with the requirements of Covid time and changing mode of delivery. We had both effective online training via Google Classroom and 2 days onsite for participants in VGU Binh Duong campus. Our trainers couldn’t come to Vietnam due to travel restriction, thus conducting all training sessions via Zoom meeting, from Australia. Despite of distant training, we received most positive feedback from participants. They found that it is a rewarding opportunity for their professional knowledge update, acquiring new skills in the digital world and establishing new connections with colleagues.


learn.connect & collaborate. ‘Meet my Lab’: “Improving the Resilience of Infrastructure in Storms”

EURAXESS ASEAN presents ‘Meet my Lab’ – a virtual meeting point for researchers in ASEAN and across the world to learn from, to connect & to collaborate with each other.

This session will focus on “Improving the Resilience of Infrastructure in Storms” with speakers from the Vietnamese-German University (Thu Dau Mot City, Vietnam), Ton Duc Thang University (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), and the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom).
This ‘Meet my Lab’ session will take place on 16 October 2020 from 3.00pm to 4.30pm Vietnam time (GMT+7).

RegistrationWhat is this?

‘Meet my Lab’ is a virtual meeting point profiling research teams working in the same field. The research teams will share their research work and present opportunities for collaboration. The focus is on interactivity – audience members can ask questions and engage with the presenter(s) and with each other.

Who can participate?

‘Meet my Lab’ is open to researchers in all career stages and of all nationalities. Researchers who are active directly in the research field featured in this session are invited to join this session, as well as researchers working in related fields, e.g. climate-related disaster preven­tion, applications of computer simulation in climate research, etc. To ensure optimal interac­tion, the session will be limited to 80 participants. Participation is free of charge and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

The Topic

Many typhoons occur each year in the South China Sea causing widespread damage to structures, infra­structure, transport networks and even loss of lives in countries in this area, e.g. Vietnam. Indeed, wind is one of the natural hazards leading to the largest losses for civil structures in Vietnam. Predicting typhoons, design of structures against windstorm and wind resilience, along with the Vietnamese Wind Code, are not fully established in this rapidly developing country and urgently need to be improved.

In this talk we will introduce IRIS, a three-year project to improve the resilience of slender structures to windstorms in Vietnam. The project also aims to improve wind engineering research in the country through a long-term collaboration between an established group in Computational Wind Engineering (CWE) at the University of Nottingham and a leading Vietnamese research group in environmental wind simulation at the Vietnamese-German University.

This project uses the latest developments in computer simulation and modelling to address challenges in typhoon simulation, aero-elastic instability and risk-based design against typhoon winds. This will provide a much deeper understanding of complex and challenging problems that are both scientifically attractive and of real importance. The project has also been contributing to the development of research in this field in Vietnamese Universities, training of Vietnamese Engineers and establishing new connections between engineers, meteorologists, government authorities and researchers.

Specific research questions will include the following:

  •     Typhoon tracks simulations in the North West Pacific Ocean
  •     A typhoon-based design wind speed map for Vietnam
  •     Models of aeroelastic behaviour for slender structures
  •     A risk-based resilience model of poles in typhoons in Vietnam


  •     Dr John S Owen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  •     Dr Cung Nguyen, Research Fellow, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  •     Dr.-Ing. Jörg FRANKE, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering, Vietnamese-German University, Thu Dau Mot City, Vietnam
  •     Dr Quoc-Bao Bui, Associate Professor, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Jumpstart new research year with 2 events from VGU

As a research university, VGU always wants to support our students, researcher, staff, and lecturer in their projects. As the fall semester of the academic year 2020-2021 has started, and the new research opportunities are coming, we would like to kick start and motivate the interest among the community with two special events.

