A new Maker Innovation Space at The University of Danang, developed in an ongoing partnership between Arizona State University and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), previewed opportunities for hands-on STEM learning during a visit from newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.

The reception, hosted on Nov.9 amid city-wide Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting activities, showcased the second makerspace completed through the Building University-Industry Learning and Development Through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) Alliance. The first BUILD-IT Maker Innovation Space opened in June in Ho Chi Minh City’s Hi-Tech Park.

“At Intel, we were built by innovators, our culture is based on innovation,” explained Gina Proctor, Director of Intel Vietnam, during the opening.

“Maker spaces get students excited about STEM and foster a generation of exploration, innovation and creativity that inspires and empowers students,” she explained. “Making enables students to embrace project-based learning and fosters critical thinking and collaboration. Eighty percent of the jobs around the world will require technological and critical thinking skills in the next decade.

“Spaces like this will help Vietnam prepare for the future.”

The BUILD-IT Alliance is a five-year project, launched in 2015, funded by USAID and implemented by ASU. It is designed to train a new generation of Vietnamese engineers to incorporate American, high technology products into the learning and innovation process. These products include software, hardware, 3D fabrication tools, test and instrumentation tools and circuit boards, among other industry-supplied tools.

To date, milestones that support Vietnam’s technological growth include:

More than 1000 Vietnamese engineering faculty members have participated in advanced coursework at ASU in Tempe, Ariz.

Nearly 6000 engineering and STEM educators have participated in ASU-conducted workshops in Vietnam.

Two Vietnamese engineering degree programs have received international accreditation through ABET, the international accreditation program for science and engineering degree, enabling graduates to compete in an international market.

Fifteen Vietnamese engineering degree programs are regionally accredited through the ASEAN University Network (AUN), enabling them to compete in Southeast Asian markets.