Science and technology have been one of the key weak spots in the Vietnamese economy and were targeted for significant growth during the second five-year plan (1976–80). Vietnam's leading learned societies are the Union of Scientific and Technical Associations (founded in 1983) and the General Association of Medicine (founded in 1955), both in Hanoi. The State Commission for Science and Technology supervises research at the universities and institutes attached to the Ministry of Higher Education; the Institute of Science organizes research at other institutions. All research institutes are attached to government ministries.
Courses in basic and applied sciences are offered at Cantho University (founded in 1966), the Hanoi University of Technology (founded in 1956), the University of Hanoi (refounded 1956), the University of Ho Chi Minh City (founded in 1977), Ho Chi Minh City Pedagogical University of Technology (founded in 1962), and various colleges. In 1996, the Hue College of Sciences (formerly the University of Hue) had 10 departments and a large library.
In 1985, total expenditures on research and development amounted to 498 million dong; 20,000 scientists and engineers were engaged in research and development.