Event 1: Introduction and experience sharing: The Research Funding Sources

The first event aim toward the lecturer and researcher of VGU, whose concern the most in their project about the funding and budget. The RF in VGU are many and vary; still, not everyone knows about it. This training course to efficiently and effectively support the VGU faculties: information channels, donors, project management, proposal writing, documentation, best practices, how to manage and allocate the research budget appropriately. These skills are needed for everyone, and we would like to invite you to the event with the following details:

Date: 7 October 2020
Time:  9:00 – 16:00
Venue: B008, VGU Binh Duong Campus

Time Activities/Content Presenter/Moderator
9:00-9:30 Check-in/Registration
9:30-9:40 Welcome remarks Prof. Dr. Tomas Benz
9:40-9:45 Opening speech RMD
9:45-10:30 European funding programs and experience sharing successful funding applications Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Minh Tan [Hanoi University of Science and Technology]
10:30-10:45 Q& A session RMD
10:45-11:00 Tea break
11:00-11:30 Vietnamsese Fundings/Nafosted Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quoc Hung [VGU]
11:30-11:45 Q& A session RMD
11:45-12:00 Group photos & Contact networking RMD
12:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-14:45 Asian funding programs and experience sharing Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sameh Kantoush [Kyoto University]
14:45-15:00 Q & A session RMD
15:00-15:15 Tea break
15:15-16:00 Round table: Hints and Tips for Writing Successfully a Research Grant proposal All experts & participants
16:00 Wrap Up & Close RMD

Event 2: VGU Student Research Congress


How to encourage students to do research more? How to pass the torch between different research generations, between the lecturer and students? Can freshman involve in the process of research? The main objectives of this event are to motivate the students’ research interest, especially the freshman, to introduce and disseminate the VGU student research funding and status as well as to build connections among students, research department, and lecturer/researchers.

So, all concerned students of VGU, let join our event to explore your research capacity. Details from it can be found as follow:

Date: 16 October 2020 (Friday)
Time:  9:00 – 12:00 am
Venue: B008, VGU Binh Duong Campus

Time Activities/Content Presenter/Moderator
9:00-9:30 Check-in/Registration
9:30-9:35 Welcome remarks Prof. Dr. Tomas Benz
9:35-9:40 Quick introduction of RMD’s function Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Song
9:40-9:55 The first presentation (Robot arm) Pham Van Thanh Giau
9:55-10:10 The second presentation (Honda EMC) Doan Quang Minh
10:10-10:25 Third presentation (Satellite ground station) Nguyen Van Hoa Vu
10:25-10:40 Q & A
10:40-10:50 Tea break and postering session
10:50-11:00 Award students with outstanding achievements in student contests in 2019-2020 Dr. Ha Thuc Vien
11:00-11:20 Introduction of student research regulations and current status Dr. La Vinh Trung
11:15-11:45 Roundtable Discussion Guide – Student Research at VGU: Frequent Q&A Dr. Trung, Dr. Thanh GPEM, Mr. Thinh, Mr. Nhu, Tri & 01 student
11:45:12:00 Wrap up and Closing

Throughout the years, VGU has proved to be a model research university in the country and the region. Research activities are focused and accounted for at least 50% of the required workload of each lecturer. The University facilitates the academic staff to be able to complete the task in the most favorable way.

From 2013 to 2019, VGU hosted 71 research projects on engineering and economics fields at all levels, including 15 international funding projects, 12 NAFOSTED projects, 17 ministerial-level research projects, 9 provincial research projects, 15 industrial partner collaborative research projects and 03 VGU-level projects. For the last 3 years, our publications on prestigious journals (ISI/Scopus) are at the average of 01 paper/lecturer/year – remarkably increase in 2019 (1.22 papers/lecturer/year).



As a leading research university, VGU care about creating a fair environment for female colleague, encourage not only more female engineer to join the workplace, but also more girl and woman to attend our engineering study programs.

1. A conversation with renown women in a research university

The host is Katharina Beckmann – the Head of Academic and Students Affairs Department here at the Vietnamese-German University. She expresses her glad to be here to talk about a topic that is very dear to her heart: Being a female engineer at the research university of VGU.

Being a female engineer herself, having studied architecture, a lot of the challenges and conflicts discuss today she has faced during her studies or in professional life. Joining with Ms. Katharina are two other female professors:
Dr. Vi Nguyen Hong is the Academic Coordinator of the Master Program Global Production Engineering Management (GPE) and also a lecturer in Sustainable Product Development. Dr. Vi got a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering (2017), Old Dominion University, USA. She has several years of working in the industry, and her research university interests include the fields of sustainable development, environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, advanced manufacturing technology, and production planning.

