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MDX strengthens links with Vietnam through academics' visit, workshops and British Council-Vietnam partnership

MDX communications and design engineering specialists deliver Newton Fund workshop and British Council-Vietnam Higher Education Partnership events

A delegation from Middlesex University London led by Deputy Dean of Science and Technology Dr Balbir Barn and Associate Professor of Communication Networks Dr Huan Nguyen has visited Vietnam to deliver a series of projects in collaboration with the British Council and Vietnamese institutions.

From 22nd-25th October in Hanoi, Middlesex jointly held a workshop with Vietnam's University of Transportation and Communications as part of the British Council-managed Researcher Links programme, backed by the UK's official development assistance vehicle the Newton Fund, in the application of 5G technology to forecast accidents and manage congestion across busy road networks.

The event was an expertise-sharing and networking opportunity for early career researchers in the UK, Vietnam and elsewhere in South-East Asia.

There were keynote lectures from experts such as King's College London Professor Amurugam Nallanathan, and a focus on building up links for future collaborations. In addition to the Middlesex and Vietnamese academic delegations, participants included researchers from the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Northumbria, Ulster, Surrey, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College; others from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia; and government and industry representatives from Vietnam.

“Everyday in big cities like Hanoi and Bangkok, we have to face problems of traffic congestion" said one of the conference speakers, Dr Attaphongse Taparugssanagorn, an Assistant Professor at Thailand's Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

"With our machine learning-based prediction model of traffic information like vehicle speed, gap between vehicles, vehicle type, traffic flow, and traffic density that we are building at the AIT, people can be aware of traffic information in advance and arrange their daily travel plans better and thus improve overall quality of life.”

There was considerable media interest about the workshop in Vietnam, with interviews on national TV and news stories in the English-language Vietnam Economic Times and Saigon Times Daily. A TV feature including interviews with Dr Nguyen and Professor Barn can be watched here.

Reviewing the event, workshop co-ordinator Dr Nguyen said: “The four days together in Hanoi really engaged the participants and got them ready to collaborate with an understanding of each other’s expertise. Fresh ideas from 25 excellent talks at the workshop, such as 5G solutions for smart public transport, freight tracking solutions, traffic jam management and artificial intelligent/machine learning for transportation were shared enthusiastically. We have now built a strong network of early career researchers from the UK and South East Asia to follow up with further activities.”

In the last week of October, Professor Barn, Dr Nguyen and Middlesex University Senior Lecturer in Design Engineering Dr Tuan Le were among the trainers at a four day workshop for the British Council-Vietnam Higher Education Partnership. Delivered in conjunction with Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang University of Architecture, Da Nang city, the workshop offered coaching on advanced methodology and writing skills to produce research papers for international conferences and journals.

On 30th October, Professor Barn and Dr Nguyen represented MDX at a Vietnam-UK collaborative forum on internationalising higher education, as a panel chair and a speaker respectively. More than a hundred higher education leaders, researchers and specialists in internationalising HE participated. A detailed programme can be found here.

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