Dr Tran Nguyen Hai
Dr. Tran Nguyen Hai spoke to us about his love of research and his ambition to contribute more to environmental science in Vietnam, and related topics.
Question: On April 17, the website research.com identified you as one of the three scholars ranked the highest in the field of Environmental Sciences in Vietnam, could you tell us more?
Eleven thousand Vietnamese scientists were surveyed by research.com, but only three were ranked:
Dr. Tran Nguyen Hai at DTU
Professor Pham Hung Viet, from the University of Science at VNU in Hanoi
Associate Professor Tu Binh Minh, also from the University of Science of VNU in Hanoi
These rankings by individual fields were based on the D-index, which only includes articles. Environmental scientists were only ranked if they had a D-index higher than thirty and on condition that most of their publications are in that field. Biometric information was collected from the OpenAlex and CrossRef databases to evaluate papers until December 21, 2022. Other verification rules were applied to check the scientists’ records by hand and crossmatch them with publications from a variety of other reliable sources.
Question: Can you tell us about your work in achieving this result?
During many years of research, I always put quality first, the quantity of my Q1-rank articles in Environmental Science accounts for nearly 70% of my WoS rating and a citation index of 7,300, according to Google Scholar.
To develop new research projects and advanced science & technology solutions, I have always focused on international cooperation. My current research group includes leading professors and new PhDs from countries such as Australia, France, England, Taiwan, Turkey, Brazil, Algeria, and Vietnam.
Currently, I’m an editorial board member for twelve ISI-standard international journals. Some notable ones are Water Science & Technology of the International Water Association (IWA), Science of the Total Environment and Chemosphere of Elsevier, Environment, Development and Sustainability of Springer, and the Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology of Wiley. These are reputable journals with rigorous review processes.
Dr Tran Nguyen Hai
I’ve been honored to be ranked in the top 100,000 environmental scientists in the world for three consecutive years, at 13,713 in 2022, 14,704 in 2021, and 25,844 in 2020. This list is based on research by Professor Ioannidis and his team at Stanford University, based on Scopus data published annually in PLoS Biology.
Question: What research projects interest you most and have resulted in practical application?
My main research direction is the development of advanced materials for treatment of environmental pollution. Among the most notable projects that my colleagues and I continue to put into practice are:
Research on the synthesis of advanced materials (spherical carbon/dual-layer structure hydroxide) for treatment of polluted water, which is aimed mainly at developing advanced materials to simultaneously treat all pollutants in an aquatic environment
Successful treatment of arsenic to give rural communities a regular and hygienic water supply. This is led by Dr. Nguyen Tien Vinh and led to the experimental installation of three filters at preschools and three hundred households in the Ha Nam and Ha Tay communes, in addition to a water purification system at the Semi-Boarding School for Ethnic Minorities in the Bo Trach district of Quang Binh.
Question: You studied abroad for your PhD. Why did you choose to return to Vietnam to work, specifically in the IFAS research group on Environmental Materials & Energy at DTU?
I found DTU by researching dynamic and innovative universities where scientists are encouraged to develop their abilities. I discovered that DTU invests heavily in research and remunerates scientists well when they publish high quality research. In particular, the university has invested in a series of modern and specialized laboratories and always encourages their staff to connect and interact with the international community. This leads to the formation of advanced research teams working on socially significant projects, which has created an extremely favorable work environment where scientists can develop their distinctive abilities in their respective fields.
Question: In your opinion, what are the necessary conditions for scientists to succeed in their own countries?
“Falling leaves return to their roots” is the breakthrough motto that led to the formidable development of science & technology in China. Many other countries also have excellent policies to attract scientists back home by offering the most ideal working conditions.
Scientists can also work together to create mutual-support networks for the best results. A favorable work environment not only contributes to the retention of scientists, it also motivates hard work and dedication, leading to research that is of great use in the development of our nation and humanity.
Question: What do you think of the research capability of young scientists today? What should they focus on in their projects?
The recent achievements of young Vietnamese scientists are outstanding, and their enthusiasm, open-mindedness and creativity have been vital to their success. However, they should constantly update themselves on the latest in-depth scientific information and gain more practical experience. They also need to strengthen international cooperation, learn from foreign professors, and take some extra courses, for example on how to become a peer reviewer for international journals, such as the ACS Reviewer Lab.
Research.Com has just ranked three Vietnamese scientists in the 2023 list of best in the field of Environmental Sciences, including Dr. Tran Nguyen Hai, Director of the Center for Environmental Materials & Energy at the DTU Institute of Fundamental & Applied Sciences (IFAS), who was ranked 2nd in Vietnam and 4,687 worldwide.