Dr. Hien Nguyen Minh is a Senior Lecturer in the Bachelor Program Electrical & Computer Engineering and has been until recently the Vice Dean of Studies for the Faculty of Engineering. Dr. Hien got a Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and has been a Postdoc at Stanford Research University, USA. She is teaching Signal Processing at VGU since 2015. And her Fields of Expertise are Digital signal processing, Digital image processing, Magnetic resonance imaging.

2. Brief introduction about women in a research university

Although Vietnam ranks high globally in terms of its female labor participation rate – around 79 percent of women aged between 15 and 64 are either engaged in paid work or are looking for jobs in Vietnam compared to 85 percent of men – Vietnamese women still face a lot of challenges being in the workforce. One of them is a significant gender pay gap. The income of women in managerial positions was about 12 percent lower than their male counterparts in 2016.
Besides, Vietnamese women still face prejudices, including societal and cultural notions of women being homemakers. And while the female participation rate in Vietnam is impressive, there is visible gender disparity regarding overall labor force participation within different industries.

In technical fields, it’s challenging for women to gain professorships even at research universities that employ women faculties. So, in fact, despite some improvements, Vietnamese women still have several hurdles to overcome to get equal access to job opportunities and career advancements. And unfortunately, VGU is no exception: as a research university, the majority of our lecturers are still male, and currently, only around 10% of the students in our engineering programs are female.

3. An honest conversation of being a female engineering

In the beginning, the talk show focus on the discussion of whether a man is better suited to become engineers. There are many examples of how it can be an advantage to be a female. A lot of changes in the past years but still No more different. Of course, there are challenges. But as a female, we also have advantages. She also gives some examples of the rate of female studying/working in the engineering field, in research university, and the case of VGU students.


The reality of women working in engineering field or in research university is still very alerting

Next, both guests share the reasons why they chose your field of work and the path that lead them to become a VGU lecturer. Along with that are the challenges that they had to overcome during the studies and professional life being a female engineer in a research university?

Most importantly, the guest continues to propose tips for a future female engineering student at VGU on how to overcome those challenges and what characteristics they think should female students in engineering programs have. They also list out some of the main reason why research university and the industry is the right choice for female engineering students now, including Employers want female engineers, You’ll make a difference in the world, Engineers are paid well, You get to be creative, You’ll have plenty of career options…

How do you define “what is engineering” in the past and now? Did you experience any changes in your field of work, particularly the research university environment? This exciting topic from an audience’s question creates another fun exchange in the talk show. Engineers use both scientific knowledge and mathematics, on the one hand, to develop technologies and infrastructure to address human, social and economic issues and challenges on the other.

Engineers connect social needs with innovation and commercial applications. So to sum up on this topic of female engineering at research university:

Although huge steps have been made in the past, we still have a long way to go until we truly reach gender equality In Vietnam as well as all around the world, especially in the engineering field.

But we have encouraging role models amidst us like Dr. Vi and Dr. Hien that show us that it is possible to be successful in a male-dominated field and make a difference. At a research university like VGU, things are changing, and you can be positive about a better outcome.

Apply to VGU to one of our 14 Bachelor and Master Programs. And say yes to your bright future as a female engineer or in whatever field you chose to study at VGU.

Rewatch the whole talk show now for more details at


Global production Livestream – Shaping the future of Manufacturing Industry in Vietnam

The reality of the global production industry is that everything runs wild! While the new normal is still in the shaping phase, every country tiptoe around the problem tries to figure out what best to do. With some advantage in this global pandemic, how should Vietnam react? What are the obstacles and challenges? What should Vietnam implement to be a leading manufacturing country? All of this will be discussed in the exclusive global production Livestream from VGU: “Shaping the Future of Manufacturing Industry in Vietnam.”

1. Economic research on the current situation

Like the global production in other countries hit by COVID-19, Vietnam’s economy has also suffered significant losses throughout the outbreak. In the first three months of the year, almost 35,000 businesses went bankrupt.

