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Sydney Vietnam Initiative

Improving lives through collaborative research and education

We aspire to improve the lives of people and communities in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia, by building partnerships in high quality collaborative research and education. 

The Sydney Vietnam Initiative is a collaboration of multi-disciplinary researchers who seek to expand the lives of communities and individuals in Vietnam via education and research.

The University of Sydney engages in Vietnam in a wide range of areas such as teaching, research, recruitment, and student mobility. The Sydney Vietnam Initiative provides a focus for a “Vietnam Strategy” by acting as a common structure for further efficiency and aiding in leveraging activities to scale up engagement.

Our vision is to be a leading multi-disciplinary regional network of researchers and educators, working together to develop the evidence required to improve the lives of individuals, societies, and the environments within which they live.



Sydney Vietnam Initiative 4th Annual Symposium

18 November 2021, from 2-4.45pm (AEDT)

This online event will showcase the latest findings of the University academic collaborations with Vietnam. Members of the wider University community and our partners in Vietnam will share their learnings, build new networks and share strategies for successful academic collaborations. This is the fourth annual research symposium for the Sydney Vietnam Initiative in Australia.

What's new

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and the Sydney Vietnam Initiative are pleased to announce online Vietnamese language learning classes in 2021.

The goal of these classes is to increase the linguistic and cultural competence of our University community engaging in Vietnam. Regular Zoom classes are led by trained teachers of Vietnamese as a foreign language at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. The costs of lessons will be subsidised for selected University staff and HDR students, who can demonstrate how learning Vietnamese will contribute to their ongoing engagement in Vietnam. Classes will comprise at least two sessions per week, for up to 30 hours in total.

Complete your Expression of Interest here to apply to participate before 1st June 2021.

The RARE program is a community-engaged learning program that solves real-world business challenges through connecting of students to remote, rural and Indigenous enterprises in Australia and Southeast Asia. The RARE program received funding for support in 2021-2022 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as one of seventeen programs funded under the New Colombo Plan (NCP). In light of international travel restrictions, NCP will provide virtual delivery of training. The 2022 Round of NCP Mobility funding is expected to open in April.

For updates, follow the Global Mobility Yammer page.

Fungal infections are amongst the leading infectious disease killers globally. They result in more deaths than malaria, and almost as many as tuberculosis. However, they are often overlooked, and receive less research attention and funding than viral or bacterial infections. Over the past decade, this has started to change as the emergence of resistance in fungal pathogens has caused global alarm. New, resistant organisms have emerged, and old familiar ones have become harder to treat - agricultural antifungal use is thought to be driving these trends.

Watch Dr Justin Beardsley explore the problem of resistant fungal infections in Vietnam, how agricultural practices are contributing, and what can be done to manage the risks.

Sydney Vietnam Academic Leaders

Tiho Ancev is the 2020 SSEAC Vietnam Country representative. Tiho Ancev holds degrees from Saints Cyril and Methodius University (Bachelor), University of Iceland (Master) and Oklahoma State University (PhD). His main research areas are environmental, natural resource and agricultural economics. Tiho’s contributions have been in water economics and policy, and economics of air pollution and climate change policies. He has published widely on these topics (Journal of Regulatory Economics, Ecological Economics, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Water Resources Management). Tiho has also led and contributed to several national and international projects in these research areas.

More info here.

Dr Beardsley is an Infectious Disease clinician and researcher who spent five years at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City. Now based in Sydney, his current research is focused on the burden of disease and drug-resistance related to Aspergillus in Vietnam and Australia. He is a co-author in the Lancet Global Burden of Diseases series in his capacity as GBD specialist on Vietnam. Dr Beardsley has experience in clinical trials as well as lab paper based experimental science and has a keen interest in collaborative cross-disciplinary research.

More info here.

Dr Bernays is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and an Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is a medical anthropologist and focuses on the social implications of infectious disease, in particular understanding how to design interventions to support enhanced community engagement in prevention and care. She leads an established international programme of qualitative research focused on adolescent HIV and mental health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, she has also been focused on integrating social science into research focused on anti-microbial resistance (AMR), TB and COVID-19 in Vietnam. She is co-leader of the AMR Social Science node at the Marie Bashir Institute, as well as lead for the Infections and Immunisation theme in the Sydney Global Child Health Network. She plays a key role in delivering the Master's of Global Health programme and is committed to the long-term capacity development of social scientists through her research and teaching.

More info here.

Professor Brennan is an Associate Dean of International Research Development, global leader of the Optimisation and Perception Group, Co-Director of the international BREAST platform and holds the Chair of Diagnostic Imaging. His research involves studying innovative techniques and technologies that minimise the risk to patients while detecting clinical indicators of diseases and dysfunctions. Over the last decade he has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers in the highest ranked radiological journals and textbooks. He has generated over $13m in grant support and has over 200 publications. Professor Brennan has acted as a undergraduate, graduate and PhD examiner in 9 universities across the world and won 2 medals of excellence for teaching.

More info here.