The novel coronavirus pandemic and trade tensions have driven the shift of production lines from China to Southeast Asia. Especially, multinational companies such as Samsung, LG, and many Japanese manufacturers have been moving factories from China to Vietnam, or have established new global production facilities in Vietnam rather than in China.

Thanks to such an opportunity, it is a chance for Vietnam to take a step toward the global production manufacturing industry. It is making significant progress in affirming its position as a production base. However, Vietnam is still facing many barriers and challenges to reach the goal.

2. Talking about the future of global production industry

To shine a light on this pressing matter, Vietnamese-German University (VGU) is proud to bring in some of the experts in the economic research field:

1. Dr. Sebastian Schumacher – Global production engineering and Management (GPE) Program Manager cum GPE Academic Coordinator at TU Berlin
2. Dr. Nguyen Hong Vi – Academic Coordinator of Global production engineering and Management Program of VGU
3. Dr. Thomas Guidat – Director of Industrial Relations and Technology Transfer Center of VGU
4. Mr. Brian O’Reilly – Academic Coordinator of Master Business Administration Program of VGU
3. Summary of the Livestream

Question 1: Strategic focus on the macro-economic global production situation

Economic research has shown that, in the last decade, Vietnam consistently registered robust growth and considered as a destination of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI). What will be the challenges for the county to keep sustainable growth in the years to come?

Dr. Sebastian Schumacher:

– The international environment brings positive outlook for Vietnam as many factors are calling for a shift of global production out of China (US-China trade war, lack of trust due to the responsibility in COVID crisis)
– International standards will be the norm, as agreed upon in the treaties
– VN industry must increase its standards to cope with the new environment: improve quality, workers safety connection to the global supply chain through industry 4.0
– The shift from low value-added activities such as assembly to a more reliable integration in the global production value chain (Vinfast, Thaco, Viettel as examples)
– German companies very present in Vietnam and reinforcing the investment in the country with a clear focus on manufacturing activities


The future for global production is promising but also contain many challenges

Question 2: Current situation in Vietnam and the gaps for higher education

Global production plays a vital role in national economic development. However, the quality of Vietnamese labor resources in manufacturing is still a significant concern. World Bank has ranked Vietnam in 11th place out of 12 Asian countries based on economic research on the quality of human resources. We still lack the vital skills needed to succeed in the global production ecosystem. How are these factors relevant to this industry? Are there any suggestions from the education system for policymakers to improve the quality of human resources?

Dr. Nguyen Hong Vi and Dr. Thomas Guidat:

– Oversupply of graduates, but companies still cannot hire. One of the reasons is the disconnection from universities to the industry environment.
– VN is still finding the critical skills needed to succeed in the global production ecosystem. Need of the people with the right attitude in companies. Therefore, the most important is to show you have an overview of the local and global challenges to get hired as a manager.
– Threat: build HR capacities to go from factor-based advantages to the knowledge-based, value-added focused economy to follow the macro-economic shift.
– VGU has set the IRTTC in 2015 and enjoy a very close relationship with industry. Also, VGU’s graduates perform very well in the industry (95% of students find a suitable job 3 months after graduation).
– The global production engineering and management curriculum at VGU has been developed in considering the requirements in Vietnam and Germany. A first call to industry: scholarships from adidas, framas, pepperl and fuchs, zwilling…

Question 3: Technical / Hard skills development and ways to teach them

Why a technical master’s degree in Global production Management is essential to company and learner itself? How can a standard German curriculum promote competencies for students in the future of the manufacturing industry and economic research?

Mr. Brian O’Reilly:

– The Bachelor learns how to apply single methods. The master can justify what is the change/innovation needed in an ecosystem and develop a strategy to use it. The reason is that the Master student has a broad understanding of the various technical area of global production and knows how to implement.
– German engineering: innovative subjects in VN such as Simulation of Production Systems, along with opportunities to do projects with companies after each course.
– Furthermore, with courses in English only, international program, best lecturers, practical and project-oriented learning, closing the knowing-doing gap, excellent relations with industry; Global production engineering and management is a great choice for people who want to shape the future of the industry.

Watch the full livestream for more interesting conversation here


An Environmental science Livestream – Water technology, reuse, and management: From theory to practice

With the help of experts in the environmental science field, VGU brings you a particular discussion about “WATER TECH, REUSE & MANAGEMENT: From Theory to Practice.” This is a chance for us to look back on the reality of water demand and water treatment, as well as expectations about what comes next.

1. A full picture on water treatment tech, reuse, and management

Water has always been a hot spot in the Environment Science field, especially consider its warning stage in recent years. In the last few decades, the growth in water demand has doubled the global population and will reach 4,350 billion cubic meters by 2040. Water demand growth is also likely to vary based on region and sector. However, water treatment systems are slow to accommodate changes in supply or demand.

Luckily, there is an encouraging number of innovative technologies, systems, processes, and management approaches emerging for water treatment, including new water treatment systems, business models, and approaches to effectively managing water resources.

2. A straightforward conversation

Our livestream honor to have the presence of two environmental science expert:

  • Dr. Tran Le Luu – Academic coordinator of Water Technology, Reuse, and Management Program of Vietnamese-German University
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing Martin Wagner – Director of Institute of Water Resources Technische Universität Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt, Germany) cum Professor, Program Director of Water Technology, Reuse and Management Program VGU

Two guests offer their unique view on the matter, as the importance of water technology in relation to environmental science, ecology, economic, regional, and global impact. Or how can environmental science can and will deliver a solution in water treatment?

At the same time, the guests also emphasize the role of education in upgrading the playing field of Water technology. A program like Master’s Degree off Water Technology, Reuse, and Management is renowned in the environmental science field, field, with the quality certified by German accreditation agencies. Main points of argument include:
How will the WTE program contribute to the sustainable urban drainage, water treatment, and management in general and in Vietnam?

The relation between WTE, taking into account their technical, social, economic, and ecological, regional, and global impacts?


The guests give some in-depth opinion on the wastewater treatment issue

3. A program on Water Technology, Reuse, and Management

As we know, WTE in Germany has a long tradition of water research and water study around the world. Students study some subjects like spatial planning, river basin management, water treatment processes, the economics of infrastructure, and fundamentals of waste technology… then specialization in the areas of Water and Wastewater and River Management. Prof. Dr.-Ing Martin Wagner and Dr. Tran Le Luu explain in detail about why the study programs are to focus on the areas of Water and Wastewater treatment and River Management. Furthermore, is the role of water treatment and management concerning Vietnam and then Asia or the world?

Through the presentation of two program directors, we also learn that, besides teaching, these Water Tech, Reuse, and Management programs focus hugely on the research department. Each year, there are many opportunities to research in the field of academic, public sector, and industries. Dr. Tran Le Luu introduces some of the recent projects on water treatment systems or environmental science, and point out their success, along with the perk of internship and research in Germany for the researcher. There are several scholarship opportunities available at VGU, include Merit scholarship, DAAD Scholarship, WUS scholarship,…Anyone who interests in the subject matter can try to apply for it.

The guests also discuss a little about the importance of the Water Tech Lab and how it will be a benefit to the WTE students in the training and research, and how the laboratories in VGU are playing a massive part in several environmental science projects mentioned above.

In the end, the live stream is a success with a ton of useful information about water treatment and management, how it applies to everyday life, and its focus in the master program offered at VGU. It was VGU’s pleasure to have the assist of two special expert Prof. Dr.-Ing Martin Wagner and Dr. Tran Le Luu. All agree for more lives tream about environmental science matter like this in the future!

For more details about the discussion, you can watch the whole livestream here



With its goal to become a leading research university in the country and region, Vietnamese-German University always tries to provide the best condition and environment for the researcher and student to execute their projects. Follow on this mission, The President of VGU issued a regulation on the student research activities, which took effect from 22nd May 2020.