Professor Fox is a respiratory physician, epidemiologist and clinical trialist and is a co-founder the Sydney Vietnam Initiative. Over the past decade he has focused on detection and prevention of Tuberculosis among disadvantaged populations. He lived in Vietnam for four years, during which time he established a major randomised controlled trials of household screening for tuberculosis. He currently leads a number of NHMRC-supported trials relating to tuberculosis and lung disease in Vietnam. In partnership the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, he co-leads a group of sixty research staff working across 11 Provinces of Vietnam.

More info here.

Dr Gavan is a Senior Lecturer at the Sydney College of the Arts in the School of Media Arts and Language in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dr Gavan focuses on recognising emerging dimensions of diverse creative practices and assesses how these perspectives lead to opportunities for creative practitioners in society. In 2018 she initiated a UNESCO collaboration project in Vietnam called Manufacturing Creativity. The project focused on identifying the issues and responses of creative exemplars in the manufacturing industry. Her new project Visualising Value, aims to assess the communication between manufactures and creative practitioners in innovative ecosystems in order to connect potential collaborators. Dr Gavan collaborates with Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture, Ho Chi Minh City of Fine Arts and the University of Culture and Heritage, HCM.

More info here.

Professor Guest David teaches undergraduate courses at all levels and has supervised over 40 PhD and Research Masters students. His current research focuses on the constraints faced by smallholder farmers in tropical horticulture that limit adoption of improved crop management and improved livelihoods. He has extensive partnerships with research institutes and farming communities around the Asia-Pacific region and serves on the Executives of the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, Scientists Australia for Gender Equity. He is Past-President and Fellow of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and Past President of the Asian Association of Societies of Plant Pathology. He is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and was awarded a Career Medal for Agriculture and Rural Development by the Government of Vietnam. He has published over 100 research articles, three monographs, 19 book chapters and supervised over 40 postgraduate HDR students and been awarded over $17 million in research funding.

More info here.

Professor Hirsch specialises in rural change, natural resource management and the politics of environment in Southeast Asia. Between 1997 and 2017 he led the Mekong Research group that worked on collaborative and engaged research on a range of development themes, livelihood and resources governance in the Mekong Region. Since the early 1980s he has had strong affiliations with Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. Professor Hirsch has been involved in many collaborative research collaborative projects in Southeast Asia since the early 1990s.

More info here.

Professor Marais is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases consultant with a special interest in tuberculosis (TB) and global child health. He is currently involved in a major NHMRC-funded project in Vietnam evaluating the provision of preventive therapy to household contacts of infectious prevention of multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB (VQuin trial led by A/Professor Greg Fox) and a recent DFAT funded study that aims to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics in Vietnam. These projects link to the Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis ( and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity ( He has supervised two Vietnamese PhD students, one working on TB/ HIV co-infection and the other on childhood pneumonia. 

More info here.

At the Faculty of Engineering, Ms Margon manages the international and industry partnerships. She works with the engineering academic team to highlight their expertise areas and target potential industry partners. She assists in building long-term partnerships with key international companies to be on their innovation journey. The aim is for the partnerships to tap into both education and research and include multidisciplinary teams not only across the engineering schools but widely across the University.

"Industry innovation challenges can no longer be answered by one group of academics but are complex and involves teams from different research areas working together to provide novel solutions", says Sandra.

In Vietnam, her team are interested in the dynamic IT sector, which is having huge uptake from graduates and investment from government and the international industry. The Vietnamese higher education sector has a strong education standing in STEM and the engineering academics are pleased with the commitment of PhD students they have received to date. There are academics in her engineering team from Vietnam who are actively involved in developing their research connections with students and industry and would like to further deepen these connections.

Professor Negin is is currently working on projects focused on tuberculosis, tobacco control, antimicrobial resistance and health systems in Vietnam. He is an investigator in three current Category 1 funded grants in Vietnam: 

1) An integrated health-sector to combat COPD and asthma in Vietnam: A pragmatic stepped intervention cluster randomized trial

2) Combatting the emergency and spread of antimicrobial resistant infectious diseases in Vietnam: the V-RESIST study

3) Harnessing new mHealth technologies to Strengthen the Management of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Vietnam: The V-SMART Trial

More info here.

Dr Linh is the Co-Founder and former Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Development Network Asia (ENDA) Vietnam (EDNA Vietnam), a local social enterprise aiming to improve the lives of people and communities in Vietnam. Prior to her work at EDNA and Usyd, Dr Linh worked at Vietnam National University, Hanoi – University of Economics and Business as a lecturer and Vice Director of Research and Partnership Development department. Dr Linh’s research interests cover social entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship, social impact assessment, entrepreneurship and well-being.

More info here.

Dr Thu Anh Nguyen is an infectious diseases and public health researcher. Her research focuses on detection and treatment of tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, applying multi-disciplinary approach to elaborate research plan and conduct trials of complex interventions. Since 2013, Dr Nguyen has been an honorary lecturer at the University of Sydney’s Medical School and the Country Director of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Vietnam where she leads a team of over 60 staff across academic disciplines such as medicine, molecular biology, social science, psychology, data science, public health, pharmacology. She has been the chief investigator and associate investigator for multiple projects totalling over $10 million in competitive research category I funding.

More info here.