1. Objectives of the student research activities

A tier 1 research university needs to encourage its students to take part in professional research activities more, due to the following objectives:
1. To improve the training quality of human resources contributing to discover and foster young talents for the country, especially in the fields of engineering, economics, and other areas following the development of the substantial study programs at the university.
2. To meet student research requirements and aspirations, to promote dynamism, creativity, independent research capacity of students, and build up self-learning competence of students, gain the learning goal of the course.
3. To improve logical and critical thinking ability as well as scientific report reading, writing, and presentation skills.
4. To make efficient use of the potential well-equipped and advanced laboratories, apply scientific and technical achievements to solve practical problems in life-related to the field of training.
5. To help students acquire scientific knowledge and foundations, further develop learning, teaching, and research activities.
6. To contribute to the creation of new scientific-technological products for society.


The student research demand should be considered when developing a plan

2. How to deploy the student research plan at a research university

2.1 Development of student research plan

The Research Management Department (RMD) announces student research programs to the Faculties as well as calls VGU students for application and submission of research project proposals up to 4 times per year. Besides, students are encouraged to submit research proposals anytime during the year.

Based on the number of student research projects in the previous years, RMD shall work with the Finance and Accounting Department (FAD) for the cost estimation and allocation for student research activities and submit to the PB for approval. This will be considered in line with PB’s plan to improve VGU research university rankings.

The student research plan must conform to the Faculties and university’s research orientation, including:

a. Determine the research focus, finalize the list of proposals, assign projects, implement projects, and evaluate the research result according to this regulation and regulations of Vietnam.
b. Organize an annual student research conference and other forms of student research activities.
c. Organize and participate in the research events and contests for students.
d. Organize and support students to have research results published, apply scientific and technological advances into practice.

2.2 Determine and conduct the proposed projects

Students propose student research topics and discuss them with an appropriate supervisor.
For those who wish to conduct scientific research but have not found an appropriate supervisor can make a request to the Faculty asking for proper supervisors.

Once the supervisor agrees and finalizes the proposal, students will submit their research proposals form to the RMD (form provided).

RMD is responsible for selecting a list of research proposals, coordinating with the Faculties to propose the establishment of Evaluation Committees for evaluating the proposals, based on that the PB decides to give the student’s research assignments.

The student research project evaluation committee consists of 5 members: 1 Chairman/Chairwoman, 4 members. The Chairperson is either the Dean or Vice-Dean or a lecturer who has solid background and experiences on the registered research topics; the other 3 members are either VGU lecturers or from outside, whereas the last member is an administrative clerk.

2.3 Inspection of the student research project

a. All of the student research projects have to be completed and inspected by the expiry date of the contract. If the project is not completed in due time because of objective reasons, the PI should contact the supervisor and RMD for a project extension.

The extension is only accepted one (01) time and no more than 3 months. After completing the research content and being approved by the supervisor, the PI submits documents to RMD for project inspection; required documents consist of:
– Final report.
– Project outcomes and proofs.

b. RMD shall coordinate with the faculties to propose to the PB to issue a decision on setting up an evaluation committee for student research project inspection.

The evaluation committee includes 05 members: Chairman/Chairwoman, 02 Appraisers, 01 Committee-man/Committee-woman, and 01 Clerk (form provided by RMD).

c. Based on the final report and research outcomes, the evaluation committee decides on assessing and grading the project.

d. Evaluation members assess independently by giving grades to each content in the evaluation form. The final assessment is the average grade of all members. The project is graded at 05 levels as follows:

– Excellent: ≥ 90;
– Very good: from 80 to under 90;
– Good: from 70 to under 80;
– Average: from 60 to under 70;
– Failed: under 60.

e. The result of the assessment is stated explicitly in the evaluation meeting minutes.

f. Based on the evaluation result, the committee proposes the project to participate in the scientific research award of VGU students and/or other international/ national scientific research awards for students. Or decide on handling unsatisfactory research projects.


VGU aims to become a leading research university in the country and region

3. Other details on executing the student research plan

The excellent and valuable research will be considered for VGU’s annual student research award. Every year, RMD selects the list of notable student research topics to the PB for awarding.

VGU organizes the annual student research conference with the following contents:

1. Summarizing and evaluating student research activities;

2. Presenting the results of outstanding research projects;

3. The annual student research conference is held in the first semester every year.

RMD and the Industrial Relations and Technology Transfer Center (IR&TTC) encourage and offer supportive conditions for students to apply scientific and technological advances into practice from the results of their research.

VGU manages the collection, processing, archives, and dissemination of scientific and technological information of student activities which includes:

1. Manage and archive the results/products of student research projects in the library information system of the university.

2. Announce and publish the student research topics results as stipulated in the current regulations and on VGU’s home page and other public media.

With this new regulation, VGU hopes to encourage more students to participate in professional research activities, bring in innovative ideas, and create a solid base for a research university.


Workshop in Warsaw

On May 12-18, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland, the Ronald Coase Institute held a workshop on institutional analysis. The Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw; the Rector of the University of Warsaw; and the University of Warsaw Foundation were co-sponsors.

Workshop faculty included Robert Aliber (University of Chicago), Ido Baum (Haim Striks School of Law), Alexandra Benham (Ronald Coase Institute), Lee Benham (Ronald Coase Institute), Lukasz Hardt (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw), P.J. Hill (Wheaton College), Philip Keefer (Inter-American Development Bank), Katrina Kosec (International Food Policy Research Institute), John Nye (George Mason University), Dominic Parker (University of Wisconsin – Madison), Maroš Servátka (Macquarie Graduate School of Management), Mary Shirley (Ronald Coase Institute), Agnieska Slomka-Golebiowska (Warsaw School of Economics), and Chenggang Xu (Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business).

2019 Panel at SIOE Conference

June 28, 2019
Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden

Workshop alumni Alessandro Belmonte, Wentian Diao, Egor Lazarev, and Maiting Zhuang presented papers at a session on facets of autocracy at the 2019 SIOE conference. Mary Shirley was the organizer and chair, and Konstantin Sonin was the commentator.


The Political Economy of Collective Memories:
Evidence from Russian Politics
Alessandro Belmonte
IMT Lucca & University of Warwick
Michael Rochlitz, University of Bremen

How do political elites reactivate salient collective memories to entrench their power? We study this question using data from the Russian Federation under Putin. We document a substantial recollection campaign of the traumatic transition the Russian population experienced during the 1990s, starting with the year 2003. We combine this time discontinuity in the recollection of negative collective memories with regional-level information about traumatic experiences of the 1990s. Our results show that Russians vote more for the government, and less for the liberal political opposition, in regions that suffered more during the transition period, once memories from the period are recalled on state-controlled media. We then provide additional evidence on the mechanism and find, using a text analysis of 3,832 local newspapers, that recollection of the chaos of the 1990s in local newspapers is associated with higher electoral support for the government.

Do “Stationary Bandits” Promote Economic Growth?
Evidence from Warlords in Early Twentieth Century China
Wentian Diao
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Do warlords, as substitutes for the state or “stationary bandits” in the sense of Mancur Olson, promote economic growth? This paper provides evidence on the warlords’ significant positive effect on China’s economic growth in the early twentieth century. By treating the sudden death of Yuan Shikai (1859-1916), “the Father of Warlords”, as a quasi-natural experiment, I find that firms in counties occupied by warlords (i.e., with at least one garrison there) grew faster than counties without such warlords during the succeeding Warlord Era (1916-1927). To exclude potential reverse causality I use the distribution of the New Army garrisons, the national military forces in the previous empire, as an instrumental variable. The results of the instrumental variable estimation are consistent with the baseline results. The evidence supports the positive effect of warlords, both directly through investment and indirectly through the provision of public goods, reduction of the tax burden, and maintenance of social stability. These results are consistent with Mancur Olson’s argument that stationary bandit has an encompass interest to provide a peaceful order and other public goods in exchange for taxation. The heterogeneous effects of warlords are also examined. The empirical results suggest that the positive effect of warlords is weakened in those counties that (1) were more easily attacked by others, causing warlords to become short-sighted and less likely to promote growth, as Olson argued, and (2) had abundant mineral resources that could be easily exploited without the need to promote broader development, consistent with the resource curse argument.

Authoritarian Pluralism: Why Does the Chechen Government
Promote Customary Law and Sharia?
Egor Lazarev
University of Toronto

When and why do authoritarian governments in the post-colonial states promote non-state legal orders, such as customary law and Sharia, that seemingly undermine state monopoly on rule-making and enforcement? The conventional wisdom is that non-state legal orders persist in post-colonial settings due to weak state capacity, path dependency, or culture. In contrast, I argue that promotion of non-state legal orders is a rational political strategy pursued by political leaders who aim for 1) gaining additional legitimacy; 2) increasing discretion; 3) coalition-building, and 4) signaling autonomy vis-à-vis the metropole. If the benefits are so appealing, why then do some political leaders pursue this strategy, while others don’t? I assume that the major costs for a ruler are that non-state legal forums might be hijacked by the challengers to their rule and that the metropole might punish the peripheral leaders for undermining the established legal order. Therefore, I argue that the promotion of non-state legal orders depends on the relative strength of the authoritarian ruler vis-à-vis the potential local opposition and the metropole. I develop this argument with an in-depth analysis of Chechnya under Ramzan Kadyrov’s rule (2007-present). I put contemporary Chechnya in historical and comparative perspectives with the de facto independent Chechnya (1991-1999) and the neighboring region of Ingushetia. The analysis highlights the political logic of informal institution-building.

Economic Performance, Land Expropriation
and Bureaucrat Promotion in China
Paul Dutronc-Postel, Paris School of Economics/ENS
Maiting Zhuang
Paris School of Economics/EHESS

We assess the effectiveness of using career incentives to motivate bureaucrat performance. We collect data on the career history of all Chinese Communist Party (CCP) secretaries, who were in power in any of China’s 334 prefectures between 1996 and 2014. We identify the causal effect of career incentives on performance by exploiting variation in the competitiveness of promotions. We find that increased promotion incentives cause bureaucrats to adopt a strategy that relies on real estate investment and rural land expropriation, resulting in faster overall GDP growth; but also suggestive evidence that they lower investment in education and health. We corroborate our findings using survey and remote sensing data, and present evidence that expropriations are positively correlated with adverse individual outcomes, with arrests of local officials, and with the emergence of “ghost cities”.

What happens during the workshop?

Want to know more about what goes on during
the workshops, or wondering whether to apply?
Read this description by a recent workshop graduate.

The RCI workshop is a great place to field ideas and research questions, no matter at what stage your research is in. You learn how to ask the right questions and how to present your research effectively. Your ideas will be tried, in a civilized manner, before a diverse jury of accomplished economists in various fields. Most of the time, after consultation with faculty, you retain your topic, but the thrust evolves in such a manner that institutions are more deeply examined. However, it is not rare for people to be forced to think of an entirely new question in the aftermath of various group discussions. The important thing is that you undergo the process with honesty and an open mind.

One of the things that impressed me was that in this workshop, faculty and your co-participants listen intently and offer sincere suggestions for improvement of your work, rather than politely acknowledge the end of your discussion. Since most of you are from different fields, you will learn a lot just by listening to all the presenters, even if it takes some effort to truly understand their work. Everyone gets a turn at being the main presenter and the discussant. In fact, just conversing with your discussant and the one whose paper you’ll discuss, opens new doors in your mind. You just might find yourself going home with a new research interest.

While listening to the various presenters, you realize that all over the world, people are grappling with the same kinds of research problems that you face. This is both comforting and interesting. In line with making friends with your discussant and the one who will discuss your paper, the RCI is a great place for forming lasting friendships that transcend time zones. You’ll find that there are common interests that bind you with the rest of the participants. You pick up a new word or two in different languages. You may get lost with them in some adventure while exploring the city. These things, you will never forget.

Lastly, going through the workshop triggers an internal transformation. Being immersed in a foreign country with new ideas and new companions enriches your mind. It has spillover effects in life that are very difficult to quantify. You’ll find that it creeps up on you, hazily at first, invading your dreams. Then, it manifests in more concrete ways, changing the way you do simple things like reading the news, or what you think about upon hearing your colleagues talk about a new research proposal, or even the way you teach your students. Lastly, it causes you to critically evaluate your life choices, which is always a good thing.

by Stephanie L. Chan
2009 workshop, Xiamen, China